What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy is one of the most common diseases known to cause long-term disability in children. Cerebral Palsy is a brain disorder that affects body movement and posture. Severity can range greatly among children and new symptoms can develop throughout a child’s lifetime. There is no cure for Cerebral Palsy.
What are the causes?
- Brain Injury
- Problems from premature birth (being born too early)
- Not getting enough blood, oxygen, or other nutrients before (in the womb) or during birth
- A serious head injury
- A serious infection that can affect the brain (i.e. meningitis)
- Hereditary conditions that affect brain development
What are the risk factors?
- Mother who is over 35 years old. The older the mother is, the higher her baby’s risk of Cerebral Palsy.
- Problems before birth such as:
- Infections during the first trimester of pregnancy
- Infections in the mother’s reproductive system
- Exposure to medicines like hormones
- Alcohol use, illegal drug use or use of some prescription medications
- Bleeding in the uterus during the last trimester of pregnancy
- High blood sugar
- Large amounts of protein in the urine
- Problems during birth such as:
- Premature birth
- Difficult, prolonged labor
- Placenta detaching from the uterus before birth – the baby will loose his/her supply of oxygen and blood from the mother
- Infections in the mother that are transferred during birth
- Problems after birth such as:
- Serious illness (jaundice, meningitis, lead poisoning)
- Serious head injury
- Lack of oxygen to the brain
- Blood clotting or genetic problems
What can I do?
- Learn about your child’s condition and explain it to other family members
- Provide emotional and physical support for your child
- Research schools and other educational facilities for special needs children
It is important to remember the health information found on this Web site is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your health care provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a true medical emergency, call 911 immediately.
- Problems sucking and swallowing
- Weak or shrill cry
- Unusual positions – relaxed or stiff while alone or while being held