Cerebral palsy affects movement and posture. It results from damage to the brain, which can occur during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Out of 1,000 births, about 2.3 to 3.6 are diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
This post will discuss eight of the most common causes of cerebral palsy in babies. Please speak to your doctor if you are concerned that your child may have cerebral palsy. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for ensuring the best possible outcome for your child.
1. Lack of Oxygen in the Brain
The brain is the vital organ in the body, and it needs a constant supply of oxygen to function correctly. When there is less oxygen in the brain, it can cause damage that may lead to cerebral palsy.
There are many causes of a lack of oxygen to the brain, including:
- Heart problems that prevent blood from carrying enough oxygen to the brain
- Problems with the lungs that prevent them from getting enough oxygen into the bloodstream
- A block in the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the brain
These problems can occur before, during, or after birth and lead to cerebral palsy.
2. Premature Birth
The ideal time of pregnancy is between 37 weeks and 42 weeks. If the baby is born before 37 weeks, it is considered premature. A baby’s brain develops rapidly during the last few weeks of pregnancy. If a baby is born prematurely, their brain may not have developed enough to control muscle movement properly.
Prematurity is among the common causes of cerebral palsy. About 50% of babies with CP are born prematurely.
Premature birth happens when a baby is before 37 weeks gestation. The earlier a child is born, the greater their risk of developing CP. Babies born a few weeks early have an increased risk.
3. Birth Asphyxia
It is the loss of oxygen to the brain during birth. When the baby’s head is compressed during delivery, it can prevent oxygen from reaching the brain. If the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck, it can cut off the oxygen supply.
Birth asphyxia is among the common leading causes of cerebral palsy. It can lead to other severe problems, such as intellectual disability, seizures, and developmental delays.
If you think that your child has cerebral palsy, it is essential to seek medical help.
4. Traumatic Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are one of the leading reasons for cerebral palsy in babies. When a baby’s head and neck are pulled, stretched, or compressed during delivery, it can cause damage to the developing brain.
This damage is often caused by forceps or vacuum extractors used during difficult deliveries. Forceps are medical instruments to help guide the baby out of the birth canal.
Vacuum extractors are suction cup devices attached to the baby’s head to help deliver them.
While these devices can be helpful in some situations, they can also cause severe brain damage if not used properly. If a child has cerebral palsy and you believe a birth injury caused it, you are eligible to file a medical malpractice claim.
5. Infections Such As Meningitis Or Encephalitis
Meningitis is caused by severe inflammation of the meninges, which are the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Encephalitis is the swelling of the brain tissue itself. Both of these conditions can lead to cerebral palsy.
Infections in pregnant women can increase the risk of cerebral palsy. These include infections like rubella (German measles), toxoplasmosis, and cytomegalovirus.
Pregnant women should be vaccinated against rubella and toxoplasmosis and should avoid exposure to cat feces (which can contain the toxoplasmosis parasite). If you are already exposed to these infections, tell your doctor immediately.
6. Bleeding in the Brain
Bleeding can occur in the brain for many reasons, including:
- A head injury
- An infection
- A tumor
- A stroke
All of these can cause damage to the developing brain and lead to cerebral palsy.
Seizures occur when an abnormal electrical activity happens in the brain. It can cause a change in consciousness, body movement, or behavior.
Seizures are caused by many things, including head injuries, stroke, low blood sugar, or poisoning.
8. Cerebral Palsy Caused by Genetic Disorders
Genetic conditions like Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome and Tuberous sclerosis complex can lead to cerebral palsy.
Down syndrome is a chromosomal abnormality that affects intellectual and physical development. It’s the most common genetic cause of CP.
Fragile X syndrome causes various developmental problems, including learning disabilities and cognitive impairment. Tuberous sclerosis complex is a genetic issue that causes benign tumors to grow in the brain, kidneys, heart, skin, and eyes.
If a child has got diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you must understand that you are not alone. If you have tricky questions or concerns, speak with your doctor.