Cerebral palsy is a brain injury or brain malformation that occurs while the brain is developing - before, during or after birth. Most soon-to-be parents do not expect their baby to be born with cerebral palsy -- a paralyzing condition that can result in a lifetime of disabilities for a baby. However, virtually any parent could have a baby with this condition and there are certain risk factors for which doctors will maintain a watchful eye.
When a doctor finds one of these risk factors in the mother, it's important to take swift action to limit the chances of the baby developing cerebral palsy. Although cerebral palsy cannot be prevented in all of these situations, medical science can do a lot when the early warning signs are found.
Risk factors for congenital cerebral palsy in pregnant mothers
Here's what doctors and parents should look for in terms of risk factors in the mother:
- Mother is pregnant with twins or triplets.
- Mother has the risk of seizure or has a thyroid gland problem.
- Mother's blood is not compatible with the baby's blood. This is called Rh disease.
- Maternal high blood pressure.
- Mother suffers from Chorioamnionitis during the pregnancy.
- When the mother is suffering from mercury poisoning.
- Maternal infectious diseases or viruses such as urinary tract infections, German measles, rubella, chickenpox, cytomegalovirus, herpes, toxoplasmosis, syphilis and zika virus.
- Prolonged labor lasting longer than 16-24 hours.
Risk factors for cerebral palsy in fetuses and babies
Here's what doctors should look for in terms of risk factors in the baby both during pregnancy, during deliver and after delivery:
- Recurrent late decelerations in the baby's heart rate during labor and delivery can be an ominous sign of oxygen deprivation and resulting brain injury leading to cerebral palsy.
- Bleeding in the baby's brain while it's in the womb of the mother, during the birthing process and after the birthing process.
- When the baby suffers from diminished blood flow to vital organs.
- When the baby is suffering from seizures either during birth or during the first month of his or her life.
- When the baby has a genetic condition.
- When the baby suffers from traumatic brain injuries at birth such as head injuries caused by forceps or vacuum extraction.
- When the baby suffers from low birth weight 5 pounds or more below the norm.
Does your baby have cerebral palsy?
Is your baby suffering from cerebral palsy? This medical condition can trigger expensive medical bills and lifelong expenses to care for your child. Therefore, you may want to investigate whether the treating physician or medical facility that provided care during your pregnancy and delivery could be to blame. In some cases of cerebral palsy, parents can hold at-fault parties financially accountable to pay for the costs of medical care, both past and future, for their brain injured child as well as other damages that the parents and child will suffer throughout their lifetime.