Cerebral Palsy

Understanding the Causes and Effects of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy can have a number of different causes. In the womb and during childbirth, the baby’s skull is not fully developed, and this means that the baby’s brain is particularly susceptible to damage from external forces. Developing babies also need a constant supply of oxygen, and disruption of a baby’s oxygen supply during pregnancy or childbirth can cause brain damage which will lead to cerebral palsy.

Sadly, medical mistakes during pregnancy, labor, and delivery are often to blame for issues that lead to cerebral palsy. Medical errors and related issues are known to cause cerebral palsy include:

  • Fetal distress during childbirth
  • Head trauma during or after childbirth
  • Oxygen deprivation (anoxia or hypoxia)
  • Prolonged labor
  • Use of excessive force during delivery
  • Use of forceps and vacuum extraction tools

The immediate and long-term effects of cerebral palsy vary widely depending upon the extent of the damage and the region of the brain where the damage occurs. While some children with cerebral palsy are able to lead normal lives with a prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment, others will experience a lifetime of negative effects. In addition to the limitations discussed above, these can include:

  • Developmental delays
  • Early-onset arthritis
  • Hearing impairments
  • Involuntary muscle contractions
  • Joint deformities
  • Lack of coordination
  • Lack of fine motor control
  • Pain
  • Paralysis
  • Scoliosis

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