Is My Baby at Risk of Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a birth condition that occurs when the developing brain is injured while inside the mother’s womb or during the birthing process. Individuals with cerebral palsy have an impaired ability to control muscles and movement, and symptoms oftentimes appear between 2 and 3 years old. CP is considered a non-progressive brain impairment, which means the condition would not continue to worsen as the child grows up.

According to WebMD, 70% of CP cases were a result of an anomaly that happened while the baby is still inside the mother’s womb. Unfortunately, according to, CP can sometimes be a result of poor birth practice, inexperienced medical staff, or negligence in the birthing center. The risk of CP also increases with these conditions:

  • Severe jaundice in the baby, or excessive bilirubin in the blood, which may affect the infant’s central nervous system and cause CP
  • Infection during pregnancy, including German measles and other viral infections
  • Birth asphyxia
  • Loss of blood supply in the brain during delivery. This could be a result of prolonged and difficult vaginal labor, failure to perform C-section, and improper use of birth-assisting tools
  • Rh incompatibility, which happens when the mother’s antibodies destroy the infant’s blood cells, which results in bilirubin toxicity and CP
  • Other birth defects that may damage the brain, such as disorders in the spinal column
  • Encephalitis in the baby, or the inflammation of the brain tissuecaused by viral illnesses such as measles, mumps, rubella and influenza
  • Bacterial meningitis in the baby, or the inflammation of the lining of the brain
  • Twin or multiple birth
  • Breech presentation
  • Mothers suffering from hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, seizures or mental retardation

If you are an expecting mother, it is important to speak with your doctor to talk about your child’s risk of CP. Keeping your body disease-free through healthy lifestyle and regular check-ups also lessens your baby’s risk of this chronic condition.