What may cause cerebral palsy?

Approximately one out of every five cases of cerebral palsy is believed to be caused by some form of birth injury.

Expectant parents and extended family members alike deserve to feel excited during the nine months of pregnancy as they wait for their new love to arrive. This joy should flourish after birth. While it does most of the time, too many California residents actually experience a different reality.

Developmental delays that may or may not be evident upon birth can lead to the discovery of a lifelong condition that changes many of the hopes and dreams parents once held. One of these conditions is cerebral palsy.

Multiple forms of CP

As explained by United Cerebral Palsy, there is actually more than one form of CP and the differences among them are easily recognizable. People with ataxic cerebral palsy will exhibit poor balance. Those with spastic CP will have stiff and contracted muscles. People with athetoid or dyskinetic cerebral palsy may appear to writhe in a slow and uncontrolled fashion.

Cerebral palsy ultimately is caused by nerve damage in the brain. The damage can occur during pregnancy or at any point in the labor and delivery process, as well as just after birth.

Regardless of the type of cerebral palsy, the burdens of this condition changes the lives of not just the person with CP but their family members as well.

Birth injuries that may lead to CP

According to WebMD, one of the causes of cerebral palsy is a prolonged lack of oxygen to a baby during labor and delivery. When obstetricians or other labor delivery team members fail to properly monitor fetal oxygen, babies can face a higher risk of this type of injury.

Head trauma during birthing may also damage delicate nerves and cause permanent damage. Untreated or improperly treated jaundice in newborns has also been associated with cerebral palsy.

In pregnant mothers, some infections have been linked to CP, making proper prenatal care and response essential for mothers and babies alike.

Multiple issues associated with CP

In addition to the visible muscular issues such as stiffness or poor balance, children with cerebral palsy may have problems with their sight, hearing and speech. They may even have seizure disorders. Learning disabilities are also common with cerebral palsy children. As many as half may be classified as mentally retarded.

Prompt action is important but can be difficult

The symptoms of cerebral palsy are not always evident immediately after birth. Some children do not display indications of CP until they are two or even three years old. Parents may notice developmental delays as a first sign of CP.

In addition to working with a child's pediatrician, California parents are urged to consult with an attorney. Taking prompt action to get legal advice may help preserve the right to seek compensation before a statute of limitation runs out.