Causes and Risk Factors for Cerebral Palsy

baby in incubatorCerebral palsy is a movement disorder and can be a very serious condition, with varying risk factors and causes. This is because brain injury can occur in term and preterm infants based on their gestational age and vulnerability of the fetal brain to injury at that particular time. At Aldous \ Walker, our Dallas birth injury lawyers want to make sure you know what can cause cerebral palsy and how it can affect your baby.

Risk Factors

Some of the factors that can increase the risk of cerebral palsy include:

  • Preterm birth
  • Twin pregnancy
  • Placental abnormalities including abruption
  • Meconium aspiration
  • Respiratory distress
  • Infections such as toxoplasmosis or rubella
  • Prolonged or difficult labor due to macrosomia (high birthweight)or malposition of the fetus in utero
  • Need for operative delivery with forceps or vacuum extractor due to fetal distress or prolonged second stage of labor
  • Need for emergency cesarean section due to fetal distress

Potential Causes

If you or your baby experienced any of the following, it may result in cerebral palsy:

  • Prematurity
  • Intrapartum asphyxia or hypoxia to the fetal brain (lack of oxygen)
  • Fetal distress as evidenced by alterations in the fetal heart rate tracing and fetal heart rate and pattern
  • Neonatal Kernicterus (as evidenced by elevated bilirubin levels and jaundice)
  • Chorioamnionitis (inflammation of the fetal membranes due to an ascending maternal bacterial infection typically associated with prolonged labor and prolonged rupture of membranes)
  • Meconium aspiration
  • Neonatal respiratory distress
  • Low neonatal blood sugar
  • Meningitis / encephalitis

If your baby has cerebral palsy, they may demonstrate symptoms such as stiff or overly loose muscles, difficulty swallowing, seizures, and more. This condition can cause various health problems over the baby’s lifetime and it is important to fully understand the situation.

At Aldous \ Walker, we know that some of the causes of cerebral palsy can result from inattention by a medical professional. For instance, if a doctor fails to monitor for fetal distress or allows a delayed labor despite knowing of a need for emergency delivery, this is negligence. If this is the case and your baby suffers long-term damage because a doctor or hospital is negligent, you may have the right to file a claim.

With our Dallas birth injury attorneys on your side, you may be able to seek compensation for the damages sustained. Call us today to learn your rights and options.

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