Cerebral Palsy

What are the Risk Factors?

Certain characteristics, called risk factors, increase the possibility that a child will be diagnosed with cerebral palsy:

Breech presentation - Babies with cerebral palsy are more likely to present feet-first instead of head-first at the beginning of labor.

Mismanaged labor and delivery - Various vascular or respiratory problems of the baby during labor and delivery usually indicate fetal stress, or distress, mandating emergency caesarian section delivery to avoid cognitive and/or physical injury to the baby.

Low Apgar score - The Apgar score (named for anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar) is a numbered rating that reflects a newborn's condition. To determine an Apgar score, doctors periodically check the baby's heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflexes and skin color in the first minutes after birth. They then assign points; the higher the score, the more normal the baby's condition. A low score at 10-20 minutes after delivery is often considered an important sign of potential problems.

Low birth weight and premature birth - The risk of cerebral palsy is higher among babies who weigh less than 2500 grams (5 lbs., 7 1/2 oz.) at birth and among babies who are born less than 37 weeks into pregnancy. This risk increases as birth weight falls.

Multiple births - Twins, triplets and other multiple births are linked to an increased risk of cerebral palsy.

Maternal bleeding or severe proteinuria late in pregnancy - Vaginal bleeding during the sixth to ninth months of pregnancy and severe proteinuria (the presence of excess proteins in the urine) are linked to a higher risk of having a baby with cerebral palsy.

Maternal hyperthyroidism, mental retardation or seizures - Mothers with any of these conditions are slightly more likely to have a child with cerebral palsy.

Seizures in the newborn - An infant who has seizures faces a higher risk of being diagnosed with cerebral palsy later in childhood.


What is Cerebral Palsy?
What Other Medical Disorders can be associated with
space Cerebral Palsy?

What Other Major Problems are Associated with Cerebral Palsy?
What are the Risk Factors?
What are the Early Signs?
How is Cerebral Palsy Diagnosed?
How is Cerebral Palsy Managed?
What Specific Treatments are Available?
Glossary Of Terms


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