Having a baby is one of the most special times of your life. After careful planning, you are excited to bring your baby into the world. Situations may occur, however, that you are not fully prepared for.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cerebral palsy affects approximately 1 in every 323 children, making it the most common motor disability of childhood.
What is cerebral palsy?
This group of disorders affects a child’s ability to maintain posture and balance, as well as move and walk. Signs include rigidity of the limbs, unsteady walking, involuntary movements and abnormal reflexes. More than half of those affected with cerebral palsy can walk independently with the help of mobility devices. In some cases, kids with CP have other conditions, such as epilepsy or autism due to the brain injury.
How does cerebral palsy occur?
While this disorder can happen during the gestational process, it most commonly occurs during birth or even through preschool years. According to the Mayo Clinic, the following can increase the risk for contracting cerebral palsy:
- Complications during birth
- Being born too early or too small
- Traumatic head injury during the birthing process
- Lack of oxygen to the brain during delivery
- Bleeding in the brain
- Disruption of blood to the brain
Babies that contract bacterial meningitis or severe jaundice may have increased risk of getting CP as well. It is thought that the use of certain devices during the delivery process, such as forceps or vacuums, can increase the risk for cerebral palsy as well, since they can cause damage.