Cerebral Palsy Risk Factors
There are specific cerebral palsy risk factors for congenital cerebral palsy that occurs before or during the birthing process. In statistics maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about 10 percent of all cases of CP are acquired after birth. The following risk factors should not be confused as a cause for cerebral palsy.
- Low Birth Weight – Newborns who are underweight (weighing 5.5 pounds or less at birth) are more likely to suffer cerebral palsy than other newborns. Children born three pounds or less have an even more significant likelihood of suffering congenital CP.
- Premature Birth – Newborns born three weeks or more too early are considered to be preterm or premature. While every premature baby has an increased Cerebral Palsy risk factors. infants born before the 32nd week tend to have the greatest potential of experiencing cerebral palsy. The number of cases of CP involving premature birth has increased significantly as neonatal intensive care has improved.
- Multiple Births – Mothers that birth twins, triplets or more infants during a multiple birth event likely places at least one newborn at significant is Cerebral Palsy risk factors. Quite often this is because the multiple births occur prematurely.
- Infertility Treatments (Assisted Reproductive Treatments) – Mothers undergoing infertility treatments tend to have a greater potential of having multiple births, where each infant weighs less than 5.5 pounds. This increases the potential of one or more babies developing CP.
- Pregnancy-Associated Infections – Any type of infection increases the potential of the newborn developing congenital CP. This include bacterial meningitis that inflames the membranes around the baby’s spinal cord and brain along with viral encephalitis, arboviruses and some herpes viruses.
- Kernicterus and Jaundice – Kernicterus can cause CP or other serious medical complication when there is a Rh factor and blood type mismatch between the infant and mother. Jaundice is usually the result of a high level of bilirubin that causes a faster than normal breakdown of the body’s red blood cells.
- Mother’s Medical Conditions – Pregnant mothers with an intellectual disorder, Down’s Syndrome, thyroid issue or seizure condition have a greater potential risk of birthing an infant with congenital CP as are those that have infections or health conditions that include rubella (German measles), chickenpox, syphilis, toxoplasmosis or exposure to toxic substances.
- Birth Complication – Any complication during pregnancy, labor or delivery that restricts the oxygen supply to the baby can cause cerebral palsy.