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Is Cerebral Palsy 'Just One of Those Things'?

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 23/09/2014

According to the NHS, 1 in 400 children who are born and survive have cerebral palsy, sometimes referred to as 'CP'. There are a number of reasons why your child would have developed CP but, is it just one of those things?

Could your child's cerebral palsy have been prevented?

Child with CP and brain injury

Lack of Oxygen - The Main Cause?

Cerebral palsy is a medical condition that affects movement and co-ordination. It is an umbrella term for a range of neurological conditions that affect the part of the brain dedicated to controlling the muscles.

The contributing factors to your child developing cerebral palsy are numerous, but there are some situations in which the development of the condition could have been prevented with the right medical care and attention. Cerebral palsy occurs when there is an injury to the developing brain before, during, or after birth. The timing of the injury will often determine the nature of the disability and the type of cerebral palsy your child will develop.

This is why the condition affects different people in various ways.

A lack of oxygen to the brain (asphyxiation) is usually cited when people talk about cerebral palsy, but this is not the most common cause. This is only the case in 1 in 10 babies. A lack of oxygen can sometimes be the fault of the medical team not responding speedily enough to indications that your baby is at risk.

Premature Babies

Another cause for cerebral palsy, not often highlighted, is premature birth. According to the NHS, approximately 10% of all babies are born early, prior to the 37 week full term gestation period. The earlier a baby is born, the more they are at risk in terms of complications of their future. Premature birth can lead to bleeds on the brain and swelling if not treated effectively at the time.

It will usually be noted in your medical records if there were any situations in which your baby or you were in danger and these records are helpful when making a decision as to whether legal action is appropriate. The complications associated with premature birth can in some cases be prevented if your healthcare professionals monitor your pregnancy properly.

Risk Factors

Other risk factors include, infection, multiple births, infertility drugs, complications at birth, blood type incompatibility, placental complications, parental health and habits and cases where the baby’s weight is low. It is worth remembering that most babies, even those who are born when risk factors were present, do not develop any differently from other babies.

Is cerebral palsy just one of those things? Risk factors do not cause cerebral palsy but they increase the odds of it occurring. It is not always possible to prevent this catastrophic injury to new born babies but proper monitoring and expert care can do much to prevent it happening where it is avoidable.

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