What Risk Factors Are Associated With Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy frequently results because of brain development complications during pregnancy, labor, or shortly after delivery. These complications can include infections, medical conditions, external factors, and injuries that increase the risk that a child will develop cerebral palsy. For example, a baby whose oxygen supply is disrupted during labor and delivery might suffer a brain injury that can result in cerebral palsy. When a child’s cerebral palsy is caused by the medical negligence of a healthcare provider, a Philadelphia cerebral palsy lawyer at the law firm of Raynes & Lawn will work to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions or omissions and recover compensation for the child and their family.
Risk Factors for Cerebral Palsy
Some of the risk factors for cerebral palsy include the following:
- Premature birth
- Brain hemorrhage
- Fetal brain infection
- Head trauma
- Maternal infection during pregnancy
- Severe jaundice
Categories of Risk Factors
Risk factors for cerebral palsy are categorized into four different groups, including the mother’s health, the baby’s health, socioeconomic factors, and other factors.
Factors Involving the Mother’s Health
If a mother suffers from certain types of medical conditions while she is pregnant, the child might have a higher risk of developing cerebral palsy. Some of the risk factors for cerebral palsy that involve the mother’s health include the following:
- Chickenpox resulting in pregnancy complications
- Zika virus causing microencephaly and/or cerebral palsy
- Herpes spreading to the fetus and causing brain and nervous system inflammation
- Syphilis causing damage to the fetus’s nervous system
- Thyroid conditions
- Poor nutrition
- Rubella resulting in birth defects
- Cytomegalovirus resulting in birth defects
- Toxoplasmosis leading to brain and nervous system damage
Risk Factors Involving the Baby’s Health
A baby’s illness can affect the developing brain and increase the risk of cerebral palsy. Some of these risk factors include the following:
- Viral encephalitis
- Bacterial meningitis
- Jaundice that isn’t promptly treated
Risk Factors Related to Socioeconomic Status
Women who have lower incomes might not have access to good prenatal care. Their babies might have a higher risk of cerebral palsy. Poor women often deliver babies in overcrowded facilities with inadequate staffing, and their complications might not be properly monitored.
Other risk factors for cerebral palsy include birth injuries and adverse effects of the medication administered to the mother.
In some cases, cerebral palsy can develop when a baby is injured during labor and delivery. Birth injuries resulting in cerebral palsy are preventable and include head trauma, brain injuries, nerve damage, fetal distress, and prolonged labor. Doctors that improperly use medical tools, including forceps or vacuum extractors, can cause injuries that might lead to cerebral palsy.
Other problems that can cause cerebral palsy include the following:
- Uterine rupture resulting in birth asphyxia and a brain injury
- Abnormal fetal heart rate indicating that the oxygen to the baby’s brain has been disrupted
- Umbilical cord problems
- Blood type incompatibility between the mother and fetus
Other risk factors that can result in birth injuries include the following:
- Inadequately trained or inexperienced medical staff
- Not paying attention to safety measures during labor and delivery
- Using excessive force with birth assistive devices
- Failing to perform an emergency Caesarean section when necessary
- Failing to properly monitor the mother and baby for signs of distress
- Unsanitary conditions in the hospital resulting in infections
Adverse Effects of Medications
Medications administered to the mother during pregnancy might also increase the risk the baby will develop cerebral palsy. For example, a medication that causes inflammation can impact fetal brain development. Pitocin administered to induce labor can also cause injuries to the baby when the dosing is incorrect.
Genetic factors also might increase the risk of cerebral palsy. A mother who has a family history of cerebral palsy has a higher risk of having children who develop cerebral palsy. Mothers who have an intellectual disability or seizure disorder also have a higher risk of having children with cerebral palsy.
Other Risk Factors During Pregnancy
Some other risk factors for cerebral palsy that might occur during pregnancy include the following:
- Drinking alcohol during pregnancy
- Smoking during pregnancy
- Exposure to toxins or chemicals
- Eating contaminated foods
- Domestic violence during pregnancy
Talk to a Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Philadelphia PA
There are numerous risk factors for cerebral palsy. While some cases are caused by factors such as infections or genetics, others involve preventable birth injuries caused by the negligence of medical professionals. When a child suffers a birth injury because of the negligent actions of a medical professional, they and their family might have a viable medical malpractice claim.
Filing a malpractice lawsuit against a negligent provider might allow you to hold them accountable while recovering compensation to pay for a lifetime of care for your child. A Philadelphia cerebral palsy and birth injury lawyer at Raynes & Lawn can review the medical records and help you understand whether you have a case. Call us today for a free consultation at 1-800-535-1797.
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