Cerebral Palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture. Cerebral Palsy is most often caused because of an injury to the developing brain, typically prior to or at the time of childbirth. There are different types of Cerebral Palsy (Ataxic, Dyskinetic, Spastic and Mixed).
A competent medical practitioner will know about these increased risks for Cerebral Palsy and will act accordingly to limit damages to the developing baby:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Blood clotting problems
- Fetal development issues
- Rh compatibility between the mother and the baby
- Placental development issues
- Viral Infection of the mother during pregnancy, especially with rubella (German measles)
- Bacterial infection of the mother during pregnancy
- Cephalopelvic disproportion (the baby appears to be too large for the mother’s pelvis, requiring medical intervention for a safe delivery)
- Prolonged loss of oxygen during the pregnancy or birth, or severe jaundice following the birth
Childbirth is complicated and any of the above conditions require health care professionals to use good judgment and make appropriate decisions based on accurate monitoring of the mother and baby as well as clear communication among all of the medical professions.
Early signs of Cerebral Palsy to look for, beginning at three months of age can include:
- Problems with sucking
- Excessive drooling or problems with swallowing
- Weak and floppy upper body
- Stiff upper body
- Weak cries
- Constant shrill crying
- Favoring one side of the body (only turning head one way, or later when crawling, only using one leg or one arm)
- Vision and hearing issues
Cerebral Palsy is not immediately obvious at birth or even in the infancy years. Often, Cerebral Palsy becomes more obvious when children become more mobile and parents and caregivers notice issues with sitting up, crawling and walking. Just because there is a delayed diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy does not mean that you cannot sue for damages if the Cerebral Palsy was caused by the negligence of someone else.
Signs and symptoms of Cerebral Palsy most often appear during infancy or preschool years. In general, cerebral palsy causes impaired movement associated with exaggerated reflexes, floppiness or rigidity of the limbs and trunk, abnormal posture, involuntary movements, unsteadiness of walking, or some combination of these.
The long term effects of cerebral palsy on functional abilities vary greatly. Some people are able to walk while others aren’t able to walk. Some people show normal to near normal intellectual function, but others may have intellectual disabilities. Epilepsy, blindness or deafness also may be present.