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Congenital cerebral palsy risk factors, preventative measures

With cerebral palsy, children lose control of their muscles. The condition is the result of damage to or an abnormal development in the brain, and several factors may be causes. Congenital CP is the result of damage to the brain before or during birth, and Maryland parents-to-be might be surprised that 85 to 90 percent of CP cases are congenital.

Some factors increase the chances of children developing CP. Premature birth and low birth weight are two of them. Children born before week 37 of a pregnancy are at a higher risk, and this risk increases when they are born before week 32. The risks are high for babies weighing less than 5.5 pounds as well, and this increases more for babies weighing less than 3 pounds.

Multiple births such as twins and triplets also increase the risk for babies developing CP. The risk rises even further when one of the babies dies before birth or shortly after. This is partially because multiples are often born prematurely or with low birth weights. Birth complications such as uterine rupture, placenta detachment or umbilical cord issues may disrupt the supply of oxygen to the baby as well, causing CP. Some other risk factors include medical conditions of the mother, infections during pregnancy, jaundice and kernicterus, and infertility treatments.

In many congenital CP cases, the cause of abnormal development or damage is unknown. However, there are some preventative measures that mothers can implement during pregnancy to reduce the risks. A few of these include learning how to be healthy, seeking prenatal care early and regularly, contacting their doctors when they get sick or show signs of infection, and getting a flu shot. Pregnant women should also wash their hands with soap and water often to reduce the risk of infection.

Even when expecting mothers do everything they can to prevent the development of congenital CP, birth defects could still develop because of the negligence of hospital staff. When this happens, the parents may want to meet with an attorney in order to see what recourse they may have.

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