Research has shown that about 70% of those diagnosed with cerebral palsy were affected by damage to one or more areas of the brain during the fetal development process itself. The other 30% of sufferers are estimated to have experienced brain injury during the birthing process. While it is muscles that are affected, the abnormalities that characterize cerebral palsy originate in the brain. It is the brain that controls the complex interactions between the brain and the nerves in a smooth and coordinated way. A brain affected by cerebral palsy has problems controlling these interactions.
There are four documented types of cerebral palsy. Spastic cerebral palsy, Athetoid or dyskinetic cerebral palsy, Ataxic cerebral palsy, and mixed forms with symptoms of one or more type. The most common causes of cerebral palsy are breech presentation, complicated labor or delivery, low birthweight, nervous system malformations, maternal bleeding or severe proteinuria, maternal hyperthyroidism, seizures in the newborn and doctor errors. Symptoms in a newborn may include difficulty in breathing, low birthweight, delayed development and mental retardation. The sad part is that there is no cure for cerebral palsy. Once damaged in this manner the brain can not recover. At the most the patients can be offered rehabilitative support to help them lead as dignified and as independent a life as possible.
The attending doctor may have failed to recognize and treat seizures in the newborn following delivery. If the doctor fails to detect a prolapsed cord and take the needed precautions, the child's condition can turnicate. When the umbilical cord can wraps around the child's neck it cuts off oxygen to the brain. Birth records and interviews with the attending staff will be able to show if during delivery there was an excessive use of vacuum extraction, or improper use of forceps.