What are the Causes of Cerebral Palsy?


More than half a million Americans are affected by cerebral palsy and this is also among the most common cause of disability for most children. Cerebral palsy can totally impair movement and since this is a type of brain damage, this is also a major cause of mental retardation. According to statistics, for every one thousand births in the United States, at least to four babies are prone to this illness. The root cause of cerebral palsy is mostly attributed to congenital factors including injuries sustained during birth or a particular illness acquired during the first three years. Children affected with this condition may show signs of stiffness as well as some form of rigidity when moving. Other symptoms may also show abnormality in muscle tone, seizures, cognitive impairment, and problems with speech. According to experts, babies that are born to teen mothers have more risk of acquiring this condition as well as those born to mothers that are older than thirty five years old.

There are various pregnancy related problems that are seen as major risks for babies to acquire cerebral palsy and these include but not limited to:

1. Uterine Canal Infections

Obtaining infection in the uterine canal area before birth can cause inflammation to the placenta. When this happens, there is a big chance of damaging the brain of the fetus which in turn can lead to cerebral palsy.

2. Drugs and Alcohol

Taking drugs and alcohol especially during the trimester period of pregnancy are also one of the major causes for cerebral palsy. Other prescription drugs like methotrexate can also cause fetal brain damage that can lead to cerebral palsy especially when taken without consulting your physician. Using thyroid hormones as well as estrogen during the pregnancy period are also being linked to cerebral palsy in newborns.

3. Various Infections During Pregnancy

Acquiring various types of infections during pregnancy such as German measles and/or other herpes type viruses are also among the common causes for cerebral palsy.  Toxoplasmosis infection also have the risk for fetal brain damage if the mother of the unborn acquire an infection brought about by a parasite typically found in uncooked meat and cat feces.

If a mother encounters complications during birth, there is also a big risk of the unborn child to obtain cerebral palsy. Complications like difficulty in labor are a big risk for cerebral palsy. This happens because the trauma experienced during a prolonged birth as well as the deprivation for oxygen increases the risk of the fetus to have fetal brain damage which in turn can lead to cerebral palsy. On the other hand, the premature separation of the placenta to the uterine wall is also considered as among the reasons why fetus is deprived of oxygen which can result to fetal brain damage. Most patients affected with cerebral palsy are also experiencing spastic cerebral palsy. This can have an effect on the whole body or just on a specific body region which can cause muscle stiffness as well as an imbalanced posture.