What Causes Cerebral Palsy before Birth and How to Prepare for It?

  • Post category:Pregnancy
  • Post last modified:April 20, 2022
  • Reading time:5 mins read
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A sick pregnant woman holding her belly
P.C. Andrea Piacquadio

If you are a parent-to-be, it’s essential to be aware of cerebral palsy, which usually happens before birth.

Cerebral palsy is a severe neurological disorder that affects movement and muscle coordination. It can occur when the brain doesn’t develop properly during fetal development or due to an injury to the brain after birth.

In this article, you’ll learn about some of the most common causes of cerebral palsy before birth and ways that you can prepare for it.

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a particular condition caused by damage to the brain, typically occurring before or during birth. The damage can cause a wide range of symptoms, including muscle weakness, poor coordination, and problems with balance and movement.

It can also lead to difficulties with speech and swallowing, and it can sometimes cause seizures. Although there is no permanent cure for cerebral palsy, several treatments can help improve symptoms and improve the quality of life. 

Early intervention is often essential for achieving the best possible outcome. With proper care and support, people with cerebral palsy can lead full and enriching lives.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy before Birth

Several factors contribute to the development of Palsy before birth. Some common factors include:

Infection Caught by Mother During Pregnancy: Viral infections like cytomegalovirus and rubella can damage the developing brain and lead to cerebral palsy.

Problems with the Placenta: The placenta is a vital organ that provides nutrients and oxygen to the developing fetus. If it doesn’t function properly, it can starve the fetus of essential nutrients and cause the brain to develop abnormally.

Stroke: A stroke is a sudden interruption of blood flow to the brain. This can damage the brain and lead to CP.

Trauma: A traumatic injury to the head or spine can cause damage to the developing brain and lead to this disease.

What Increases the Risk of a Child Being Born with Palsy?

Several factors could increase the risk of being born with cerebral palsy. Some of them include:

Premature Birth: Babies who are born before 37 weeks of gestation.

Low Birth Weight: If the baby weighs less than five pounds at birth is at an increased risk for cerebral palsy.

Multiple Births: Babies born as part of multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.) are at an increased risk for palsy.

Family History: If there is a family history of cerebral palsy, the child is at an increased risk.

Genetic Disorders: Disorders like Down syndrome and tuberous sclerosis can increase the risk factor.

How Is Cerebral Palsy Diagnosed before Birth?

There are several different ways to diagnose Palsy before birth. The most common ways include:

Ultrasound: An ultrasound can often detect abnormalities in the brain during pregnancy.

Fetal MRI: A fetal MRI can provide more detailed information about the brain and is often used to confirm an ultrasound diagnosis.

Amniocentesis: This test involves taking a sample of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus. It can be used to diagnose genetic disorders that may increase the risk for cerebral palsy.

Cordocentesis: This involves taking a blood sample from the umbilical cord. It can be used to diagnose infections or other problems causing cerebral palsy.

What to Do When the Baby Is Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy before Birth?

If your baby is diagnosed with cerebral palsy before birth, it is crucial to seek special care. Many different treatments could help improve symptoms and quality of life.

Early intervention is often essential for achieving the best possible outcome. With proper care and support, people with cerebral palsy can lead full and enriching lives.

Preparing for Cerebral Palsy before Birth

P.C. Mart production

If you are pregnant, there are a few things to prepare for the possibility of having a child with cerebral palsy.

Educate Yourself: Learning as much as you can about cerebral palsy will help you be better prepared to care for your child if they are diagnosed with the condition.

Talk to Your Doctor: Discuss your concerns with your doctor or midwife. They’ll help you understand your risks and ensure that you are getting the best possible care.

Make a Birth Plan: Having a birth plan in place can help you feel more prepared and in control, if your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Build a Support Network: Connecting with other parents of children with cerebral palsy can be a great source of support and information.

Caring for a child with CP can be challenging, but it is also enriching. By educating yourself and building a supportive network, you can be prepared to give your child the best possible care. With love and patience, your child will thrive.


Cerebral palsy – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

What Causes Cerebral Palsy? | Cerebral Palsy Alliance

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Kinga Brukiewicz

My name is Kinga. I am a young and proud mom of my one and only daughter Lucy. My 3 years of Babysitting experience made my parenting life quite easy. I do a lot of research before buying baby products for Lucy and love to share my reviews and suggestions with young parents.