Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Brain damage leading to cerebral palsy can occur both during fetal development or in the process of childbirth and in the first weeks of the newborn’s life.

Although nowadays there are numerous hazards in violation of brain development, to establish a specific cause of cerebral palsy for an individual child in many cases is not possible. It remains unclear why the action of similar adverse conditions for some children formed cerebral palsy, and others – did not. That’s why doctors speak not about the causes, but about risk factors of cerebral palsy.

As a rule, the analysis of each cerebral palsy case cannot identify a combination of several adverse factors operating both during pregnancy and childbirth. According to various researches, about 80% of the formation of cerebral palsy occurs due to brain damage during fetal development. In addition, it is often the cause of problems during pregnancy, which lead to failure of labour.

Currently, the following are the risk factors for cerebral palsy:

1. The so-called “Mother” reasons, meaning pathology of the pregnant woman (acute and chronic physical illnesses such as heart disease, kidney disease, hypertension, convulsive states, endocrinological disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disease, uterine pathology, gynecological diseases).

2. “Mother” factors include pathology of current pregnancy (gestational toxicosis, anemia, disorders of fetoplacental blood flow, the threat of termination, low placentation and placenta previa).

3. Various contagious diseases carried by the mother during pregnancy, especially the so-called TORCH-group infections (toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus infection, herpes).

4. Toxic agents (alcohol, smoking, taking medication during pregnancy, such as tranquilizers, anticonvulsants).

5. Acute and chronic fetal hypoxia (oxygen deficiency), fetal ischemia (insufficient blood flow) – factors that are essentially secondary to many other adverse effects.

6. Prenatal stroke (acute cerebrovascular accident).

7. Respiratory distress syndrome and neonatal effects of drugs used for the correction of respiratory disorders.

8. Hemolytic disease of the newborn (“kernicterus”), in which the intoxication of the child’s brain happens. Jaundice may be the result of the incompatibility of blood between mother and fetus by blood group or Rh factor.

9. Preterm birth – one of the most significant risk factors.

10. Extremely low birth weight newborns. Application of modern technologies improve survival of children with very low body weight at birth, but on the other hand, increases the frequency of formation of cerebral palsy among children who would simply die at birth without any additional assistance.

11. Pathology of the flow of labor (uterine inertia, abnormalities of mother’s pelvis anatomy, improper positioning of the baby, incompatible sizes of baby and pelvis, too rapid or prolonged labor, prolonged dry period, mechanical injury). In the presence of pathological fetal development a woman often has a difficult birth, which that leads to the damage of the baby’s brain..