Every expectant parent will tell you that nothing is more important than having a healthy baby. Sadly, circumstances sometimes conspire to prevent this from happening. Injuries can occur before, during, and after birth that cause life-long impairments. One such tragic condition is cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is a disorder affecting the central nervous system of newborns and infants. It involves damage to the cerebrum, a part of the brain largely responsible for motor function. One of the most common symptoms of cerebral palsy is spasticity, or an increase in muscle tone and contraction that interferes with movement. The affected body parts can range from a single limb to the entire body. Other symptoms of cerebral palsy include seizures, hearing and vision deficits, learning disabilities, lack of muscle coordination, flacid muscle tone, and pain, among others. These symptoms typically manifest by age two, and in the worst cases within three months of birth.
Cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to the brain either before, during, or after delivery. In many cases, the exact cause is unknown. However, birth-trauma induced cerebral palsy can be identified and prevented. Adequate prenatal care may also help reduce the risk of cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disorder and victims face a lifetime of impairment and limitation. Certain treatments such as physical and occupational therapy may help some patients live nearly normal lives.
If you notice signs of cerebral palsy developing in your newborn, contact your doctor right away. If you suspect that an injury may have occurred during or shortly after the delivery process, there may be a connection to your child’s condition.