What Are the Causes of Cerebral Palsy in Children?

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Cerebral palsy is a devastating condition that can require a lifetime of care. It can have a wide range of symptoms including developmental problems, learning difficulties, speech problems, intellectual impairment, mobility and postural problems, and difficulty eating. Depending on the form of cerebral palsy a child has, it can be diagnosed early on, or as late as at three years of age.

Cerebral palsy is the result of brain damage, and occurs in about 70% of cases in the pre-birth stages, in around 10% during birth and delivery, and in the remaining 20% in new born babies. There is no cure, because it is the result of permanent brain injury, however there are things like physiotherapy and surgeries that can make the condition less painful and debilitating.

Are Cerebral Palsy Cases Avoidable?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of cases where the child’s condition could have been avoided, and there are a lot of active medical negligence cases from parents who have a child with the condition. Finding a good cerebral palsy solicitor can in many cases mean a weighty compensation payment, which can make looking after the child far easier and also allow the hospital and doctors involved to improve their practices so that fewer kids will have avoidable cerebral palsy in future.

What Kinds of Things Can Lead to Cerebral Palsy for An Unborn Child?

There are some people who have higher risk factors when it comes to giving birth to a child with cerebral palsy. Women over 35 have a higher incidence, and also women with herpes, as this can be passed to the unborn baby and affect brain development. While doctors can’t do much about a mother’s age, they can treat women with infections which can affect the baby in this way, and should.

Other common causes of brain injury while the child is still in the womb are diseases like rubella (commonly known as German measles). The mother’s immune system reacts to these in a way that is harmful to the baby’s brain development.

Premature babies, babies with low birth weights, and twins, triplets and other multiple births also have a higher risk.

During Birth

The most common cause of brain injury during birth is oxygen starvation. This can happen when the baby is in a bad position for delivery (for example the breech position) or when the umbilical cord is wrapped around their neck. These things can usually be avoided if the baby’s heart rate is monitored and emergency measures are taken, for example a Caesarean birth or the use of forceps.


In new born babies, cerebral palsy is usually the result of either trauma to the head while it is still soft and fragile, or infection. Again, premature babies are the most susceptible to these issues.

Cerebral palsy doesn’t always shorten life span, but does mean that the child will need care for their whole life. It has different types and symptoms, so every case is different, but where it is avoidable, medical negligence claims are certainly an option.

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