According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly 16,000 babies are born with complications leading to some form of cerebral palsy (CP). Think about that for a second—nearly 4 out every 1,000 babies born enter this life already fighting against a disorder that could have been prevented with proper care. Your baby has only a .4 percent risk of developing CP, but the fact that the risk is there at all is extremely alarming.
Cerebral palsy is a disorder caused by abnormal damage to a child’s developing brain. Although it can result from injuries all the way up until two years of age, the majority of CP cases occur from infections inside the womb and delivery complications.
CP Type Resulting From Damage Location
Since your baby’s developing brain is extremely fragile and complex, any type of injury can have drastic effects. Unfortunately, the complexity of the brain makes it hard to determine if a specific injury will cause motor function issues at all, let alone determining what type of CP could result. However, the three main forms of CP, spastic, ataxic, and athetoid, are known to be caused by damage to specific areas of the brain.
Damage to the following areas will cause:
- Spastic cerebral palsy – Damage to the motor cortex of the brain. The motor cortex, located at the top of the brain, controls voluntary movements. Therefore, when it becomes damaged, movements become involuntary and difficult to control, thus leading to spasms. Since the motor cortex makes up a significant portion of the top part of the brain, the risk of spastic CP increases to 70 percent for CP victims.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy – Damage to the cerebellum. The cerebellum, located at the back of the brain (where your skull meets your neck) controls coordination. Bleeding, swelling, and bruising are caused by forceful or excessive twisting and pulling of the head during delivery. Most ataxic CP cases are caused by delivery negligent care.
- Athetoid cerebral palsy – Damage to the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia, located inside the brain and interconnected with the cerebral cortex and brain stem, control a variety of functions including voluntary movement, cognition, emotion, and eye movement. Damage to this area is often caused by infections, hypoxia, and swelling caused by a bad delivery.
Thoughts and Support
Cerebral palsy is a devastating disorder that currently has no cure. Treatments are available to help ease anxiety, and help your child cope with his disorder. However, awareness and prevention of the disease needs to be a priority for the future.
Let us know your thoughts about how hospitals should be monitoring CP risk factors by leaving your opinions in the comment section. Feel free to also discuss your experiences with the disorder, as well as any questions you may have about CP birth injuries. Not only will we try to get you answers to your questions, but you’ll help us learn more about societal opinions.