Cerebral palsy is not a likely condition. That is because it is up to this day incurable. It is also staying in a patient as long as he lives. Unfortunately, cerebral palsy is diagnosed in some babies, often shortly after birth. The causes may still be not fully certain, but parents should be reminded that there certainly are cerebral palsy risk factors. It should be noted that many children who have the condition seem not to have any problem after birth or at least during development in their mothers’ wombs. What are the common risk factors that increase the possibility of cerebral palsy? Here are some of them.
The age of the mother during the pregnancy could have a strong influence on whether a child would develop cerebral palsy or not. In general, mothers who are above 40 years of age during the pregnancy are more likely to give birth to a baby who has cerebral palsy. Likewise goes for mothers who are younger than 20 years during pregnancy. Several studies have also pointed out that the age of the biological father of the baby could also be a risk factor. In many cases, a child born with the condition has a father whose age is younger than 20 years.
In the past, cerebral palsy had been referred to as black babies’ condition. This is because it has been observed that babies born within African-American ethnicity are more likely to develop the problem. However, these days, cerebral palsy is also affecting many white, European, and Asian children. It seems to never choose race nowadays.
Pregnant women with multiple babies are more likely to have at least one of those babies with cerebral palsy risk. The risk increases as the number of unborn babies in the uterus increases. It has also been found that if any of the babies die, the surviving babies could have a higher chance of developing the condition. This is more common among twins. If the other dies after birth, the remaining one has a greater possibility of having the condition.
Exposure of the pregnant mother to toxic substances could be considered a common cerebral palsy risk factor. Some of the toxic substances involved include mercury. Thus, pregnant mothers are always advised to live in a good and clean environment without any unnecessary pollutant. Otherwise, there could be a possibility that the baby would be diagnosed with cerebral palsy after birth.
Of course, the overall health of the mother could have a strong influence on the baby’s overall health as well. Mental retardation, seizures, and thyroid problems are usually some of the common problems pregnant women might have before they give birth to a baby with cerebral palsy. Again, it is best if the expecting mom would appropriately take care of her own health so she could also take care of her unborn child’s.
The order of birth is also being eyed these days as a possible cerebral palsy risk factor for development . It has been observed that babies who are first born to a couple could have greater chances of having the condition. The same goes for babies born fifth or much later to a couple. Blood type incompatibility between the infant and the mother is also identified as among those factors.
Cerebral Palsy Risk While Pregnant
The United Cerebral Palsy estimates that about 764,000 children and adults in the United States have symptoms of cerebral palsy. Every year, there are about 8,000 babies being diagnosed of having cerebral palsy. While there are about 1,200 to 1,500 children who are in preschool shows signs.
There are numerous factors that contribute on higher cerebral palsy risk. Risk factors for cerebral palsy would include premature birth, low birth weight, inability of the placenta to provide sufficient nutrients and oxygen, blood type incompatibility between mother and baby, getting infected while being pregnant, bacterial infection, a long period of time during delivery that the baby is unable to get oxygen and sever jaundice after birth.
These are risk factors, meaning these do not necessarily lead to cerebral palsy but the chances could be high for the baby to have it. Looking at it, the risk factors are events that could happen during pregnancy or during the birth of the child. Which makes healthy pregnancy really important.
Having infections during pregnancy is something that you would have to be prepared to avoid. There are three major maternal infections that needs to be avoided, and the good news is that they could be readily avoided.
• German measles– vaccination is important prior to pregnancy. This could have serious effects on the baby like brain damage and jaundice.
• Toxoplasmosis – these parasites are commonly found in soil and in cat feces. Washing and cooking food thoroughly would help avoid this kind of infection. It is important to address any symptoms that could be like flu, cause this is the symptom of toxoplasmosis. If not addressed, it can lead to inflammation ad brain damage and jaundice.
• Urinary tract infection or kidney infection- every woman has high chances of getting a urinary tract infection (UTI). Developing UTI while in pregnancy is dangerous since it could also have a hand of high blood pressure.
If you are pregnant and you think you one of these mentioned infections, then it is very important to get medical attention. Some infections would have very simple treatment, but its effects have long-term and even grave impact on the baby.
Physical trauma that a mother experienced while in pregnancy could also cause brain damage to the baby. Severe traumatic incident could involve car accident, physical abuse or any similar physical trauma. This could have serious effect on the baby. It is also important for a mother to increase the intake of nutritious and healthy food. Drugs and alcohol use is best to be avoided during pregnancy.
What about mothers who have cerebral palsy themselves?
If you have cerebral palsy and intends to start planning for a family, then it is important to understand its effects on pregnancy. Pregnancy makes the effects of cerebral palsy even worse. It is important to practice a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy. If you have medications to take, then make sure that your physician knows about it and if would be good for the baby. Exercise regularly so you can cope with the increasing body weight because of being pregnant. Aside from that, exercise is said to help or prepare a mother for the delivery.
There are many preventive programs that pregnant women can join or learn from. Pregnancy is a very important and dangerous stage for both the mother and the child. We hope you will have a happy family and would be able to take necessary precaution against risk factors of cerebral palsy.