If your child receives a diagnosis of cerebral palsy in Louisiana, you may have questions about what caused it. Similarly, if you are soon to give birth to a child, you may want to know if there is anything you can do to prevent your child from developing cerebral palsy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, cerebral palsy is a disorder that develops when a child is still in infancy, in many instances even before birth. In cases of cerebral palsy, damage to the developing brain can cause disorder of posture, muscle tone and/or movement. Neurological dysfunction, such as epilepsy, vision/hearing problems, urinary incontinence or psychiatric conditions, may be present as well. Depending on the extent of the brain damage, the severity of cerebral palsy can vary widely; some patients may be completely paralyzed, while others may only have a slight dysfunction of one limb.

While researchers do not know the exact cause of cerebral palsy, they have identified a number of factors that may interfere with the development of a baby’s brain. Though less common than previously thought, asphyxia, or a lack of oxygen to the brain during labor and delivery, may be a factor, along with traumatic brain injury, genetic mutation and inflammation around the baby’s brain caused by infection.

If you contract an infection while pregnant, it may also affect your baby. The following infections are of particular concern:

  • Zika virus
  • Syphilis
  • Herpes
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Rubella (German measles)

Other noninfectious medical conditions you may have, such as thyroid dysfunction, may also contribute to the development of cerebral palsy in your child.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.