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Cerebral palsy why does this happen? Lock Rss

A friend of mine gave birth around 2 months ago and was told a few days later her daughter had cerebral palsy.
My friend told me her daughter has 90% brain damage.
I was very shocked and upset to find this out and my friend isn’t coping too well either. She told me that it’s something that happens during the birth process, not when the baby is developing inside of you.
Because it’s due to lack of oxygen to the brain could you tell me, if she had have had an elective c-section or the c-section a lot earlier could this have been prevented.
I know she did have a stressful time during labour as she told me she was very scared to give birth and wasn’t sure if she could cope with labour.

This incident has really worried me as I’m wanting another child. My son weighed 10 pound 1 at birth and I had to also have an emergency c-section I was in labour for around 20hours.
Because he was so large I am going to book in next time for an elective c-section.
Is cerebral palsy common?
And why does this happen during birth?
Is it because a baby can become too stressed during birth that oxygen is depleted?
Will she get any better?

I hope my friends little girl will get better as she gets older.

My little man 12.11.03


Thank you for your enquiry. I will include some more information on cerebral palsy for you:-
We do not know the cause of most cases of cerebral palsy. That is, we are unable to determine what caused cerebral palsy in most children who have congenital CP. We do know that the child who is at highest risk for developing CP is the premature, very small baby who does not cry in the first five minutes after delivery, who needs to be on a ventilator for over four weeks, and who has bleeding in his brain. Babies who have congenital malformations in systems such as the heart, kidneys, or spine are also more likely to develop CP, probably because they also have malformations in the brain. Seizures in a newborn also increase the risk of CP. There is no combination of factors which always results in an abnormally functioning individual. That is, even the small premature infant has a better than 90 percent chance of not having cerebral palsy. There are a surprising number of babies who have very stormy courses in the newborn period and go on to do very well. In contrast, some infants who have rather benign beginnings are eventually found to have severe mental retardation or learning disabilities.

Many children with cerebral palsy have a congenital malformation of the brain, meaning that the malformation existed at birth and was not caused by factors occurring during the birthing process. Not all of these malformations can be seen by the physician, even with today's most sophisticated scans, but when CP is recognized in a newborn, a congenital malformation is suspected. When a diagnosis of CP is made, the mother and father often feel guilty and wonder what they did to cause their child to have this disorder. While it is certainly true that good prenatal care is an essential part of preventing congenital problems, it must be stated that congenital problems, or "birth defects," often occur even when the mother has strictly followed her physician's advice in caring for herself and the developing infant. Though the causes of "birth defects" are usually unknown, we do know that the developing brain can be affected by several factors. When the fetus is exposed to certain chemicals or infections through the expectant mother, for example.

There are no specific events that, if they occur during pregnancy, delivery, or infancy, will always occurring at birth or right after birth). This is apparently why the incidence of CP in undeveloped and poverty stricken areas of the world, where infant mortality is very high, is the same as in northern Europe, where infant mortality is the lowest. It also explains why modern obstetrical care, including monitoring and a high rate of Cesarian section, has lowered infant mortality rates but not the incidence of cerebral palsy.
In a large study of newborns, the one’s who had very low Apgar scores (less than 3 at 20 minutes) had a risk 250 times greater than infants with normal Apgar scores of developing cerebral palsy. An Apgar score at this level suggests that the infant suffered severe asphyxia (lack of sufficient oxygen to the brain) during birth. Half of the infants who suffered severe asphyxia during birth did not develop cerebral palsy, however. When CP is diagnosed in childhood, it is often discovered that the child suffered asphyxia at birth, but the asphyxia is usually considered the symptom of an otherwise sick baby with a neurological problem, and not the primary cause of CP.

In summary, the cause of cerebral palsy is largely unknown and in the western world where the incidence of caesarean section is a lot higher it does not lower the incidence of cerebral palsy. I hope that this answers some questions for you.

Best wishes,

NSW Midwives Association

Note: This information is not designed to replace that of your health professional.
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