It is not unusual for people to see a child that has problems in the development of muscle, balance and posture; or sometimes, it may also involve mental retardation, breathing problems, skeletal deformities, and hearing and vision problems. This condition is called cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that involve brain damage.
There are many possible causes of cerebral palsy. However, most of the time, the definite cause for one child’s cerebral palsy cannot be determined because of the many factors affecting brain development. This condition can develop as early as during the mother’s pregnancy up to the first three years of a child’s life.
Below are some of the most common causes of cerebral palsy.
* Infections during pregnancy. A mother can become infected with several conditions during pregnancy that could possibly cause brain damage to the unborn child. Some of these are: Rubella or German measles; cytomegalovirus, a herpes-type virus; and toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by a parasite from cat feces or inadequately cooked meat.
* Asphyxia or hypoxia before birth. The longer a baby’s brain goes without adequate oxygen, the higher the chances of developing brain damage.
* Trauma during labor and delivery. Many things can happen during labor and delivery, like inadequate oxygen and other complications that could result to injury to the brain. Unfortunately, medical mistakes could also happen during labor and delivery, which could cause brain damage and result to cerebral palsy.
* Premature birth. Often, the organs of a premature baby are not yet fully mature for the outside world. This includes the lungs, which can cause a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain. In fact, a baby born prematurely is 8 times more likely to develop cerebral palsy.
* Jaundice. Although almost 50% of newborn babies may develop jaundice because of a buildup of bilirubin in his blood, unusually higher bilirubin levels may lead to brain damage.
* Brain injury. Even if the baby is delivered without any sign of brain damage, injury to the brain could still be among the possible causes of cerebral palsy after birth. Among these are near drowning, shaken baby syndrome, choking, and head injury.