What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that encompasses several different neurological conditions. It is diagnosed in young children, most often in newborns. Though some cerebral palsy causes are unknown, several have been identified through extensive research. A number of the causes are preventable or treatable.

Chief among cerebral palsy causes is an insufficient amount of oxygen or poor flow of blood reaching the fetal or newborn brain. This can be caused by premature separation of the placenta, an awkward birth position, labor that goes on too long or is too abrupt, or interference with the umbilical cord, errors in anesthesia and other issues.

Other causes of cerebral palsy include:

  • Childhood head injury (such as from an accident or child abuse)
  • Jaundice
  • Rh(Rhesus) incompatibility in pregnancy
  • Lead poisoning
  • Rubella (German measles) and other illnesses during pregnancy
  • Premature delivery
  • Holoprosencephaly

Should your child experience any of these traumas, it does not automatically mean that they have cerebral palsy. What it means, however, is that parents should have heightened attention to their child and his development and should look for signs that might indicate a problem.  Knowing the symptoms of cerebral palsy will allow parents to have heightened awareness as well and to see if the child appears to be showing difficulties.

Should they see signs of delayed development or other indications of issues, they should consult with a doctor and conduct an assessment moving forward.