Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Parents are always anxious to know the exact cause of cerebral palsy in their child. The exact cause of cerebral palsy is unknown in majority of cases but it is largely believed that C.P occurs during pregnancy when the brain gets damaged or it remains underdeveloped. No two children with cerebral palsy are same so each child with cerebral palsy will have different cause/ the parts of the brain that are damaged are different. Your child may have cerebral palsy due to
Prenatal Complications: Causes before birth

  • Infections of the mother during pregnancy such as German measles, and shingles (herpes zoster)
  • Rh incompatibility: Differences between the blood group of the mother and the child
  • Problems with the mother during pregnancy, such as diabetes or toxemia of pregnancy
  • Inherited or familial disorders such as ‘familial spastic paraplegia’
  • Idiopathic: No established cause can be found

Peri natal Complications: Causes around the time of birth

  • Lack of oxygen (air) at birth. The baby does not breathe immediately after birth due to lack of oxygen / air (Hypoxia, anoxia) and becomes blue or black. Misuse of oxytocin or cord wrapped around the neck can be responsible for oxygen deficiency
  • Birth injuries may be due to difficult births in case of large babies or medical negligence.
  • Prematurity and low birth weight where the baby is born before 9 months and the weight of the baby are less than 1500 grams

Post natal Complications: Causes after birth

  • Very high fever due to dehydration (severe diarrhea / vomiting) or infection. Bottle fed babies are more prone
  • Brain infections such as meningitis, encephalitis due to malaria and tuberculosis etc
  • Head injuries due to fall / accident
  • Lack of oxygen due to drowning / gas poisoning
  • Poisoning from toys (lead based) / pesticides etc
  • Bleeding or blood clots in the brain, often from unknown cause.
  • Brain tumors.

Risk Factors for Cerebral palsy
If a mother has any of these risk factors, the chances of occurrence of cerebral palsy increases

  • Infections during pregnancy
  •  Blood type incompatibility
  •  Exposure to toxic substances
  •  Mothers with thyroid abnormalities, mental retardation, or seizures
  •  Presence of Seizures
  •  Maternal Malnutrition
  •  Alcohol and smoking
  •  Multiple births
  •  Breech presentation
  •  Complicated labor and delivery
  •  Depression in mother inside the delivery room
  •  Three consecutive abortions before the birth of the child, etc

If a newborn baby has any of these risk factors, it doesn’t always mean that the child will have cerebral palsy, but it does increase the chances of occurrence of cerebral palsy.

  • Birth Asphyxia / Hypoxia (Oxygen Shortage)
  •  Low birth weight and premature birth
  •  Small for gestational age
  •  Low APGAR score
  •  Pathological Jaundice
  •  Presence of Seizures
  •  Bleeding in the brain
  •  Abnormal development of the brain
  •  Hypocalcaemia (low calcium concentration)
  •  Infant hypoglycemia (lower than normal level of glucose in the blood)
  •  Infant thyroid hormone levels
  •  Polycythemia (increase in hemoglobin content)
  •  Clotting defects in the mother or infant

To manage a child with cerebral palsy, it is always not necessary to know the cause / etiology of the condition but knowing the cause definitely helps parents to plan the management approach. When the parents are going for second child, they should consult a Genetic Specialist to rule out the possibility in the consecutive pregnancy. Most of the time, it is very difficult to ascertain the actual cause of the condition.

If you want to know the possible cause of cerebral palsy with your child, please contact us for help and technical support:
Mail ID:      Whatsapp No: +91-7838809241        Landline No: +91-11-41012124


Cerebral Palsy Introduction  

Causes of Cerebral Palsy    

Types of Cerebral Palsy 

Treatments of Cerebral Palsy

Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy 

Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy

Signs and symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

Associated Problems with Cerebral Palsy

Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy

Spastic Cerebral Palsy

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Talk to Doctor