Alternate Names : CP
Cerebral palsy, which is also called CP, is a motor impairment due to an injury to the brain before it is fully mature. These motor problems are initially seen in the first few years of the child's life and generally don't worsen over time.
What is going on in the body?
Cerebral palsy is a motor impairment caused by an injury to the brain. The brain damage may occur before birth, during delivery, or even after the child is born. There are four major types of cerebral palsy:
spastic CP, which involves permanent stiffness and contracture of the muscles
athetoid, or dyskinetic, CP, which causes slow writhing movements
ataxic CP, which is rare and affects the balance and depth perception
mixed forms of CP, which include characteristics of the other three types of CP
At one time, CP was thought to be caused by the infant getting too little oxygen during birth. More recent studies suggest that most cases come from problems during pregnancy.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
The brain damage that causes CP can occur before birth, during labor and delivery, or in the first few years of life. Common causes include the following:
brain infections, such as meningitis or encephalitis
head injuries from accidents or child abuse
Rh incompatibility between the mother and fetus
severe oxygen deprivation during labor or delivery
stroke in the fetus or newborn, caused by clotting problems
TORCH infections in the mother during pregnancy
Following are some of the risk factors for cerebral palsy:
breech birth, in which the baby is delivered feet first
complicated labor and delivery
hypothyroidism, mental retardation, or seizures in the mother
low APGAR score, which is a measurement of the baby's health taken right after delivery
low birth weight and premature birth
multiple births, such as twins
nervous system abnormalities, such as a small brain
seizures in the newborn
vaginal bleeding or protein in the mother's urine during the third trimester of pregnancy