WebMD defines cerebral palsy as a “group of chronic ‘palsies’ -- disorders that impair control of movement due to damage to the developing brain.” Typically, CP occurs in a young child’s brain, and it is not a progressive disorder. In other words, the brain does not get worse as the person ages. Generally, CP happens due to a brain injury during the early development of the baby, but it can also be caused by genetics. Sometimes, parents even blame themselves, even though CP occurs for many different reasons.
The CDC reports that CP can be present at birth, but the symptoms may not show up for months. Sometimes, the cause of CP is unknown. Here are some of the common reasons CP occurs:
- An infection during pregnancy damaged the fetus’ nervous system
- The infant had severe jaundice at birth that went untreated and damaged brain cells
- A birth trauma or injury to the head during labor and delivery
- The infant is deprived of oxygen during birth
- The mother and infant have an Rh incompatibility
Staying healthy through pregnancy can help lower the risk of CP in the infant, but because the causes are not completely known, CP is not always preventable. Talk to your doctor about methods to prevent risks, for example, if you might deliver preterm or have multiple births.
Get an Assessment of Your Situation
If your baby suffered injury during labor and delivery, it might be good to speak to an attorney about whether you have a claim to help you take care of your child with CP. Medical negligence can be another cause of CP. The CDC estimates that the average cost of taking care of a person with CP over their lifetime is upwards of one million dollars, but this largely depends on the extent of the CP and how it has affected the child. An initial discussion with an experienced attorney can help you understand the specific facts of your case.