Brain Injury During Birth

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Cerebral palsy is a number of neurological disorders resulting from brain damage. It affects a person's ability to control their movements and sometimes their posture. Most people who suffer from this disorder are diagnosed by a doctor by the age of five. It is caused by abnormalities in the brain, many of which control the body's movements.

The majority of cerebral palsy cases are caused by brain damage occurring during pregnancy or during the neonatal period, which is defined as the first four weeks of life. A small percentage of cerebral palsy cases are caused by events after the neonatal period. These events may include traumatic brain injuries or other brain damage and infections.

Oxygen deprivation can cause brain damage. One of the leading causes of cerebral palsy is oxygen deprivation during pregnancy. A baby may not get enough oxygen during childbirth, due to the loss of blood or the obstruction of the umbilical cord. Another way a child may have cerebral palsy is if they got brain damage in their first few months of life after getting an infection like bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis. Other cases have involved children who have been injured in car accidents, those who have fallen and those who were the victims of child abuse.

Also, there are a number of circumstances that can increase the risk of cerebral palsy. The baby's weight can play a major role. Larger babies, as well as premature babies, are more likely to be injured during birth, resulting in brain damage, cerebral palsy, and other conditions. If a delivery takes an excessive amount of time, the baby is more likely to sustain an injury or have cerebral palsy. Also, if a baby is positioned awkwardly, he or she is more likely to have cerebral palsy.

Many other circumstances may raise the chances that a child will have cerebral palsy. If the mother drinks or smokes while she is pregnant, it can increase the risk of cerebral palsy and other disorders. Drug abuse by the mother, and lead poisoning in the mother, can also increase the risk.

There are several symptoms of cerebral palsy. Lack of coordination and concentration is common. Many times a person with cerebral palsy will sit or stand in extremely awkward positions. Muscle spasms and seizures occur in those with cerebral palsy as well. The person's hearing and vision may be affected. Additionally, the use of one appendage while dragging the other, a scissored gait and an awkward muscle tone are somewhat regular characteristics of this disorder.

Those who suffer from this disorder may receive medications and various forms of therapy. Muscle relaxants may be used. Speech therapists and physical therapists may work with cerebral palsy patients. Orthopedic devices, including wheelchairs and walkers, may be necessary for some individuals, while it may be necessary for some individuals who suffer from this disorder to have surgery.

There are a number of agencies who offer educational support, training, services and medical assistance for those who are afflicted with cerebral palsy, as well as those who care for them. These agencies include, but are not limited to United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), the March of Dimes Foundation and Easter Seals. These three incredible agencies can offer help to those in need or direct you to it. You may visit their websites for more information.

Research is being done in some of the top hospitals in the country, as well as within these organizations, where scientists and doctors are looking at traumatic events in the lives of newborns that might cause bleeding, seizures, breathing and circulation problems, and how they arise. Studies are also being conducted that enables caregivers to determine the best course of treatment and therapies are best for those whom have these disorders.


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