Cerebral Palsy (antenatal period)

Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a disorder of movement, muscle tone, or posture that is caused by injury or abnormal development in the immature brain. Signs and symptoms appear during infancy or preschool years. Patients with cerebral palsy often have impaired movement which is associated with exaggerated reflexes and/or rigidity of the limbs and trunk, abnormal posture, involuntary movements, unsteadiness of walking, or some combination of these. The effect of cerebral palsy on functional abilities varies greatly.

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

Some of the causes of cerebral palsy during pregnancy are infections such as rubella, herpes simplex, or untreated group B strep. In addition, placental abnormalities such as placental insufficiency or premature aging of the placenta, and placental abruption can also cause cerebral palsy.

There are also situations that occur during the birth process which can cause cerebral palsy. Untreated signs of fetal distress, such as the baby being stuck in the birth canal, placenta previa, or placental abruption can cause cerebral palsy. Umbilical cord compression, prolapse or occlusion are also causes of this condition.

What are the Signs of Cerebral Palsy?

Once injury has been sustained to the brain, the location of the damage will determine what signs or symptoms may be present. A baby may show signs of abnormal activity, delayed development, spasticity, seizures, or quadriplegia. Hypotonia (flaccidity in the trunk), and mental retardation are other signs of cerebral palsy.

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