60 W Randolph Street, Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60601

FREE CONSULTATIONS 312-945-1300

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Chicago cerebral palsy lawyer risk factors medical negligence

Help Understanding Whether CP Was Caused By Birth Injuries

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a serious neurological condition that is likely to affect a person throughout their entire life. The costs associated with the care and treatment of CP are high, so it is important to understand the reasons why a child may experience this condition.

Congenital CP

Cerebral Palsy is typically caused by damage to a child's brain while it is developing or by conditions which led to abnormal brain development. In nearly all cases (around 85 to 90 percent), this damage occurs before or during a child's birth, or within 28 days after birth. Infant brain injuries, known as neonatal encephalopathy, are one of the most common causes of CP, and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) resulting from a lack of oxygen to a child's brain can be especially harmful.

Doctors and medical personnel should be aware of certain factors that may indicate that a child is at risk of CP and take steps to address these issues and prevent brain injuries during birth. These risk factors include:

  • Birth weight under 5.5 pounds; risk increases significantly for children under 3 pounds, 5 ounces
  • Premature birth before 37 weeks; risk increases significantly for children born before 32 weeks
  • Multiple babies
  • Infertility treatments and assisted reproductive technology
  • Abnormal fetal position or breech birth
  • Placental abruption
  • High blood pressure during pregnancy, known as preeclampsia
  • Infections to the mother, such as herpes, syphilis, toxoplasmosis, rubella, or cytomegalovirus
  • Health issues experienced by the mother, such as thyroid issues or seizures
  • Excessive contractions, which may be caused by labor induction
  • Prolonged labor
  • Cesarean section delivery that is not performed quickly enough to address fetal distress
  • Asphyxia or oxygen issues during birth, which may be caused by problems with the umbilical cord
  • Trauma during birth, including skull fractures or head injuries resulting in hemorrhaging in or around the brain
  • Uterine rupture
  • Meconium aspiration syndrome
  • Severe jaundice leading to kernicterus

Acquired CP

Cerebral Palsy can be caused by damage to a child's brain that occurs at least 28 days after the child was born. This damage may result from a physical injury, such as a fall or a car accident, or it may be caused by health conditions. Some risk factors for acquired Cerebral Palsy include:

  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Brain infections, which may occur if the child does not receive the proper vaccinations
  • Heart defects
  • Blood clotting issues leading to a stroke

Has Your Child Experienced a Birth Injury?

If your child was injured during birth, or if you experienced any complications that could have led to a brain injury, you should be aware of the signs and symptoms of Cerebral Palsy and the treatments that may be necessary. CP may be unavoidable in some cases, but it can also occur because of errors or negligence on the part of doctors or nurses. Mistakes may have been made during birth that led to injury to your child's brain, or medical staff may not have properly monitored your child for signs of distress throughout the process of labor and delivery. 

Due to the difficulties your family will experience if your child has Cerebral Palsy, as well as the high cost of medical care throughout the child's lifetime, it is important to understand the available options for receiving financial help. At the Birth Injury Law Alliance, we provide complimentary consultations and case evaluations, and we will work with you to determine whether your child's injury was caused by medical malpractice while ensuring that your child is able to receive the care he or she needs. Contact us today by calling 312-945-1300.

Back to Top