Are Premature Babies at Greater Risk for Cerebral Palsy?

Personal Injury Blog

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder of movement, muscle tone, or posture that is caused by damage to an immature, developing brain, most often before and during birth. While cerebral palsy affects each person differently, it commonly results in limited speaking abilities, daily personal care assistance, and limited mobility. In short, it’s a devastating disorder, but what exactly causes it? While there is no single reason, there are several risk factors associated with CP, such as a premature birth. The presence of certain risk factors may lead to an increased chance of a child being born with cerebral palsy.

Premature Babies

About half of all children who have cerebral palsy are born prematurely. These are babies born 3 weeks or more before the 40th week of pregnancy. Although all premature babies are at risk of CP, those delivered before the 32nd week of pregnancy are much more vulnerable. In addition, the risk of CP increases as birth weight decreases. Even if a baby is full-term (born between 37 and 41 weeks), they are still at risk of developing CP if they have a low birth weight, or less than 5.5 pounds. Though modern technology has increased the survival rates of premature babies, their underdeveloped bodies are more likely to suffer from conditions that in turn result in CP.

Other risk factors for cerebral palsy include blood clotting problems, the inability of the placenta to provide the developing fetus with oxygen and nutrients, bacterial infections, blood type incompatibility, and the prolonged loss of oxygen during the pregnancy or birthing process. While some of these risk factors are inevitable, others can easily be avoided.

Medical malpractice can lead to acquired CP, especially if a health professional improperly handles a baby or fails to detect and cure an infection. If your child was injured as a result of medical malpractice, please contact our Pennsylvania birth injury lawyers at Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLP today. You may be able to recover damages for medical costs and future health treatment.

Call (888) 498-3023 or contact us online to speak with an attorney. You pay nothing unless we win your case!
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