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Factors to Assist Families Making Diagnosis of CP

Cerebral palsy (CP) is actually a group of medical conditions affecting the portion of the brain that controls muscles. CP can cause significant issues with balance, posture and movement. However, some children have extensive developmental and intellectual disabilities that are the direct result of the condition. These disabilities make communicating, learning, socializing and taking care of oneself extremely challenging.

There are many factors that can assist families in making their own diagnosis of whether their child suffers from cerebral palsy or not. In many cases, the child suffers from spasticity, stiff or tight muscles that cause awkward body movements. Some of these spastic CP symptoms and signs include:

  • Tight muscles that are unable to stretch
  • Tight joints
  • Difficulty in walking or crossing knees
  • Walking on toes or with a scissor-like step
  • Groups of muscles that are weak or provide no movement

Common Risk Factors

There are specific common risk factors that are known to develop cerebral palsy. However, the presence of any one of these factors does not necessarily mean that the child can develop the condition. Some of these risk factors include:

  • Birth Asphyxia – If the newborn’s brain does not receive adequate oxygen supply or none at all, during the birthing process, they could develop cerebral palsy immediately or in the future.
  • Blood Type Incompatibility – The baby’s health and well-being can be compromised if the blood type of the mother conflicts with the blood type of her newborn child, which can lead to CP. Blood incompatibility is easily avoided. However, if the mother’s red blood cells crossed through into the fetus or the placenta during pregnancy, the blood antibiotics will often attack the blood cells in the newborn’s body causing jaundice.
  • Birth Complications – Many complications during the birthing process can increase the potential of developing cerebral palsy at any stage of the pregnancy including during labor and delivery.
  • Infection – If the mother, fetus or newborn experiences a fever or infection, the potential of the child developing cerebral palsy and other serious health complications increases. Numerous infectious diseases have proven to be the cause of cerebral palsy including German measles (rubella), sexually transmitted diseases including herpes, parasite infections (toxoplasmosis) and fetal membrane inflammation (chorioamnionitis) caused by bacterial infections.
  • Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) – When the weight of the fetus falls below the 10 percentile and has an abdominal circumference of less than the 2.5 percentile, intrauterine growth restriction can occur. Some of the leading factors for the development of IUGR include chromosomal abnormalities, placenta problems, heart disease (mother), alcohol or drug abuse, poor nutrition, eclampsia or preeclampsia, maternal heart disease or high blood pressure or other parental risk factor including smoking.
  • Infertility Drugs and Multiple Births – The risk for cerebral palsy increases dramatically when the mother delivers more than one baby during a single delivery. Because of that, the use of infertility drugs places the baby at a higher risk of developing CP. Other high risk factors are caused by certain complications including cesarean sections, delivery-associated umbilical cord accident, premature membrane rupture or an abnormal presentation during the delivery process.

Determining If Your Baby Has CP

The health conditions of different children suffering from CP very greatly. Some children experience mild signs and symptoms like awkward body movements. Other children suffer serious symptoms and signs that can become significantly worse over time. In many incidences, the young baby will suffer a developmental delay are never reach the developmental milestone compared to other children.

Of the child is younger than six months old, some signs that suggest CP could include pushing away when held, feeling floppy or stiff, noticeable stiff legs when picked up or their head falling back when picked up while laying on their back.

When a child is older than six months, some noticeable signs that CP might be developing include an inability to roll over or put their hands together. Some children have noticeable difficulty in bringing their hands together or challenges in bringing the hands to the mouth.

In many incidences, CP can be treated effectively through the help of pediatricians, child neurologists, social workers, physical therapist, orthopedic surgeons, psychologists, special education teachers, language and speech pathologists, and occupational therapists.

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