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What are some risk factors for cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a birth defect that can impact babies for any number of reasons. In some cases, medical errors or improper care can increase the risks of cerebral palsy. In others, it could be caused by an infection within the mother or infant illnesses.

Exposure to toxins, the Zika virus or certain other diseases for the mother can increase the risk that a baby will be born with cerebral palsy. Rubella, also known as the German measles, and chickenpox during pregnancy increase risks, as do cytomegalovirus and herpes infections. Toxoplasmosis, which is caused by parasites found in cat feces and contaminated food and soil, can also increase risks of birth defects, as can syphilis. When you are pregnant, it's important to work closely with medical professionals to stay healthy and to treat any issues appropriate to mitigate risks.

Infants who are exposed to and experience viral and other infections just after birth could be at risk for cerebral palsy. This is why it's so important that health care workers in hospital nurseries and maternity wards follow proper protocols.

Finally, factors related to the actual birth of a baby can increase risks. Breech births put babies at more risk, as do any other complications in labor and delivery. Working with medical teams who take the health of you and your baby seriously can mitigate such factors, but doctors and nurses are people, and they sometimes make mistakes. Even if they do everything according to the book, issues can happen.

If you believe that medical mistakes or negligence was a factor in your child's birth injury, then you might have a basis for a medical malpractice claim. Consider talking to a personal injury lawyer about your options.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Cerebral Palsy," accessed April 07, 2017

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