Cerebral Palsy (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
What Increases Your Risk
Premature birth and low birth weight
About half of all children who have cerebral palsy (CP) are born prematurely.1 The risk of a baby having CP increases as the birth weight decreases. A baby who is born prematurely usually has a low birth weight, less than 5.5 lb (2.5 kg), but full-term babies can also have low birth weights. Multiple-birth babies are more likely than single-birth babies to be born early or with a low birth weight.
It is estimated that about 80 out of 100 children with CP had a disruption in the normal development of parts of their brain during fetal growth.2 Low-birth-weight, premature babies are more likely than full-term, normal-weight babies to have had developmental problems during fetal growth that can injure the brain. For example, a condition called periventricular leukomalacia, or PVL, which reflects injury to the white matter of the brain, is more likely in babies born prematurely than in those born at full term.
For information about fetal growth, see the Interactive Tool: From Embryo to Baby in 9 Months.
Risk factors before birth
Babies born to teen mothers or to mothers age 35 and older have a higher risk for cerebral palsy.
Also, a fetus's risk for developing a brain abnormality or injury that leads to CP increases when the mother has certain problems during her pregnancy, which may include:
Risk factors for cerebral palsy at birth
In rare cases, some babies develop CP as a result of complications during the mother's pregnancy or at birth. Risk factors include:
Risk factors after birth
Risk factors for developing CP just after birth or within the first 2 or 3 years of life are related to brain damage and include:
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