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Cerebral palsy as a birth injury

As many as one in five cerebral palsy cases are the result of injury to the brain during labor and delivery.

The last thing that an expectant parent wants to think about is something going wrong during the labor and delivery of their child. Many babies are born without any complications or problems every day. However, there are sadly many babies in New York and around the nation that suffer unnecessary trauma or injury during birth. One condition that may develop due to injury at this time is cerebral palsy.

What is cerebral palsy?

WebMD explains that cerebral palsy is a condition in which damage to the brain results in impaired muscle control. The extent of the muscular impairment can vary from person to person. This explains why some people with cerebral palsy are able to walk and talk while others are confined to wheelchairs and may have limited abilities to communicate.

While there may be early warning signs of cerebral palsy in newborns, many cases are not able to be diagnosed until children are a few years old.

What causes cerebral palsy?

Several things can lead to the development of cerebral palsy. Injury to a baby’s brain during birth is said to be responsible for roughly one in five cases of cerebral palsy. This injury commonly takes the form of actual head trauma or some other situation that reduces the blood and oxygen supply to the baby. This may happen prior to birth, during birth or just after birth.

What are the types of cerebral palsy?

According to the March of Dimes, the vast majority of cerebral palsy cases are called spastic cerebral palsy. Children with spastic cerebral palsy have very stiff muscles either in both legs, down one side of the body or in all four extremities and their torsos. Those children that are able to walk do so with a scissor-like motion due to the challenges with controlling leg muscles and bending knees.

Children with ataxic cerebral palsy have problems with coordination and balance. They may even experience tremors at times. Dyskinetic cerebral palsy is characterized by very loose or very tight muscles and a resulting jerky motion by children trying to walk. Some people have elements of more than one type of cerebral palsy.

Can cerebral palsy be cured?

There is no cure for cerebral palsy. It is a non-progressive disease which means it will not get worse over time. While it cannot be cured it can be managed and some symptoms may even be able to be eased or improved with therapy or treatment. Speech, occupational and physical therapy and the use of prosthetics or aids like wheelchairs help many children.

What should parents do if they suspect a birth injury?

The health of a baby is a precious thing. When New York parents have concerns that their child’s health has been compromised during labor and delivery, they should reach out to an attorney. This can help parents understand how to seek compensation for their child’s injuries.