Cerebral palsy, according to CerebralPalsy.org, is caused when there is a brain injury before, during, or after the birth of your infant, or when his or her brain fails to develop properly as it grows in utero. The severity of the damage to your child’s motor function and other skills will depend on where the brain injury is, and how it happened.
Your child’s cerebral palsy may be caused by one of four different types of brain damage or malformation. Periventricular leukomalacia, or PVL, is injury to the white matter of your baby’s brain. When the white matter is damaged, the injured cells decay, leaving empty space. These spaces in your baby’s brain, known as lateral ventricles, fill with fluid.
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE, occurs when your baby’s brain is denied oxygen. Your infant is capable of surviving unharmed with less oxygen for very short periods, but brain tissue suffers severe damage when your baby is denied oxygen for too long. CerebralPalsy.com states that HIE is a major cause of death and brain damage in infants.
Your baby’s ability to develop motor skills and other functions may be damaged due to hemorrhaging in his or her brain. This condition is known as intraventricular hemorrhage, or IVH.
The fourth possible cause of cerebral palsy in your baby is cerebral dysgenesis. While the other three causes involve a type of injury, cerebral dysgenesis is the abnormal development of your infant’s brain. This may happen because his or her brain did not develop completely, did not undergo complete division, or failed to develop properly in some other way.