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Jeff Brody
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Prenatal and Neonatal Care and Cerebral Palsy

Most cases of cerebral palsy seem to be caused during the prenatal period.  Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that usually are the result of some damage that occurs in the brain before, during, or shortly after birth.  The disorder is characterized by motor or posture related problems that are often seen during the child’s first few months of life.  Cerebral palsy is usually the cause of a number of factors occurring at the same time.  Many times the factors causing cerebral palsy could be stopped, or the cerebral palsy could have been caused by some medical mistake.

During prenatal and neonatal care and development, cerebral palsy may develop because of a number of factors.  Some common ones that seem to be related to cerebral palsy are genetic abnormalities, toxic infections, lack of oxygen to the brain, or some birth related injury.

During the 26 and 34th weeks of pregnancy the periventricular matter near the inner brain development is most vulnerable to having serious injury occur.  This area of the brain is most responsible for motor control of the legs.  Damage to the periventricular matter can result in cerebral palsy during prenatal development.

Other factors which are important to take note of during prenatal and neonatal development may be linked to cerebral palsy.  These include drug use, infection, maternal diabetes, trauma, or a family history of brain problems.  Other problems relating to cerebral palsy may be caused by polydramnios (excess of amniotic fluid), hormone treatment of the mother, additional injections of estrogen or progesterone, and bleeding by the mother.

Ultimately, however, most cerebral palsy is due to any damage to the brain, whether it be genetically related, or due to injury or disease.  During the pregnancy any element, which causes either a premature or low weight birth, is seen as a high risk factor in determining cerebral palsy.  During prenatal and neonatal care, it is important for your doctor to monitor fetal development and the birth progress. 

Sometimes cerebral palsy can be prevented.  All pregnant women should be tested for the Rh factor.  If a pregnant woman is Rh negative during the prenatal period, the newborn and the mother should be given an immunization within the first few days after birth. If a baby is born with jaundice, this should be treated immediately.  Sometimes a forceps delivery can cause trauma to the head of the newborn.  Other times during pregnancy an unnecessary C-section can occur, causing lowered birth weight and unneeded premature birth.

If you suspect that a medical or doctor mistake has occurred before, during, or shortly after pregnancy you should contact an experienced cerebral palsy attorney for a free consultation.  If the cerebral palsy could have been avoided then you may be eligible for monetary compensation.



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