Having a baby and watching him or her grow is a beautiful thing. But what if something goes wrong? If you notice your child is having problems with development, you may be wondering if he or she has cerebral palsy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 323 American children has this motor disability.
If you have any concerns regarding the health of your baby, you should talk to your pediatrician. But here are some risk factors and symptoms of cerebral palsy that you should know about.
Causes of cerebral palsy
The following issues can cause babies to acquire this disorder:
- Premature birth: Babies born before 37 weeks have a high chance of developing cerebral palsy.
- Low birthweight: Children who weigh 5.5 pounds or less have a significant chance of developing cerebral palsy.
- Delivery errors: When doctors use a vacuum extractor, fail to notice a prolapsed umbilical cord, fail to perform a timely C-section or improperly use delivery forceps, children have an increased chance of suffering from cerebral palsy.
If any of these happened to your child, it does not automatically mean he or she has this condition. These factors simply make it more likely for cerebral palsy to occur. That said, if your baby has cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice, you may be able to pursue compensation.
Signs and symptoms
There are many signs of cerebral palsy because there are different categories and degrees of severity of the disability. The main sign you should watch out for is a delay in reaching milestones, such as sitting, rolling over, standing and walking. Other signs include:
- Your baby feels floppy.
- Your baby feels stiff.
- His or her head lags when laying on his or her back.
- His or her neck and back seem to overextend when you cradle him or her in your arms.
Remember that some babies who do not have cerebral palsy may exhibit these signs.