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Is Cerebral Palsy Caused by Lack of Oxygen at Birth?

June 25, 2019

There are many birth injuries that may occur during the process of labor and delivery. Nothing is scarier than when your child suffers a lack of oxygen during birth. Not getting oxygen can cause damage to the brain and other organs, which in a newborn can have significant and long-lasting effects. Many times, doctors can prevent such injuries, but due to errors, they occur. One injury often linked to oxygen deprivation at birth is cerebral palsy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cerebral palsy is a condition caused by brain damage when the brain is developing. It affects a person’s muscle control abilities. It was long thought that oxygen deprivation at birth was a leading cause of CP, but time and research has shown that is not true. Yes, CP may be caused by a lack of oxygen when a child is born, but this is only true is a few cases, not in the overwhelming numbers it was once thought to be.

The actual causes of most cases of CP are likely to occur before birth or within a month after birth. At any point when the brain is developing, infection is often the leading cause of CP. Another top cause is a head injury. Brain damage before birth that causes CP has no known origin that researchers can pinpoint at this time.

So, when a lack of oxygen during birth could lead to CP, it is more likely that a child may have developed the condition before birth or if not immediately recognized, the condition may be due to an injury or illness after birth.