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Children's Health

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Cerebral Palsy - Cause

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a result of an injury to the brain or abnormal development of the brain. In many cases, the exact cause isn't known. The damage or abnormality may occur during pregnancy or birth or within the first 2 to 3 years of life.

  • Possible causes of CP during pregnancy or birth can include genetic problems, infections or health problems in the mother or baby during pregnancy, or problems related to labor and delivery. Health problems in a newborn, such as untreated low blood sugar, can also cause brain damage that leads to CP.
  • Possible causes of CP related to an early birth (premature birth) are related to the brain's development. For example, babies born too early are at risk for bleeding in the brain.
  • Possible causes of CP within the first 2 or 3 years of life are usually related to brain damage from a serious illness, injury, or lack of oxygen to the brain.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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