Birth Injuries and Spastic Cerebral Palsy

Mother holding her newborn baby after labor in a hospital. Cerebral palsy is among the most common movement disorders in the United States. Around two to three children for every 1,000 babies develop cerebral palsy. Damage to the developing brain before, during, or even after birth can cause this motor disorder.

Different types of cerebral palsy can occur in children, the most common of which is spastic cerebral palsy. Dealing with spasticity can be a lifelong burden. If it comes from a birth injury, it’s a much more disappointing damage to deal with forever.

Understanding Spastic Cerebral Palsy

There are three types of movement and brain-related injuries that qualify as cerebral palsy. These are spastic cerebral palsy, athetoid CP, and ataxic CP. In spastic cerebral palsy, the muscles feel stiff, and movements become rigid and jerky.

This spasticity is a form of hypertonia or an increase in muscle tone. This issue can cause movement to be very challenging, if not outright impossible. The muscles will appear jerky because the signals that the brain sends are wrong. These signals can come from a specific part of a damaged brain.

A potential cause of spastic CP is a birth injury. Many children who develop spastic cerebral palsy had injuries on their developing brains upon birth. The possible causes can be many different things.

Birth Injury Can Cause Spastic Cerebral Palsy

For one, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy can happen. HIE occurs when a baby’s brain does not receive a sufficient amount of oxygen and blood. It is one of the most serious birth injuries out there and occurs in 2% of all children born.

Together with HIE, a common cause of spasticity is a maternal infection that comes from the mother and travels to the baby. This problem can cause sepsis, the body’s severe reaction to infection, or meningitis – the inflammation of the protective covering of the brain.

Potential brain hemorrhages can also happen during delivery. If medical practitioners use forceps or vacuum extractors during the delivery, it can cause damage. The brain can bleed and cause cerebral palsy.

Other causes of HIE, hemorrhage, and infection include:

  • Placental previa
  • Stroke
  • Low amniotic fluid (Oligohydramnios)
  • Prolonged or arrested labor
  • Uterine rupture
  • Placental abruption
  • Traumatic delivery
  • Improper respiratory management
  • Maternal infection
  • Improper anemia management

Whatever has caused it is, any of these issues can cause damage to the motor cortex and upper motor neurons. These parts of the brain are in charge of motor skills, mostly planning, control, and execution of movement. When they receive damage, it hinders parts of the spinal nerves from receiving the right message.

When nerves receive bad signals, they will start twitching, and motor signals will scramble. If the motor cortex receives damage from a birth injury, movement is downright impossible.

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Spastic Cerebral Palsy?

So, how can you tell if your child has spastic cerebral palsy? There are a few potential signs and symptoms. These can change depending on the age of your child.

If they are below six months, signs of spastic CP include:

  • Stiff body
  • Floppy posture
  • Head lags behind the back
  • The child tends to overextend their back
  • Limbs, especially the legs, are stiff
  • In babies older than six months, signs can be more prominent. These include:
  • Inability to bring hands together
  • Cannot rollover
  • No hand-eye coordination
  • Crawls in a lopsided manner
  • Moves with hands and butt, not on fours

If you see these signs, it’s best to undergo screening and diagnosis for your child.

Living with Spastic CP

Living with spastic cerebral palsy can be a challenge to both the child and the parents. Significant finances will tie up to medical needs, therapy, counseling, and special support. Children with spastic CP would need to live with scissor gait or the crossing of knees and thighs.

The degree of spasticity will vary from child to child. Some will only experience their issue on the lower half of their body. More unfortunate children with worse brain injuries can relegate to a wheelchair their entire lives.

Instability is a common issue, and mobility limitations will be a matter of daily life. Early evaluation and intervention can resolve a lot of the problems that occur with spastic CP. As the child grows, mobility problems will be more apparent.

Meals are a challenge, and your child can have a hard time living alone as an adult. Daily hygiene, playtime, schooling, and even sleeping is an entire set of challenges.

Find a Birth Injury Attorney for Spastic Cerebral Palsy

Spastic cerebral palsy can come from a birth injury and medical malpractice. Birth injury cases bring a prolonged, enduring pain to deal with. Still, if you have a child who experiences such daily suffering, it’s worth the fight. Talk to a birth injury lawyer that can help you win your case.

Talk to an experienced birth and personal injury attorney to help you obtain the compensation to which you are rightfully entitled. Lifelong treatment, therapy, and a secure future are some things your child deserves. Consult with an accomplished lawyer and discuss your next move today.

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