What Causes Cerebral Palsy at Birth?


A mother holding newborn baby's head in her hands.In infants,
cerebral palsy is the result of a brain injury or brain malformation that occurs before,
during, or right after birth, when an infant’s brain is most vulnerable.
The impact it may have on a child depends on the severity of the injury
and where the damage occurred. Some doctors and scientists also believe
that cerebral palsy may be caused by maternal infections prior to delivery.

Oxygen Deprivation

One of the most common ways in which an infant may sustain brain damage
is through oxygen deprivation, which often occurs during labor or delivery.
If the overseeing physician or hospital staff are not diligently observing
the mother or watching the fetal monitor, they will miss any signs of
fetal distress, delaying a timely response. Umbilical cord problems, hemorrhaging,
prolonged delivery, and maternal shock can all cause oxygen deprivation,
which may lead to cerebral palsy.

Birth Assistance Tools

During difficult deliveries, birth assistance tools may be used. These
could be helpful if used properly, but dangerous in the hands of someone
who is not properly trained on how to use them. Instruments such as forceps
or vacuum extractor could cause a brain injury if used with too much force.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy impacts motor function, muscle tone, reflexes, posture and
balance, and even oral motor functioning. It is not curable, but it is

In children, cerebral palsy will generally delay their development and
growth, but the signs and symptoms of this condition are not the same
for everyone. Treatment options include surgery to repair fractures, medications,
therapy, and adaptive equipment.

The Houston birth injury lawyers at Hampton & King have over half a
century of combined experience to inform every case we handle. When physicians
fail to meet the standard of care, causing harm to children or mothers,
our team steps in to ensure that they are held accountable for such actions.

We offer free case evaluations, so get in touch with us at