The Cerebral Palsy Risk Factor Checklist

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Are you pregnant and want to avoid undue risks of your child developing Cerebral Palsy? Do you feel you may have – knowingly or unknowingly – exposed your unborn child to risk? Or, is your infant child showing signs of developmental delay?

Avoiding risk factors before conception, during pregnancy or during the birth process will help prevent a child from developing Cerebral Palsy. Any exposure to risk factors prior to conception and during pregnancy should be immediately discussed with a doctor in order to treat and minimize risk. The Cerebral Palsy Risk Factor Checklist helps parents determine if they may have been exposed to risk factors for Cerebral Palsy.

When planning a family, many couples will visit their respective doctors for a pre-conception checkup to assess and discuss reproductive health. Reproductive health status provides the couple with a medical professional’s opinion on whether any known risk factors exist. The check-up will also allow for proper care and management of chronic health conditions prior to conception and throughout the pregnancy. Some health conditions, such as infections and blood type incompatibilities, should be properly managed during pregnancy, labor and delivery.

Some couples, however, don’t have the luxury of pre-planning a pregnancy. If a woman should discover she is pregnant, prenatal care should be scheduled to plan and provide for a healthy pregnancy. An obstetrician/gynecologist, or OB/GYN, is trained to assess threatening health conditions and manage extenuating circumstances. A man’s primary health care provider can be of assistance, as well.

Couples and health care providers work together to identify and manage risk factors. A pregnant mother should make a concerted effort to become aware of risks to a healthy pregnancy. This includes items like exposure to hair dye, eating certain types of seafood, fertilizing the lawn, utilizing some cleaning products, inhaling second-hand cigarette smoke, drinking wine, and changing cat’s litter box during pregnancy can subject the unborn baby to risk of developing Cerebral Palsy.

Parents of a child recently diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy may attempt to better understand the cause of their child’s condition in order to potentially prevent impairment to any other child they may conceive at a later date. Becoming aware of risk factors can help prevent birth defects, Cerebral Palsy, or children being born with some form of special needs.

Following are some commonly known risk factors that can lead to the development of Cerebral Palsy. The presence of one or more of these risk factors does not ensure a child will develop Cerebral Palsy, nor does the absence of risk factors ensure a child will not have Cerebral Palsy. Risk factors merely identify cause for concern.

Avoiding risk factors will help prevent a child from developing Cerebral Palsy; any exposure to risk factors prior to conception and during pregnancy should be discussed with a doctor in order to effectively treat and minimize risk. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive; other risk factors may contribute to the development of Cerebral Palsy, as well.

For more information on Cerebral Palsy Risk Factors, visit Cerebral Palsy Risk Factors.

To learn about risk factors and how they differ from risk factor causal pathways, visit What is a risk factor? How does that differ from a risk factor causal pathway?.

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Basic Information

Basic Information

____________________ Child’s Name

____________________ Mother’s Name

____________________ Father’s Name

____________________ Primary Care Physician

____________________ Birth Date

____________________ Birth Weight

____________________ Birth Height

____________________ Week’s Gestation

____________________ APGAR Score

____________________ Blood Type

Asphyxia (Oxygen Deprivation)

Asphyxia (Oxygen Deprivation) Checklist

Asphyxia is a condition in which the body and, most importantly, the brain receives inadequate, or no, oxygen supply. Learn what events can lead to birth asphyxia and measures you can take to prevent.

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▢ Umbilical cord problems

▢ Excessive hemorrhaging (bleeding)

▢ Abnormal presentation

▢ Prolonged or traumatic delivery

▢ Delivery involving shoulder dystocia

▢ Maternal shock

▢ Other ____________________

▢ None

Blood Type Incompatibility

Blood Type Incompatibility Checklist

A-B-0 and Rh incompatibility happens when a mother’s blood type conflicts with that of her newborn child. Blood type incompatibility can be prevented, learn how.

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▢ Rh blood type incompatibility

▢ A-B-O blood type incompatibility

▢ Erythroblastosis fetalis

▢ Jaundice

▢ Kernicterus

▢ Other ____________________

▢ None

Complications of Birth

Complications of Birth

Complications that increase a child’s chance of developing Cerebral Palsy can arise during pregnancy or during labor and delivery. Newborns are assigned an Apgar score. Learn what your child’s score means.

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▢ Abnormal presentation or breech birth

▢ Emergency caesarean sections

▢ Prolonged second stage of delivery

▢ Premature separation of the placenta

▢ Premature rupture of the membranes

▢ APGAR score outside of normal range

▢ Other ____________________

▢ None

Infection

Infection

Infection and fever in a fetus, newborn, or pregnant mother increases the likelihood that a child will develop Cerebral Palsy and other health risks. Certain infectious diseases are known to heighten the likelihood.

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▢ Bacterial Infection

▢ Viral infection

▢ Fungal infection

▢ Parasitic infection

▢ Sexually transmitted infection

▢ Other ____________________

▢ None

Intrauterine Growth Restriction

Intrauterine Growth Restriction

Intrauterine growth restriction, IUGR, is defined as a fetus with a weight that falls below the 10th percentile and abdominal circumference below the 2.5th percentile when compared to others of the same gestational period. Learn how IUGR occurs.

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▢ Intrauterine growth restriction

▢ Chromosomal abnormalities

▢ Drug and alcohol abuse

▢ Maternal high blood pressure or heart disease

▢ Poor nutrition

▢ Preeclampsia or eclampsia

▢ Placenta problems

▢ Other ____________________

▢ None

Multiple Births and Infertility Drugs

Multiple Births and Infertility Drugs

When more than one baby is born to a mother during a single delivery, infants have a higher chance of developing Cerebral Palsy than babies from single births. Use of infertility treatments can also cause higher risk.

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▢ Infertility drugs used

▢ Multiple birth and premature rupture of membranes

▢ Multiple birth and umbilical cord accidents in delivery

▢ Multiple birth, umbilical cord and abnormal presentation during delivery

▢ Multiple birth and cesarean sections

▢ Multiple birth and low birth weight

▢ Multiple birth and premature birth

▢ NICU stay

▢ Other ____________________

▢ None

Parental Health and Habits

Parental Health and Habits

Many events in life can have an effect on the human body – both in the father and the mother – such as parental health, socio-economic conditions, age, medical history, social habits and toxins. Learn which ones can become risk factors for the development of Cerebral Palsy.

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▢ Parental age

▢ Parental weight and height

▢ Parental genetic disorders

▢ Reproductive abnormalities

▢ Maternal chronic health disorders

▢ Parental exposure to toxins

▢ Parental radiation exposure

▢ Parental habits

▢ Lack of adequate access to health care

▢ Other ____________________

▢ None

Placenta Complications

Placenta Complications

Placenta complications can result in excessive bleeding, cause a lack of blood, oxygen, and nutrients reach to the fetus, and may stall fetal development. Learn the most common signs of placental complication and how they are diagnosed.

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▢ Placental abruption

▢ Placenta previa

▢ Placenta accreta

▢ Placental infarctions

▢ Placenta did not grow properly

▢ Placenta positioned poorly in uterus

▢ Placenta did not function properly

▢ Damage to the placenta

▢ Other ____________________

▢ None

Types and Forms

Premature Birth

Premature Birth

All babies born preterm are at risk for serious health problems, but those born earliest are at greater risk of medical complications, long-term disabilities and in some severe cases, even death. Learn how medical advances have improved the chance for survival.

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▢ Pre-term labor and delivery – before 37 weeks gestation

▢ Full-term labor and delivery – during 37 to 42 Weeks gestation

▢ Late-term labor and delivery – after 42 weeks gestation

▢ First pregnancy

▢ Prior premature delivery

▢ High risk pregnancy

▢ NICU stay

▢ Respiratory problems

▢ Other ____________________

▢ None

Traumatic Brain Damage

Traumatic Brain Damage

Forceps and vacuum extractors are medical devices commonly used to assist in the delivery of babies. Properly used these devices can help doctors to safely deliver babies. However they can also lead to mechanical trauma to the baby.

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▢ Use of vacuum extractors

▢ Use of forceps

▢ Mechanical injury

▢ Erb’s Palsy

▢ Shoulder dystocia

▢ Brachial plexus palsy

▢ Klumpke’s palsy

▢ Other ____________________

▢ None