How is Microcephaly Connected to Cerebral Palsy?


There is a wide assortment of associative conditions tied to the brain injury resulting in a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis. One example of a condition that can correlate with Cerebral Palsy is microcephaly. This condition, marked by a smaller head size than typical newborns, ranges in frequency, but has reached newfound awareness as a result of the Zika virus.

What is microcephaly?

Microcephaly is a condition occurring during pregnancy and revealed at birth involving the reduced size of the child’s head. Because a child’s head is flexible during pregnancy and in the early years of life, the growing brain leads to the size of the head increasing. Microcephaly involves the brain not properly forming and, as a result, leading to a reduced head size for the child.

How does microcephaly occur?

Causes of microcephaly include:

  • Infection during pregnancy
  • Brain injury
  • Physical trauma during delivery preventing continued brain growth
  • Malnutrition
  • Exposure to dangerous chemicals or substances like alcohol or drugs
  • Interruption of blood flow to the brain during development

The last cause listed, an interruption of critical blood and/or oxygen to the brain, is known as HIE (Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy). HIE is one of several ways in which Cerebral Palsy can be a part of the conversation.

What is the connection between microcephaly and Cerebral Palsy?

Just as an infection or brain injury (like HIE) can result in a brain not growing to its expected or full potential, it can also lead to the damage that is tantamount to a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis. Children who are diagnosed with microcephaly may face reduced mental function, problems with balance/motor functions and more.

Support for children who have been diagnosed with microcephaly and Cerebral Palsy is available by contacting our Care Team today. Call us at (800) 692-4453 or fill out our online form to learn more about assistance available in your state, as well as on the federal level. All of our non-legal assistance is provided free of charge so contact us at your convenience to get access to information, kits, eBooks and more!