Some Maternal Infections May Increase the Risk of a Child Developing CP
Cerebral palsy is the result of a brain injury suffered by an infant shortly before, during, or within a short time after being born. Like any other brain injury, cerebral palsy can be caused by multiple factors. Certain types of infections are known to cause an increased risk of having a child with cerebral palsy. These include some that are, unfortunately, relatively common.
Illnesses & Infections that Can Increase the Chance of Cerebral Palsy
What may be a minor, even inconsequential infection in adults may be life-threatening to children.
Some of the illnesses that cause an increased risk of cerebral palsy in infants can actually be prevented with vaccines. For example, it’s likely that at some point, you got a vaccination against German measles, also called rubella. Some people have been skipping these vaccines, but it should be pointed out that German measles is among the conditions that most-commonly result in an increased risk of having a child with cerebral palsy.
Chickenpox, usually thought of as a minor childhood rite of passage, also increases the risk that you’ll have a child with cerebral palsy. Like German measles, this illness can often be avoided by through a vaccine. If you get a vaccine, you’ll also be able to go through the rest of your life without worrying about developing shingles, which can develop later in life.
Dirty equipment, materials and conditions can lead to infections. The same types of infections that may mean a minor problem for adults can be potentially life-threatening for infants. Infections that cause swelling in or around the brain are particularly dangerous and can result in the development of CP.
Even toxins in the environment can increase the chances that a child may be born with cerebral palsy. Methyl mercury, for example, is associated with an increased risk of cerebral palsy in children.
Infections Caused by Unsanitized Equipment or Hospital Negligence
If the equipment used for the delivery or care of your child wasn’t cleaned properly, it may have served as the means by which the infection was transmitted. This may come down to negligence on the part of the healthcare facility, the staff, or the supplier that provided the medical equipment to the doctor and healthcare facility.
The doctor or staff may be responsible for exposing your child to infection as well, but this can be difficult to prove without an attorney on your side to help conduct an independent investigation.
How To Protect Your Child
Some of the risk factors for cerebral palsy, clearly, can be lessened. For example, if you’ve never had German measles but have also never had a vaccination, you could talk to your physician about getting a vaccination, especially if you’re considering getting pregnant. If you already had chickenpox, you could speak with your physician about how much of an increased risk it really presents (remember, lots of people have chickenpox), and if getting a vaccination for shingles could be an option for you.
There are cases where cerebral palsy occurs during the birthing process due to medical malpractice. In some instances, problems in the womb may also end up causing an injury that results in cerebral palsy. These situations are sometimes completely unavoidable. In other cases, however, physicians or health care providers should be able to identify any potential risks such as infections, and advise you further.