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Risk factors for cerebral palsy from labor complications

Giving birth always comes with some degree of risk, but many women in Massachusetts put their trust in modern medicine to get them through labor and delivery safely. Unfortunately, even seemingly simple issues that are neglected can lead to devastating long-term effects for both mother and child.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information explains that a 2013 study suggested a relationship between cerebral palsy and infant suffocation during birth. Researchers noted that although asphyxia can be hard to diagnose immediately after the birth, a review of previous study results indicated that asphyxia was linked to the neurological disorders that fall under the name cerebral palsy.

According to, one of the few intrapartum causes of cerebral palsy is infant asphyxia arising from a difficult birth. This inability to breathe is extremely dangerous because even short-term oxygen deprivation may cause severe brain damage or even death. The brain requires a high intake of oxygen, and during birth is when oxygen deprivation is most likely to occur. It is essential for the mother's blood pressure to be monitored carefully during the birthing process to prevent this important source of oxygen from being denied to the baby. The longer the labor lasts, the higher the risks of asphyxia.

Common birth complications that may result in asphyxia include premature rupture of the protective amniotic membrane; constriction of the umbilical cord in the birth canal, which may occur if the cord moves ahead of the baby; and lack of timely treatment when there is a respiratory problem.

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