Common Pregnancy Condition Linked to Cerebral Palsy

We want to bring you some recent news that should be alarming to expecting mothers and women trying to become pregnant.

Researchers have found a link between pre-eclampsia, a medical condition that affects 3% to 5% of pregnant women, and having a child born with cerebral palsy. A decade-long study of Norwegian women found that the risk of having a child with cerebral palsy increased sharply when a mother suffering from pre-eclampsia gave birth to a baby who was either premature, underweight or both.

In exposed babies born even mildly prematurely, the risk of cerebral palsy increased nearly 5 times. For exposed underweight babies, the risk more than tripled, according to the study.

It is true that premature babies are inherently at heightened risk of a number of complications, regardless of whether the mother suffered from pre-eclampsia. However, given how common pre-eclampsia is in pregnant women, these results should not go unpublicized.

What is Pre-Eclampsia?

pregnantPre-eclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy in women who previously had healthy blood pressure, as well as high protein levels in the urine. There is no cure for pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, and it will not go away until the child is born. It places both mother and child at risk. If pre-eclampsia develops early enough in pregnancy, it may not be possible to carry the child to term.

According to the Pre-Eclampsia Foundation, thousands of women and babies become sick from the condition each year, and some die.

Aside from high blood pressure, there may be no noticeable symptoms. Because many symptoms of pre-eclampsia are consistent with the effects of pregnancy on the body, pregnant women may simply chalk them up to the child they are carrying. These symptoms can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Lower back pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Swelling
  • Changes in vision

If you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant, make sure you talk with your doctor about pre-eclampsia. Be educated about this condition and all others that can affect you while pregnant. The impact your health has on your unborn baby during pregnancy cannot be overstated.

Cerebral Palsy: A Lifelong Condition

Cerebral palsy is an ailment that affects movement and muscle. It is unclear exactly what causes cerebral palsy in many instances, but it develops in the womb before birth. Symptoms are typically noticed early in childhood. Cerebral palsy is often experienced in conjunction with other debilitating conditions, like cognitive abnormalities and developmental disorders.

People with cerebral palsy typically have poor muscle coordination because some muscles typically overdevelop while others underdevelop. A person with cerebral palsy may have difficulty walking and performing precise motions. It can affect the entire body or only a portion of it.

For more on cerebral palsy – including specifics on the four types of the condition — check out this page on our website devoted to the topic.

Contact Us

There are few things more tragic than a child born with a condition that will severely impact the rest of his or her life. At The Oshman Firm, we believe part of our job as attorneys is to seek justice for children when horrible conditions they suffer should have been avoided. The causes of pre-eclampsia may not be fully known, but too often babies are born with Erb’s palsy due to a birth injury caused by a doctor’s negligence during delivery. Studies show babies born to mothers who take certain anti-depressants are at heightened risk of devastating and potentially deadly birth defects – yet the companies that sell these popular drugs don’t even warn expecting mothers. There are a lot of things that can harm your baby. When they could have been prevented but still occur, we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

If your baby faces a crippling condition linked to a drug or a medical failure, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today to seek justice.


Ted Oshman has been with The Oshman Firm since 1988 serving clients for over 25 years. Learn more about Ted's background and featured practice areas here.

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