This is a common question parents have when their child has been given a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. The short answer is that the majority of cases of cerebral palsy are not preventable. Statistically, despite the large number of known and proposed causes, the origin of cerebral palsy in most cases is unclear.

Cerebral palsy can be congenital, meaning a child was born with the condition. The majority of cases are congenital. There is an increased risk of congenital cerebral palsy from infections in pregnancy, congenital brain malformations, low birth weight, placental abnormalities, premature birth, multiple births (twins, triplets), use of infertility treatments, underlying medical problems in the mother and complications during birth in which the fetus is deprived of oxygen. Only about 10% of cerebral palsy cases are from birth asphyxia (lack of oxygen at birth).

Acquired cerebral palsy means it occurred after birth and can be from meningitis, trauma or stroke.

What can a parent do to determine if their child’s case was preventable?

It is the parent’s right to have to have their child’s medical records reviewed to determine whether or not their child’s cerebral palsy was preventable. This can be accomplished by consulting with a reputable medical malpractice attorney who can investigate to determine if there was evidence of negligent care that led to the development of cerebral palsy.