Cerebral Palsy Prevention
In many cases, there is no way to prevent cerebral palsy. It is often out of parents’ hands completely, whether it happens due to an accident or because of a gene mutation. However, anything you can do to keep yourself and your child in the best possible health lessens some of the risk factors that can result in cerebral palsy. Here is a list of the most important things you can do, both for maternal health and for the health of your child.
For maternal and fetal health:
- Get all of your vaccinations, especially for diseases such as German measles, and stay away from things like cats’ litter boxes, which can cause toxoplasmosis.
- Make sure you get prenatal care for your entire pregnancy. Your OB or midwife can help you watch for any potential complications and/or bacterial and viral infections that could put your baby at risk.
- Ask about the Rh factor test, which should be routine as part of prenatal care. If you are Rh negative and incompatible with your fetus’s blood type, there are a few different steps that can be taken to lessen the risk to you both, during the pregnancy and also postpartum.
- Avoid situations in which you’ll be exposed to dangerous chemicals like lead or mercury. Try also to stay away from X-rays, smoking, drugs, and any unnecessary medications.
- Know the signs of preterm labor and act immediately to get treatment if you experience them. If you are at risk for preterm labor due to a preexisting condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes, make sure your prenatal care takes that into account.
For infant/child health:
- Watch for signs of jaundice and get your infant treated immediately if he or she develops it.
- Keep your infant/child’s vaccinations up to date, and stay on schedule with visits to the pediatrician. As much as is possible, stay away from anyone who may have an illness such as bacterial meningitis that could easily pass to your baby.
- Have your home tested for lead, and take any necessary steps to prevent lead poisoning.
- Do everything possible to prevent your infant/child from experiencing a head injury, from using car seats properly to wearing helmets for any sport that could involve a serious fall. Never, ever shake a baby or hit your child hard enough to cause a head injury.