Cerebral palsy in babies affects normal growth and development, specifically the ability to learn how to move and control the body. It’s the most common cause of movement disorders for children.
Dignity Health Southern California doctors and staff offer compassionate care for a range of fetal conditions. For more information about cerebral palsy in children in Long Beach, Northridge, Downtown LA, Glendale, and San Bernardino, use our Find a Doctor search tool.
Cerebral Palsy Symptoms in Infants
Symptoms of cerebral palsy in babies vary but can include:
- Muscle spasms or feeling stiff
- Unable to hold his or her head up while lying on their stomach or in a supported sitting position
- Low muscle tone — baby may feel floppy when picked up
- Poor muscle control, posture, and reflexes
- Feeding or swallowing difficulties
- Prefers to use one side of their body
- Delayed development — can’t sit up or independently roll by six months
A baby with cerebral palsy may show signs in one part of the body, such as the arms but not legs. It may not be visible at birth, specifically in premature infants.
For more about these symptoms, meet with a Dignity Health doctor at a location near you:
Causes of Cerebral Palsy in Children
Cerebral palsy may be caused by:
- Lack of oxygen in the womb or during birth.
- Bleeding in the brain before birth.
- Infections during pregnancy, including chickenpox, rubella (German measles), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and toxoplasmosis.
- Gene mutations that cause unusual brain development and cerebral palsy.
- Traumatic head injury after birth, such as a motor vehicle accident or a fall.
- Exposure to toxic substances such as mercury.
Sometimes, the cause of cerebral palsy isn’t known.
Treatment for Cerebral Palsy in Children at Dignity Health Southern California Hospitals
While there’s no cure for cerebral palsy, you can lower your child’s risk of developing it with these steps:
- Keep your immunizations up to date
- Avoid exposure to harmful chemicals
- See your doctor for regular checkups throughout your pregnancy
- Take infant safety precautions such as securing your baby in a car seat every time you travel in a motor vehicle
If your child has cerebral palsy, treatment at Dignity Health Southern California may include:
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy to build strength and develop life skills.
- Assistive devices such as braces, splints, walkers, and crutches to aid movement and body position.
- Medication to relax stiff muscles and improve movement.
- Surgery to adjust bones and joints or to relax extremely stiff muscles.
With your doctor’s support you can better understand the needs of your child and the available medical treatments.
Our dedicated Dignity Health doctors offer personal care with humankindness for cerebral palsy in children in Southern California.