Generally, a full term pregnancy is considered to be between 38 weeks and 42 weeks. When you have your first prenatal visit and the doctor tells you your due date, that date is the day which is 40 weeks after the first day of your last menstral period. Click here in order to calculate your due date.
Babies born before 38 weeks are considered premature and are at an increased risk for having problems with their lungs and heart. Premature babies are also at an increased risk for developing cereberal palsy.
Babies born after at 41 weeks and later are at increased risk to be still born. Those babies are also at an increased risk to suffer injuries as a result of the delivery process due to their larger size. Often, injuries during the delivery process are the result of a condition known as shoulder dystocia, where the baby's shoulder becomes lodged against the mother's pelvis during the delivery. There are specific steps a doctor is supposed to take to dislodge a shoulder dystocia and if the doctor does not do so the baby can suffer permanent nerve damage and injury. This type of injury is known as a brachial plexus injury.
The signs and symptoms of Cerebral Palsy range from barely perceptible to obvious, and include the following:
Poor head control
Difficulty feeding and sucking
Delays in motor development
Lying in awkward positions
Easily or frequently startled
Delay in crawling, walking, pushing up on all fours
Favoring of one hand over the other
Floppy or stiff movements (overdeveloped or underdeveloped muscles)
Ataxia (loss of coordination and balance)·
Athetosis (involuntary slow, writhing movements)
Spastic paralysis (abnormal stiffness and contraction of muscles)
Motor impairment (difficulty with writing and other coordinated tasks)
Slow overall development
Difficulty with speech, hearing, or vision
Difficulty with perception or sensation
Inability to control bladder
Inability to control bowels
Behavioral and/or attention deficit disorders
Impaired sense of touch or pain
Limited range of motion
Progressive joint contractures
What Is Mixed Cerebral Palsy
Many children do not fit neatly into the category of Spastic, Athetoid Dyskinetic, Ataxic, or Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy. If your child does not fit into one of these forms of Cerebral Palsy, your child's doctor will consider your child as suffering from Mixed Cerebral Palsy. This is quite common.
How Is Cerebral Palsy Diagnosed
To determine whether your baby has Cerebral Palsy your baby's dcotor will test your baby's motor skills and reflexes. The doctor will also look for signs and symptoms of commonly associated with Cerebral Palsy (for example, delayed development, abnormal muscle tone, unusual posture). Your baby's doctor will also look for unusually early development of hand preference, i.e., the tendency to use either the right or left hand more often.
In diagnosing your child's condition, your baby's doctor will also attempt to rule out other disorders that can also cause muscle coordination and movement problems. By definition, Cerebral Palsy does not get worse over time. Your baby's doctor will be looking to see whether your baby's condition worsens over time, as this would indicate that some other condition -- and not Cerebral Palsy -- is causing your baby's muscle coordination and movement problems.
In diagnosing Cerebral Palsy, your baby's doctor may also want to perform imaging studies such as CT scans, MRI scans, and ultrasonography to get a picture of your baby's brain.
Finally, to determine whether your baby has Cerebral Palsy, your baby's doctor may want to test for other conditions that are typically present with Cerebral Palsy, such as seizure disorders, mental impairment, and vision or hearing problems.
What Is Athetoid Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy
Athetoid Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy is the second most common form of Cerebral Palsy, behind Spastic Cerebral Palsy. With Athetoid Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy, your child will have normal intelligence, but their body will usually be totally affected by muscle problems. Their muscle tone may be weak or tight, and they may have trouble walking, sitting, or speaking clearly. They may also have trouble controlling her facial muscles and drooling is often a problem.