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What is cerebral palsy?

Contrary to what some parents in Washington state may believe, not every birth injury is evident immediately after the birth of a baby. Some injuries may not present any symptoms for months or even years. Cerebral palsy is an example of this.

As explained by WebMD, some children with cerebral palsy show absolutely no signs of any problem until they reach two or even three years old. The severity of cerebral palsy can range greatly from person to person. Estimates indicate that as many as 20 percent of all people with cerebral palsy contracted the condition as the result of an injury during birth. This happens when the brain is damaged due to a lack of oxygen. The damage itself is irreversible but also not progressive. The symptoms may be controllable to some degree but are also susceptible to worsening over time.

Because parents may not notice a problem right after birth, it is important that they monitor their babies’ development. Delays in major milestones may signal a need for further investigation. Equally important are the actions of obstetric, labor and delivery professionals in response to problems either during pregnancy or during labor and delivery. For example, high levels of protein in a pregnant mother’s urine could signal an increased risk of a baby developing cerebral palsy.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give Washingtonians a better understanding of cerebral palsy and what signs they should be aware of that may signal the need to seek help.