How Premature Birth Is Related to One of the Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Premature birth also known as preterm means the birth of a baby before the completion of the normal period of pregnancy. It means giving birth to a baby before the completion of 37 or 42 weeks of pregnancy. The actual cause of preterm is not yet known but there are many factors that can induce preterm birth. Premature birth can cause a number of medical complications in babies that are born preterm especially before the completion of 37 weeks. Though preterm birth does not necessary lead to cerebral palsy but it is one of the causes of this medical disorder.

Brain injury or damage is the major cause of Cerebral Palsy which is a brain disorder marked by the lack of body and muscle control especially around the limps. Brain damage can occur in many ways including premature birth. There are two different ways through which brain damage can occur in premature babies, namely, infections causing brain damage and lack of oxygen.

Lack of Oxygen

The lung is an important organ of the body through which the body takes in oxygen and gives out carbon dioxide. This sponge like organ does not develop on time. It is one of the organs of the body that develops during the last stage of pregnancy. This puts the babies born prematurely at the high risk of developing cerebral palsy resulting from brain damage caused by the lack of oxygen getting into their body system. As scientific studies have shown, one of the causes of brain damage which is the major cause of cerebral palsy is lack of oxygen. So, if the lung is not properly developed and it is not functioning very well, brain damage can occur and this can finally lead to cerebral palsy in premature born babies.

Infection at the Time of Premature Birth

The premature brain white matter can be damaged or injured during preterm birth by some infections. Damage to the brain white matter during preterm birth is called periventricular leukomalacia abbreviated as (PVL). Periventricular leukomalacia can cause cerebral palsy in a premature born baby. Rubella also known as German measles is one of the infections that can cause brain damage in a premature born baby.

However, the above does not mean that every premature born baby must suffer from cerebral palsy. It is only saying that preterm born babies are more liable to suffer from cerebral palsy than babies that are delivered after the normal pregnancy length.

Though improvement in obstetrics has reduced the cases of preterm birth and cerebral palsy, pregnant women should make every effort to avoid preterm birth in order to reduce the risk of brain damage and cerebral palsy. However, in cases where preterm is unavoidable, every known medical steps should be taken to help the babies lung develop fully. This will help to avoid lack of oxygen which can lead to brain damage. Pregnant women should try to treat themselves of every infection so that they will not cause problem to their babies. 

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