Cerebral Palsy: Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy in Infants and How to Treat Them

Have you heard of cerebral palsy? You may wonder why it can happen especially in newborns. How to cope and how to prevent cerebral palsy in babies. Find the answer to Cerebral Palsy: Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy in Infants and How to Treat Them.

This type of paralysis can occur in infants or adults. The life expectancy of patients with cerebral palsy cannot be determined. You can find out the initial signs as well as some of the types here.


What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy definition

Cerebral palsy or cerebral palsy is a disease that disrupts movement and coordination of the body. The disease results from impaired brain growth, which normally takes place when the kid is still in the uterus. This brain development disorder can also occur during childbirth or the first two years after birth.


Types of cerebral palsy

Spastic cerebral palsy

Approximately 75% of cerebral palsy is a spastic type. In children with cerebral palsy spastic, it usually has narrowed muscles with stiff movements, especially on the legs, arms, and back.

Uncontrollable motor movements also cause difficulties in the following ways:

  • Controlling muscles
  • Difficulty moving from one position to another
  • Stiff muscles and spasms
  • Gestures made abnormally
  • Inhibit movement

Spastic also has other derivatives which are split based on the child’s ailment. Such as spastic quadriplegia that affects the upper and lower body of the child which greatly restricts movement and mobility.

There’s also spastic diplegia which affects the lower portion of their human body. Normally, children who suffer with this may still walk but desire walking aids.

Lastly, there is spastic hemiplegia that hits only one side of the body and usually attacks the arms rather than the legs. This is a condition that children who have experienced it can walk.


Dyskinetic cerebral palsy

This kind is the 2nd most popular cerebral palsy. Symptoms include:

  • In dystonia, the child performs repetitive and circular movements.
  • Athetosis, squirming motion.
  • Chorea, the child’s movements are unpredictable and difficult to control.
  • It’s hard to swallow and talk.
  • Poor posture.


Ataxic cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy ataxi is a condition that affects the whole body so that the child has balance and coordination problems. Children appear to have slow and uncontrollable movements, as well as poor muscle shape making it difficult for them to sit upright as well as walking.


Cerebral palsy mixture

Mixed symptoms of cerebral palsy are a combination of two or three types of cerebral palsy that have been described above. However, the most common mixture is a spastic and dyskinetic mixture.

Given cerebral palsy is a condition that involves brain and muscle performance, sometimes children with CP can have learning, hearing, seeing, or mental retardation difficulties.


Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy in Infants

Symptoms of cerebral palsy in infants can usually be seen since he is only a few months old. However, this condition often goes unnoticed by parents. Most cases of cerebral palsy are only found when the infant is 2 years old. Sometimes the condition is even diagnosed in older children.

In general, some several signs and symptoms indicate that the baby suffers from cerebral palsy, namely:

  • Difficulty speaking and understanding language
  • Deformity and contracture of joints as well as bones (permanently fixated muscles and joints)
  • Frequent clenching of the hand
  • Low muscle mass and soft tissue issues, such as reduced muscle mass, are all signs of soft tissue problems.
  • Improved reflexes and chlorine (a series of rapid, accidental, rhythmic, relaxing contractions and relaxation of leg muscles)
  • Sensory difficulties (hearing loss, vision, or processing disorders)
  • Abnormal ways of walking, such as scissor paths
  • Abnormal patterns of the mouth and tongue, such as pulling and thrusting the tongue, biting hard by not releasing, the oversensitive mouth also often cringe
  • Postural abnormalities
  • Delayed reactions or awkwardness, such as a child may fall more often than other friends or children his or her age.
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You can also identify specific signs of cerebral palsy based on the age of the baby.

In infants less than 6 months of age, cerebral palsy is usually characterized by:

  • Can’t lift your head when lifted or carrying.
  • One part of his body feels stiff or limp.
  • When lifted, his legs are crossed or stiff.
  • When carried, he acts as if uncomfortable and tries to get away from you.


While in infants aged 6 months or more, cerebral palsy can be recognized by the appearance of symptoms such as:

  • The baby doesn’t roll in any direction.
  • He had trouble putting his hands together.
  • His hands were unable to reach his mouth.
  • He reached for something with just one hand, while the other hand only clenched.


Then in a baby over 10 months old, you need to suspect that he has cerebral palsy if:

  • Crawling obliquely using only one hand and one foot, while the other hand and foot are dragged like they can not be moved.
  • Sucking with his thighs or buttocks.
  • Cannot stand even if it has held on or rested on an object.

Not only that, but brain abnormalities experienced by people with cerebral palsy can also cause other health problems, such as tremors, stiffness, muscle weakness, or impaired coordination of the body.

The signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy are not always the same in every baby who experiences it. It is dependent upon which portion of their brain is damaged. This condition is often similar to some other diseases.


What causes Cerebral Palsy to occur?

Cerebral palsy is caused by impaired brain development in children. The condition generally occurs during pregnancy, but can also occur during childbirth, or the first few years after the child is born. It is not yet known exactly what caused the developmental disorder, but the condition is thought to be triggered by some factors such as the following:

  • Changes in genes have a role in brain development.
  • Transmission of infection to the fetus during pregnancy. Examples include chickenpox, rubella, syphilis, toxoplasmic infections, and cytomegalovirus
  • Fetal stroke is a disruption of blood supply to the foetus brain.
  • Differences in rhesus blood group between mother and baby.
  • Twins of two or more. The risk of cerebral palsy increases in one of the surviving babies, if the other baby dies at birth.
  • The baby’s low weight at birth, which is less than 2.5 kilograms.
  • Lack of oxygen supply in the baby’s brain (asphyxia) during childbirth.
  • Preterm birth, i.e. Born at 37 weeks gestation
  • Breech birth, i.e. born with legs first out.
  • Inflammation of the brain or membranes of the baby’s brain.
  • Jaundice poisons the brain (kernicterus).
  • Severe head injuries, such as falls or accidents.


What increases the risk of this disease?

Pregnant women’s health

Unwittingly, exposure to harmful chemicals can become toxic while pregnant and significantly increase the risk of cerebral palsy in infants.

Infections that need attention include:

  • Herpes during pregnancy that is transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy
  • Parasitic infection toxoplasmosis
  • Zika virus infection
  • The mother has an injury or infection during pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy disorders that make the fetus do not get enough oxygen in the womb
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Mothers who have Zika infection can cause the size of the child’s head to be smaller than normal (microcephaly) and can cause cerebral palsy. In addition, women who are pregnant tend to experience bending in certain parts of the body such as the legs. Know the causes of leg bending on the Pedal Edema: Definition, Diagnosis, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

While for parasitic infections toxoplasmosis is commonly found in immature food, or exposure to something contaminated with soil, as well as cat feces.


Newborn disease

In addition to health factors and maternal conditions, diseases suffered by babies when newborns can also increase the risk of cerebral palsy are:

  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Bleeding in the brain

The condition of brain hemorrhage is caused by the baby having a stroke in the womb. Meanwhile, a bacterial infection of meningitis causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.


Birth factor

The risk of cerebral palsy increases due to birth factors, some of which are:

  • Breech baby condition
  • Low birth weight (BBLR)
  • Twins
  • Babies born prematurely

Babies whose pregnancy is less than 28 weeks old are at risk of cerebral palsy. The earlier the birth, the greater the risk of developing cerebral palsy.

Meanwhile, babies weighing less than 2.5 kilograms are at higher risk of CP and are more likely to lose weight when they lose weight.


How is a cerebral palsy diagnosis done?

The doctor will diagnose a child with cerebral palsy if they show any symptoms. But to be sure, the doctor will suggest follow-up examinations, such as:

Electroencephalography (EEG)

EEG aims to see the electrical activity of the brain, using the help of a special tool connected to the scalp.


Imaging test

Imaging tests were conducted to see areas of the brain that were damaged or developing abnormally. Several imaging tests that can be done are MRI, CT scan, and ultrasound.

Neuroscientists can also perform sublime function checks to find intelligence disorders, as well as speech, hearing, seeing, and moving disorders.

Cerebral Palsy: Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy in Infants and How to Treat Them

When should the child be examined by a doctor?

Cerebral palsy is a disease that needs special treatment. Early diagnosis can help prevent many symptoms and better control the disease. If you notice any of the above signs and symptoms or problems with coordination and muscle function in your child, consult a doctor.


How to treat Cerebral Palsy?

Treatment can be done to improve the ability of sufferers in self-activity. However, to date, there has been no treatment that can cure cerebral palsy. Methods of treatment commonly given to people with cerebral palsy are:



Medications are used to relieve pain or relax stiff muscles, to make it easier for the patient to move. The type of drug used may vary depending on the extent of the stiff muscles.

In muscle stiffness that only occurs in the local area, the doctor will give botox injections (botulinum toxin) every 3 months. Botox can also be used to treat drooling.

As for the stiff muscles that occur throughout the body, the doctor may prescribe diazepam and baclofen.



In addition to medications, various types of therapy are also needed to address the symptoms of cerebral palsy, including:


Children’s physiotherapy aims to improve the ability of movement and muscle strength, as well as prevent contractures (shortening of muscles that make movement limited).


Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy aims to help patients deal with difficulties in activities, such as bathing or dressing. This therapy will greatly help improve the patient’s confidence and independence.

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Speech therapy

As the name implies, this therapy is intended for cerebral palsy patients who have speech disorders.



Surgery is required when stiff muscles cause abnormalities in the bones. Examples are:

Orthopedic surgery

This procedure is performed to return the bones and joints to the correct position. Orthopedic surgery can also lengthen muscles and tendons that are too short due to contractures, to improve the patient’s mobility.


Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR)

SDR will be performed when other procedures are not able to overcome muscle pain and stiffness. The procedure is performed by cutting off one of the spinal cords.

In patients with symptoms of difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), the doctor will recommend soft and gentle feeding, while training the swallowing muscles with physiotherapy. While in severe dysphagia, the doctor will recommend the installation of a feeding tube, either installed through the nose or directly from the skin of the abdomen to the stomach through surgery.

While in patients who drool, surgery will be performed to direct the flow of saliva to the back of the mouth, so as not to drip outwards continuously.


Using Tools

Special aids can help individuals with cerebral palsy who have problems with communication, hearing, and vision.

These types of tools include:

  • Cochlear implants
  • Electronic communication board
  • Eye-tracking device
  • Typing aids
  • Writing tools


Mobility Aids

Children with reduced mobility can take advantage of assistive technologies that can be tailored to their individual needs. Mobility aids are designed to assist children with cerebral palsy in moving freely. They can significantly improve their independence and quality of life.

Types of mobility aids include:

  • Stick
  • Crutch
  • Elevator
  • Electric scooter
  • Orthotic devices
  • Standers
  • Pedestrian
  • Walking stick
  • Wheelchair


The life expectancy of patients with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy generally does not affect life expectancy. Individuals living with cerebral palsy can lead a fulfilling life, but several factors can affect life expectancy.

These factors include:

  • Difficulty eating and swallowing
  • Impaired vision, hearing, or speech
  • Intellectual disability
  • Mobility limitations
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Stiff


Complications of Cerebral Palsy

Stiff muscles and impaired movement in people with cerebral palsy can cause the following complications:

  • Malnutrition due to difficulty swallowing food
  • Stress and depression
  • Lung disease
  • Low bone density (osteopenia)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Visual impairment


How to prevent cerebral palsy?

Most cases of cerebral palsy cannot be prevented, but you can avoid it by reducing the risk. If you are pregnant or plan to get pregnant, you can take the following steps to maintain health and minimize pregnancy complications:

Make sure you’re vaccinated

Getting vaccinated against diseases such as rubella, preferably before pregnancy, can prevent infections that can cause fetal brain damage.


Take care of yourself

The healthier you are towards pregnancy, the less likely you are to develop an infection that causes cerebral palsy.


Look for early and sustainable prenatal care

Regular visits to the doctor during pregnancy are a good way to reduce health risks for you and your unborn baby. By regularly consulting a doctor, it can help prevent premature birth, low birth weight, and infection.


Practice good child safety

Prevent head injuries by giving your child a car seat, bicycle helmet, safety rails in bed, and proper supervision.


Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs

This has been linked to the risk of cerebral palsy.


What are the effects of cerebral palsy?

Here are some of the impacts that can occur due to cerebral palsy:

  • Cognitive disability or intellectual disability
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty controlling certain muscles
  • Scoliosis and short limbs
  • Dental problems
  • Hearing loss
  • Joint problems
  • Problems with body reflexes

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