Early or late birth ups cerebral palsy risk
Full-term babies born a bit early or late than the due date side are at a higher risk of cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is a collective term for several disorders that involve the brain and nervous system that first appear in early childhood. It is the most common reason for disability in childhood and is thought to occur because the brain has been damaged during fetal development or early infancy.
Preterm birth is well known to increase cerebral palsy risk, but most children with the condition aren't born prematurely. To investigate whether being born later might influence risk as well, researchers studied 16,82,441 Norwegian children born at 37 to 44 weeks' gestation between 1967 and 2001. A total of 1,938 of these children were known to have cerebral palsy.
The lowest risk of cerebral palsy was seen in children born at term (40 weeks), with about one in every 1,000 of these children having cerebral palsy. The risk of having cerebral palsy was higher with earlier or later delivery. The risk for children born at 37 weeks was nearly 2 in 1,000; it was 1.25 in 1,000 for children born at 38 weeks; 1.36 in 1,000 for children born at 42 weeks; and 1.44 for children born after 44 weeks.
The study shows that the absolute risk of developing cerebral palsy is still very low and the vast majority of children being born some weeks away from 40 weeks (full-term) will not develop cerebral palsy. One possible explanation may be that the brain of the newborn is especially vulnerable the more the baby is born away from a gestational age of 40 weeks. An alternative explanation may be that fetuses prone to develop cerebral palsy have a disturbance in timing of birth, making them more prone to be delivered either early or late as more often than not, cerebral palsy diagnosis is due to events preceding labour and delivery.
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