Cerebral palsy is a non – progressive central nervous system disorder as a result of brain damage occurring during birth. New born suffer some degree of prenatal asphxia (i.e. reduced oxygenation of the brain, before, during or after delivery). This often accompanied by epilepsy, mental retardation and stiffness and weakness in both legs with delayed motor and language skills.
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor control centres of the developing brain and can occur during pregnancy, during childbirth, or after birth up to about age three. About 2% of all cerebral palsy cases are believed to be due to a genetic cause. Cerebral palsy is not an infectious disease and is not contagious. Most cases are diagnosed at a young age rather than during adolescence or adulthood.
Improvements in the care of newborns has helped reduce the number of babies who develop cerebral palsy and increased the survival of those with very low birth weights. There is no cure, with efforts attempting to treat and prevent complications. It occurs in about 2.1 per 1,000 live births.