What Are the Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy in Newborns?

Posted: Nov 15, 2016 2:48 PM

Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in children, affecting 1 in 323 kids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is actually a group of developmental disorders, and the symptoms can vary from one child to the next.


Although there are several causes of cerebral palsy, medical negligence is often a contributing factor. If your infant suffered an injury during delivery, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Randolph C. Wood is your birth injury attorney in Jackson who will evaluate your case to determine if you have grounds for a claim. Call 601-709-3584 to schedule a consultation at the Law Office of Randolph C. Wood, PLLC.

5 Common Causes of Cerebral Palsy

As its name suggests, cerebral palsy involves a disruption in the development of a child’s brain. According to the Mayo Clinic, in many cases, the exact cause is unknown – but there are several factors that can lead to developmental disorders such as:

  1. Genetic mutations;
  2. An infection in the mother;
  3. Fetal stroke;
  4. Infections or inflammation around the brain; or
  5. A severe head injury.

Symptoms of a Developmental Disorder

After the birth of your new child, it is important to keep an eye out for signs of developmental disorders. This is particularly true if you had a difficult pregnancy or strenuous delivery.

Common symptoms of developmental disorders include:

  • Overly exaggerated reflexes;
  • Stiff muscles with normal reflexes, or rigidity;
  • A lack of muscle coordination;
  • Tremors, or involuntary movements;
  • Slow, writhing movements, known as athetosis;
  • Child does not reach important milestones in motor skills;
  • Favoring one side of the body more than usual;
  • Difficulty walking;
  • Excessive drooling;
  • Difficulty with the mechanics of eating; and
  • Delays in speech development.

How Doctors Diagnose Cerebral Palsy

If your child has symptoms of cerebral palsy, your doctor has several options for confirming the diagnosis. He or she may use blood tests, an MRI to detect brain density issues, an ultrasound to evaluate brain tissue, or a CT scan.

Your physician may also perform physical and cognitive evaluations to diagnose cerebral palsy. He or she may test the infant’s speech, hearing, mobility and digestion.

3 Types of Cerebral Palsy

As previously mentioned, cerebral palsy is often used as an umbrella term that relates to various types of brain and motor skills deficiencies. There are three types of cerebral palsy: 

  • Athetoid Cerebral Palsy: Characterized by uncontrolled, involuntary movements;
  • Spastic Cerebral Palsy: Characterized by stiffness and mobility problems in the limbs; and
  • Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: Characterized by a lack of depth perception and balance.


If you or your child sustained an injury during birth, contact your Jackson medical malpractice lawyer from the Law Office of Randolph C. Wood, PLLC. Randolph C. Wood will help you claim the maximum compensation from the at-fault doctor or facility. Call 601-709-3584 today to schedule a consultation.