Prevention of Cerebral Palsy

The best prescription for having a healthy baby is to get regular prenatal care, eat a healthy diet, and avoid smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug abuse before and during pregnancy. Other CP prevention tips include:

Prevent head injuries by using child safety seats in automobiles and helmets when riding bicycles, skateboards, etc. Supervise young children closely during bathing and swimming. Prevent child abuse. Keep poisons out of reach.

Treat jaundice in newborns with phototherapy. Exposing jaundiced babies to special blue lights that break down bile pigments and prevent them from building up and causing brain damage. In rare cases, a blood transfusion may be necessary.

Identify potential Rh incompatibility in expectant mothers. Incompatible Rh factor usually is not problematic with first pregnancies, as the mother's body typically produces the unwanted antibodies only after delivery. A special serum given after each delivery can prevent the production of antibodies.

If antibodies develop during a first pregnancy, or if antibody production is not prevented, the developing baby is monitored closely. If necessary, a transfusion may be given to the infant in the womb or an exchange transfusion may be given after birth, removing and replacing a large volume of the infant's blood.

Get a German measles (rubella) vaccine before becoming pregnant.

Alternative Therapies for Cerebral Palsy

Adults with CP may benefit from alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, osteopathy, and homeopathy.

Cerebral Palsy Support Groups

To meet the challenges of cerebral palsy, patients, families, and caregivers need help and support. There are many government-supported and private voluntary groups that provide information about prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as clinical and support services.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Jan 2000

Last Modified: 03 Sep 2015