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Preventing cerebral palsy

Safety measures and medical care can prevent some cases of cerebral palsy.

It's not always possible to prevent cerebral palsy. But there are ways to prevent some causes of the disease, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Preventable causes of cerebral palsy include:

Head injury. Help keep your child safe from head injury by using car safety seats and making sure he or she wears a helmet when riding a bike or skating.

Jaundice. Phototherapy can clear up jaundice in newborns, according to March of Dimes. Infants are exposed to special blue lights that help prevent jaundice from causing brain damage. If phototherapy doesn't work, your doctor can perform a type of blood transfusion that may stop the disease.

Rh incompatibility. This blood condition is a common cause of jaundice. But it's easy to detect the problem with a routine blood test done on expectant mothers and sometimes on expectant fathers.

Rh incompatibility doesn't usually happen in a first pregnancy. Your doctor can help you prevent it by giving you a serum during each pregnancy and again soon after birth, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. If the problem occurs anyway, your doctor may recommend a blood transfusion to prevent complications for your baby.

Rubella (German measles). Future moms can prevent this common cause of cerebral palsy by getting vaccinated before they become pregnant.

One of the best ways to make sure you have a healthy baby is to get regular prenatal care and practice healthful living. That means following your doctor's instructions for good nutrition and not smoking, drinking or using drugs.

These habits can't offer 100% protection from cerebral palsy. But they will help lower your child's risk of cerebral palsy and many other problems.

Reviewed 2/15/2024

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