Cerebral Palsy: The Ultimate Guide for Parents of Newborns

Newborns with cerebral palsy (CP) have different needs. Although physicians and doctors handle most of your child’s treatment, there are several ways you can lend a hand to help make their life easier. Cerebral palsy affects every child differently, so no one will have the same experience while caring for their child.

Whether your child is suffering from mild or severe cerebral palsy, there are numerous ways you can boost their health and wellness. Below we’ll further discuss cerebral palsy, how it affects your child’s life, and what measures can you take to improve their quality of life in Cerebral Palsy: The Ultimate Guide for Parents of Newborns.

Cerebral Palsy & How it Affects Newborns

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is caused by severe damage to the brain or abnormal development in different parts of the brain responsible for motor movements. 

Such events can occur before, during, or right after childbirth. Additionally, it can happen in the first few years of their lives during brain development. The real reason behind cerebral palsy is not clearly defined in most cases. However, most affected newborns have congenital cerebral palsy at birth, meaning they were born with it. Other than that, medical malpractice or negligence is also a primary reason behind such childbirth injuries.

There could be various causes of cerebral palsy before childbirth. The major ones include damage to the white matter of a child’s brain, lack of oxygen in their brain, abnormal brain development, or bleeding in their brain. 

Moreover, some children also develop cerebral palsy after 28 days of being born due to motor impairments. But there are several reasons behind acquired CP. The most prominent ones are brain damage in a few months, infections such as encephalitis or meningitis, lack of blood flow to the child’s brain due to stroke, abnormal blood vessels, blood clotting issues, sickle cell disease, or a heart defect during birth. It may also occur due to a head injury from an accident or child abuse.

Although there’s no cure for this condition, various treatments prove helpful in managing its symptoms. As a parent, you can also help your child and provide them with the necessary care to lead a healthy life.

Always Keep Informed about their Health

Your newborn may see numerous healthcare providers such as a paediatrician, specialist, therapist, and so forth. One doctor probably will refer your child to others for better treatment and keep checks on their care that they get elsewhere. 

However, it’s good for you as a parent to always stay on top of their health. Many doctors suggest parents get more involved in the care of their child with CP. It will help you make better health decisions and learn about the treatments and therapies that work best for them.

Be an At-Home Therapist for Your Child

With help from doctors, therapists, and other caregivers, therapy time shouldn’t end when the time slot is over. Parents should learn the ideal ways to help their children exercise at home so they can stretch their muscles, foster good balance, and decrease pain between clinic visits. If your child suffers pain from muscle spasms, a good massage will help. Therefore, it’s helpful to learn some basic techniques.

Help Your Child Stay Active

Your child might not be able to play the same way as their peers, but it’s crucial to let them move to the best of their ability. If they require support in walking for some time, help them move their limbs as much as possible, and play sports where possible. Help them to use their muscles in different ways by teaching them some exercises. Staying active will help your child strengthen their muscles and decrease muscle spasms. 

Maintain a Positive Outlook

Since your child with CP will be unable to perform routine work like their siblings, they’ll often get demotivated. But as a parent, don’t let them feel this way and maintain a positive outlook. 

You must help them with things that they can do independently or with a bit of your help. If you keep a positive mindset, your child will also stay positive at all times. However, suppose your child keeps focusing on their limitations and remains depressed. In that case, it’s good to seek mental healthcare early to get them back to positivity.

Talk to Other Parents

You’ll probably meet many parents in the doctor’s clinic or the therapist’s waiting lounge. Most of them will be willing to share their experience or even lend a listening ear. 

However, there are various support groups for parents having a child with cerebral palsy. Participating in them can help you build strong friendships with other parents struggling with similar problems. Other parents may suggest new doctors, give advice, or give honest reviews about medications or braces. Not only that, but your children might also make some new friends. 

Caring for your child with cerebral palsy is a major responsibility, and it’s natural for you as a parent to get caught up with that. However, it’s essential to take good care of your well-being. If you stay healthy, you’ll be able to keep your child healthy. Talk to other parents by connecting with them through online support groups or meet them in person to stay encouraged and hopeful. 

Keep your child moving, help them play sports, feed them healthy food, and make them feel strong at all times. As a parent, you must get involved in every aspect of your child’s treatment to stay informed on what’s best for your child’s overall health. What your thoughts and/or experiences on the subject of cerebral palsy? Let us know in the comments below, and join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram!

Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer Dawson is an experienced freelance writer who specializes in food and nutrition. Working in fitness marketing previously gave her a good feel for the industry and since going freelance she has been able to explore her preferred topic areas such as diet types, nutrition and food. Outside of work, Jen enjoys traveling, swimming and spending time with her young family.

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