Why the Risks of Cerebral Palsy Are Higher in Twins

Pregnancy always comes with a certain amount of risk. Fortunately, since delivering a baby is a part of the medical profession that goes back to the beginning of our species, doctors have seen everything when it comes to childbirth. As a result, medical technology has continuously evolved to make pregnancy safer. However, dangers still occur, and when giving birth to twins, many of those dangers are doubled.

Giving birth to twins increases risks across the board. Cerebral palsy is just one of a plethora of things that can go wrong. At the same time, though, cerebral palsy is often one of the most easily avoided possible consequences and often comes down to the competence of the medical staff assisting in the birth.

How Risk Is Increased

One of the main reasons that giving birth to twins has the potential to lead to so many unwanted complications is the fact that twins are often born prematurely. Babies being born before they have fully developed means that they are forced to attempt to adjust to the outside world before they have all the tools they would ideally have when leaving the womb. They are more delicate than babies that reach full term and more vulnerable to a birth injury.

Another risk factor for twins when it comes to the potential of developing cerebral palsy is that even those who do reach full term are often underweight. There is also increased danger when one of the twins dies in the womb. The risk of a twin being born with cerebral palsy is over five times higher than the risk of a single-birth baby being born with the condition.

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a group of movement disorders that are caused by brain damage. Cerebral palsy is a developmental disorder that affects a baby at some point between while still in the womb and the first couple of years of a child’s life. There is currently no cure for cerebral palsy, and the condition will continue to affect a child for their entire life.

Early detection of cerebral palsy is vital. Despite there being no cure for the disorder, there are many treatments to minimize the impact on your child as much as possible. Disabling effects cannot be reversed, but avoiding advancement is often possible.

Cerebral palsy ranges from a minor condition involving poor functioning of a single limb to severe cases involving full-body mobility issues as well as cognitive issues that affect upper-level brain functions.

There are four types of cerebral palsy:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy
  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy
  • Mixed cerebral palsy

Spastic Cerebral Palsy

Spastic cerebral palsy is by far the most common type of the disorder, with about 80% of cases falling into this category. Spastic CP involves stiff muscles and awkward body movements caused by increased muscle tone. 

Spastic CP can be broken down further into these subcategories:

  • Spastic diplegia/diparesis – primarily affects the legs. The upper body is only mildly affected or is fully functioning
  • Spastic hemiplegia – impacts one side of the body and typically has more of an effect on the arm than the leg
  • Spastic quadriplegia – Affects all four limbs as well as the body and the face. Other complications can include intellectual disabilities, seizures, difficulty speaking, hearing problems, and partial or full blindness

Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy

Dyskinetic cerebral palsy affects a person’s ability to control limb movement. People with dyskinetic CP often have difficulty sitting and walking. In some people, the face and tongue are also impacted, resulting in difficulties with talking, swallowing, and facial expressions. Dyskinetic CP involves muscle tone that varies between too tight and too loose and can switch between the two multiple times within the same day.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

Ataxic cerebral palsy is a more mild form of the disorder. Ataxic CP affects balance and coordination. Those affected might have difficulty walking or performing tasks that require precision or quick movements.

Mixed Cerebral Palsy

Mixed cerebral palsy is a combination of multiple types of CP.

Talk to an Attorney

Those who have had a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy might want to consider bringing legal action against the hospital where they gave birth or the doctor that delivered their children. However, before filing your claim, get informed about your child’s diagnosis. An independent medical professional might be able to help you to determine whether your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by medical malpractice or another condition.

What Next?

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