Is Cerebral Palsy Genetic?

This post was last updated on February 7th, 2018

Cerebral palsy is a result of a brain malformation before, during or after birth. It is said to be the result of things like lack of oxygen, tobacco, or alcohol while pregnant. While those are not the only causes behind cerebral palsy, these are some of the more common ways it tends to happen. Something that can also play into this disease is genetics. Your genetics play a huge role in everything that happens with your body and cerebral palsy is no exception to this. But is cerebral palsy genetic?

Is cerebral palsy genetic?

Scientists research and experiment every day to help learn and aid in the treatment and prevention of this disease. Unfortunately, there is not a complete understanding of all aspects related to cerebral palsy yet. But they do know that Cerebral Palsy is not hereditary. Although, certain hereditary factors and genes can make a child more likely to have it. These are just small genetic influences and are not the only reason someone gets cerebral palsy. But some predisposition mixed with other environmental influences can be a serious combo. These are called “complex inheritance” or “multifactorial inheritance”, which is why my many thinks that cerebral palsy runs in the family.

Which Genes or traits should I be watching out for? 

There are many hereditary factors that can cause someone to have a greater chance to get CP. These can range from spasticity (stiffing, tightening, or spasms of the muscles), microcephaly (when the head of the baby is much smaller than the average), any sort of intellectual impairment, and even seizures. You should talk to your doctor about any birth abnormalities that run in your family.

What environmental factors can lead to cerebral palsy?

Certain things can lead to being more likely to be born with Cerebral Palsy. Environmental factors can play a large part in the advancement and severity of Cerebral Palsy cases. Environmental factors are things that happen with outside influence. They can range from things such as;premature birth, placental abruption (the separation of the placenta from the uterine lining), any growth restriction, chorioamnionitis (a bacterial infection that will cause the mother to get a fever), preeclampsia (sudden weight gain that can result in high blood pressure and fluid retention), and breaching. The problem with these issues is the lack of oxygen to the baby. Whenever the oxygen or nutrient source becomes compromised in any way, there can very serious problems for the babies health. Most doctors know all about the cerebral palsy and other threats. They will be sure to take the all necessary steps.

These genetic and environmental influences can heighten the risk of Cerebral Palsy, but they shouldn’t cause you to worry.  If there are any hereditary traits that DO worry you, talk to a specialist and make sure your child will be taken care of as soon as possible. Cerebral Palsy can be scary. The most important thing is to be well educated in it, know what to look for, and talk to a professional that will help you.