24 July 2008

Cerebral Palsy and Pregnancy

Because Cerebral Palsy is congenital, it is not a disease, and never contagious so can not be passed on. There is no evidence to suggest that Cerebral Palsy affects fertility. Therefore, there should be no reason why women with Cerebral Palsy should not consider having children, apart from individual concerns. Some pregnant women, with CP experience temporary changes to their disability during pregnancy, such as an increase in their spasms. If carrying to full term becomes difficult, an orthopedic specialist may be worth consulting.

Ante-natal care

Whether your routine ante-natal care takes place at a hospital or doctor's surgery, to accommodate any physical needs regarding your Cerebral Palsy, you may have to check access and if the examination bed is height adjustable. A community midwife may also be able to visit you at home. If your physically impairments make examinations feel uncomfortable, discuss using a different positions which may make medical procedures easier.

During Pregnancy

Every woman’s experience of pregnancy is different. There are so many changes going on inside the body while carrying a baby. From morning sickness and constipation, to the stretching of ligaments, which can be painful. You may find you need to enlist a support person when pregnant, if morning sickness is severe, or tiredness occurs in late pregnancy, making normal tasks more strenuous. In late pregnancy, if there is a need to rest more and more, a recliner may seem most comfortable, rather than a bed.

Caution must given if you take drugs for Cerebral Palsy, or Epilepsy, as certain medications may effect foetal development, and should always be discussed with an obstetrician or your GP.

Preparing for the Birth

Preparing for the birth is inevitable, and will need as much detail as possible. As with the majority of births, the order of things can go into disarray. Keep an open mind, as the best laid plans may have to be abandoned due to unexpected changes. Mum, knows best, and with plenty of discussion and support, things should go smoothly. We would all like to be able to give birth naturally, but it may not always be possible. A Cesarean section can be performed for many reasons, and is an assured option of a safe delivery.

Useful Links

Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood international


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