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On World Cerebral Palsy Day: Do’s and don’ts of pregnancy for women with celebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a condition that limits a person's ability to move, balance, and posture. Women with cerebral palsy may face some challenges. Here's a guide to understand pregnancy with cerebral palsy.
pregnancy with cerebral palsy
Is pregnancy with this condition possible? Image courtesy: Adobe stock
Published: 6 Oct 2023, 05:12 pm IST
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Becoming a mother is a life-altering journey filled with joy and challenges. For women with cerebral palsy, the path to motherhood presents unique considerations and potential hurdles. Early detection of cerebral palsy symptoms and careful management during pregnancy are crucial aspects of ensuring a healthy pregnancy and embracing motherhood. It is important to manage cerebral palsy during pregnancy for women to have a safe delivery as well. Let’s understand more about pregnancy with cerebral palsy this World Cerebral Palsy, observed every year on October 6.

What is cerebral palsy?

A series of conditions collectively known as cerebral palsy limit a person’s ability to move, balance, and posture. It is the most typical kind of motor impairment in children. A person with the condition experiences abnormal brain development or brain injury that impairs their capacity to control their muscles, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA.

world cerebral palsy day
It is possible to get pregnant if you have cerebral palsy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Symptoms of cerebral palsy in early childhood

Cerebral palsy can manifest differently in childhood and adolescence. As children grow, motor difficulties may become more apparent, affecting activities like walking, running, or even fine motor skills such as writing. Adolescents may face challenges with muscle control, balance and coordination, impacting their social interactions and participation in physical activities. Parents should observe the following symptoms of cerebral palsy:

  • Delayed motor development
  • Unusual muscle tone (either too stiff or too floppy)
  • Difficulty with coordination
  • Asymmetrical movements

Early signs could also include challenges in feeding or speech development. Consulting a healthcare professional for an assessment and diagnosis is crucial if any of these signs are noticed.

Importance of early detection of cerebral palsy

Early detection of cerebral palsy allows mothers to proactively plan for pregnancy. It provides them with knowledge about potential challenges and enables informed decisions regarding medical care, therapies, and lifestyle adjustments. Women with cerebral palsy experience pregnancy differently. While one individual may experience more spasms during pregnancy, another person may experience far fewer cerebral palsy symptoms. Be sure to consult your doctor if your spasms get worse.

Some cerebral palsy patients decide to start physical therapy or work with a personal trainer while they are expecting.

How to balance pregnancy with cerebral palsy?

Balancing pregnancy with cerebral palsy involves various aspects.

* Open communication: Open communication with healthcare providers is necessary.
* Fitness: Focus on physical fitness, and careful medication management. Regular check-ups, personalised exercise plans, and seeking guidance on managing spasticity and other symptoms are vital steps. Physical fitness is much more important for women who have impairments and diseases.
* Healthy lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and ensuring a supportive environment during pregnancy are essential components of a balanced journey to motherhood.
* Avoid alcohol and tobacco use
* Discuss medication: Medication is frequently used by people with cerebral palsy to treat spasticity and other symptoms. It is crucial to discuss any drugs you take with your primary healthcare physician or obstetrician before getting pregnant to make sure they won’t harm the unborn child or result in any birth problems.

Also Read: Pregnant? Avoid these 7 habits to keep complications at bay

cerebral palsy and pregnancy
Learn how to manage pregnancy if you have cerebral palsy. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Tips to manage cerebral palsy

Here are practical tips for managing physical challenges during pregnancy with cerebral palsy:

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  • Consult with a healthcare professional for a tailored pregnancy plan.
  • Engage in safe and suitable physical activities, such as adapted exercises or physical therapy.
  • Prioritise rest and listen to your body’s needs.
  • Establish a support network of family and friends to assist during challenging times.
  • Discuss medication management and potential adjustments with your healthcare provider.

The last word
Embracing motherhood with cerebral palsy necessitates early detection, proactive healthcare management, and a strong support system. Recognising signs of cerebral palsy in infancy, understanding its manifestations in childhood and adolescence, and effectively balancing pregnancy are essential steps. Early detection not only benefits the child but also equips mothers to mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare for the beautiful journey of motherhood. By managing physical challenges and seeking appropriate support, women with cerebral palsy can navigate this rewarding journey with resilience and grace.

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About the Author

Dr Aabha Bhalerao is DGO consulting gynaecologist at Ruby Hall Clinic. She has more than 20 years of experience in the field. ...Read More

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