Multifetal Births (Multiples) and Infertility Treatments
Multiple births, when more than one baby is born to a mother during a single delivery, can result in infants with a higher chance of developing cerebral palsy than babies from single births. As the number of infants in a multiples birth increases, so does the risk of a child developing cerebral palsy. The death of one of the multiples results in an even greater likelihood of cerebral palsy.
Pregnancies with multiple fetuses carry a higher risk for complications such as:
- premature rupture of membranes
- umbilical cord accidents in delivery
- abnormal presentation during delivery
- cesarean sections
Multi-fetal pregnancies are also more likely to result in premature delivery. In 2006, 11% of single babies were born premature, while 61% of multiples were born prior to 37 weeks gestation. Premature birth often results in low birth weight newborns. Both are risk factors for cerebral palsy, as evident in the table below:
|Birth Weight||5.06 lbs. or 2.3 kg||3.52 lbs. or 1.6 kg||2.86 lbs. or 1.3 kg|
|Gestational age at delivery||35.3 weeks||32.2 weeks||29.9 weeks|
|% Admitted to NICU||25%||75%||100%|
|NICU stay||18 days||30 days||58 days|
|Risk of cerebral palsy compared to singletons||4x||17x||No data|
Types of Multiple (Multifetal) Pregnancies
Multiple pregnancy, clinically referred to as a multifetal pregnancy, is a deviation from the normal pregnancy of one fetus (singleton) resulting in the presence of two or more fetuses in utero.
|Description||Number of Fetus|
Need more information on diagnosis of and tests for cerebral palsy?
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The Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis Guide
Cerebral Palsy Risk Factors
There are ten common risk factors. To learn more about them, click one of the following:
- The MyChild™ Cerebral Palsy Risk Factor Checklist
- Asphyxia (Oxygen Deprivation)
- Complications of Birth
- Premature Birth
- Traumatic Brain Damage
- Multiple Births and Infertility Treatment
- Blood Type Incompatibility or Jaundice
- Parental Health and Habits
- Placenta Complications
- Intrauterine Growth Restriction
The presence of one or more risk factors does not ensure a child will develop cerebral palsy; it means chances are higher than if that risk factor was not present. Likewise, the absence of risk factors does not ensure that a child will not develop cerebral palsy. Risk factors merely identify possible cause for concern. Avoiding risk factors will help prevent a child from developing cerebral palsy; any exposure to risk factors prior to conception and during pregnancy should be discussed with a doctor in order to effectively treat and manage risk. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive; other risk factors may contribute to the development of cerebral palsy, as well.