World Cerebral Palsy Day: managing pregnancy with cerebral palsy

Becoming a mother is a life-changing journey, filled with joy and challenges. For women with cerebral palsy, the path to motherhood presents unique considerations and potential obstacles. Early detection of cerebral palsy symptoms and careful management during pregnancy are crucial aspects to ensure a healthy pregnancy and acceptance of motherhood. It is important to manage cerebral palsy during pregnancy so that women can also give birth safely. Let’s learn more about cerebral palsy pregnancy during this global cerebral palsy event, 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 maintain posture. This is the most common type of motor impairment in children. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person with this condition has abnormal brain development or brain damage that impairs their ability to control their muscles.

It is possible to get pregnant if you have cerebral palsy. Image provided by: Shutterstock

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy in Early Childhood

Cerebral palsy can manifest differently during childhood and adolescence. As children grow, motor difficulties may become more apparent, affecting activities like walking, running, or even fine motor skills like writing. Adolescents may experience difficulties 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 loose)
  • Coordination difficulty
  • Asymmetrical movements

Early signs may also include difficulty feeding or speech development. Seeing a healthcare professional for evaluation and diagnosis is crucial if any of these signs are noted.

Importance of Early Detection of Cerebral Palsy

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

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

How to reconcile pregnancy and cerebral palsy?

Balancing pregnancy with cerebral palsy involves various aspects.

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* Open communication: Open communication with healthcare providers is necessary.
* Aptitude: Focus on fitness and careful medication management. Regular check-ups, personalized exercise programs and seeking advice on managing spasticity and other symptoms are essential steps. Fitness is much more important for women with disabilities or illnesses.
* Healthy lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and ensuring a supportive environment during pregnancy are essential elements of a balanced journey to motherhood.
* Avoid alcohol and tobacco consumption
* Discuss medications: Medications are frequently used by people with cerebral palsy to treat spasticity and other symptoms. It is essential to discuss all medications you take with your GP or obstetrician before you become pregnant to ensure they will not harm your unborn child or cause problems during birth.

Read also: Pregnant? Avoid These 7 Habits to Avoid Complications

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

Tips for Managing Cerebral Palsy

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

  • Consult a healthcare professional for a tailored pregnancy plan.
  • Practice safe and appropriate physical activities, such as adapted exercises or physiotherapy.
  • Prioritize rest and listen to your body’s needs.
  • Establish a support network of family and friends to help you through difficult times.
  • Discuss medication management and potential adjustments with your healthcare professional.

The last word
Embracing motherhood with cerebral palsy requires early detection, proactive healthcare management, and a strong support system. Recognizing the signs of cerebral palsy from early childhood, understanding its manifestations during childhood and adolescence and effectively balancing pregnancy are essential steps. Early detection not only benefits the child but also allows mothers to prepare mentally, emotionally and physically 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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