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cerebral palsy
gastroschisis
neural tube defects


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CEREBRAL PALSY LINKED TO INFECTIONS BEFORE BIRTH

In cerebral palsywhich affects 1 to 2 per 1000 childrenthe brain does not properly control muscles and movement. The causes of brain damage in cerebral palsy are mostly unknown and may be prenatal in origin. Very low birthweight is one risk factor, but about 60% of children with cerebral palsy had normal weight at birthurinary/reproductive tract infections may account for up to 12% of cerebral palsy in this group.

Infections of the uterus and/or urinary tract were diagnosed or suspected in about 3% of women giving birth. These greatly increased the risk for cerebral palsy in normal birthweight infants. Our findings indicated children were 9 times as likely to develop cerebral palsy if their mothers had:

bullet Chorioamnionitis, an infection of the uterus
bullet Bladder or kidney infection
bullet Sepsis, a generalized infection of the bloodstream
bullet Fever of more than 100.4°F or 38°C during labor
bullet Foul-smelling amniotic fluid
bullet Inflammation of the placenta/umbilical cord.

In most cases of infection, the amniotic membrane ruptured less than 24 hours before delivery. Almost all children with cerebral palsy born to mothers with infection had medical problems as newborns. There was not enough information to determine whether antibiotic treatment or C-section delivery altered the risk of cerebral palsy in children whose mothers had signs of infection. We didn't look at infections during other points in pregnancy or study other types of illness, such as sore throats, pneumonia or viral infections.

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FEVER RAISES RISK FOR NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS

bullet Having either a fever or an illness with fever doubled the risk for neural tube defects.
bullet Other reported illnesses were either not associated with increases or were too infrequent to adequately estimate risk.

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NO HIGHER RISK FOR GASTROSCHISIS

Interrupted blood supply to the developing abdominal wall is thought to cause gastroschisis, a life-threatening condition where the intestines protrude from a hole near the umbilical cord.

bullet Various medications were found to increase risk; however this was not due
to the mothers' reasons for taking the drugs.
 
bullet Neither fever nor illnessincluding chronic conditions such as
diabeteswere linked to gastroschisis.

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