Congenital Brain Injury

When people talk about brain injuries, it is usually about non-congenital brain injury that a person has suffered at a time in life due to illness or an accident. In that case there is a break in the lifeline.


However, if you have brain damage from birth, or just before or after birth, it is called congenital brain injury. There is no question of a break in the lifeline, because there is no memory from before the brain injury.


After the seventh month of pregnancy, the brain surface is greatly enlarged with grooves and windings. If a child is born before the seventh month, the immaturity of the brain may have consequences throughout life.


If an unborn or newborn child is damaged, a life-threatening situation has often preceded it. All the stress that comes with this can also have an impact on the child's brain.


The boundary between congenital and non-congenital brain injury is often difficult to indicate. We usually speak of non-congenital brain injury or Aquired Brain Injury (ABI) after six months to one year after birth. For the sake of clarity, people wil prefer to mention the age at which a brain injury occurred in a child in order to be able to estimate the consequences for the development.


Chance of Cerebral Palsy (CP) before birth

There is an increased risk of developing cerebral palsy (CP) in the child in the case of:

  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Infection in the womb (intra uterine infection)
  • Cytomegalovirus CMV (herpes virus) in the pregnant
  • Chicken-pox in the pregnant
  • Rubella in the pregnant
  • Urinary tract infection in the pregnant
  • High fever in the pregnant
  • Toxoplasmosis (infection) in the pregnant
  • Sickle cell disorders that cause the child's brain to be poorly perfused
  • Infection of the fetal membranes (chorioamnionitis) usually as a result of a long-term delivery
  • Too high fetal bilirubin level
  • Abnormal brain development due to infections in the pregnant or changes in the genes
  • Multiple pregnancy
  • Placenta abnormalities
  • Preterm birth
  • Cerebral infarction or cerebral haemorrhage before birth
  • Fetal anemia, for example due to folic acid deficiency of the pregnant woman
  • Fertility treatments can lead to low birth weight, which increases the risk of cerebral palsy
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Drug or medication use by the pregnant


Cerebral palsy is a group of permanent disorders in the development of posture and movement attributed to non-progressive brain abnormalities in the fetal or infants' phase and leading to limitation (ENCYCL-Limitation) of activity. In addition to the motor disorders, there are often disturbances of sensibility, perception - especially through the eye and ear (hearing and seeing), cognition, communication and behavior, as well as epilepsy and secondary problems of musculature and skeleton.