The epidemiology of cerebral palsy in term infants

Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev. 2002;8(3):146-50. doi: 10.1002/mrdd.10037.


Half of cerebral palsy (CP) arises in infants of normal birthweight; yet, many fewer studies seek to identify risk factors for CP in term and near-term infants than in those born very prematurely. There has been no net decrease in the prevalence of CP in term and near-term infants over recent decades. Potentially asphyxiating birth complications account for a small minority of CP cases. Recent studies suggest that disorders of coagulation and intrauterine exposure to infection or inflammation are associated with risk of CP, and that both can be accompanied by signs of neonatal encephalopathy, the best available predictor of CP in term neonates. Therapeutic interventions directed at preventing interruption of oxygen supply have not been shown to reduce the occurrence of CP. There have not yet been studies examining whether medical interventions directed at infection or coagulation disorder can reduce the frequency of CP.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / etiology
  • Chorioamnionitis / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Diseases in Twins
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / epidemiology
  • Infant, Premature
  • North America / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries / epidemiology