Objective: To estimate epidemiologic risk factors for cerebral palsy.
Methods: Data were collected by linkage to state-based perinatal repositories and cerebral palsy registers and using a maternal questionnaire. The cohort included 587 individuals with cerebral palsy and 1,154 non-cerebral palsy controls.
Results: The following factors were associated with cerebral palsy: recorded maternal infection during pregnancy (41.4% patients compared with 31.3% controls; odds ratio [OR] 1.55, 95% confidence interval 1.26-1.91), small for gestational age ([birth weight less than third customized centile] 43.9% patients compared with 6.3% controls; OR 11.75, 6.25-22.08), gestational age less than 32 weeks (29.3% patients compared with 0.7% controls; OR 59.20, 28.87-121.38), multiple birth (OR 6.62, 4.00-10.95), a relative with cerebral palsy (OR 1.61, 1.12-2.32), breech position (13.7% patients compared with 6.0% controls; OR 2.48, 1.76-3.49), bleeding at any time in pregnancy (29.3% patients compared with 16.9% controls; OR 2.04, 1.61-2.58), male sex (58.8% patients compared with 45.8% controls; OR 1.68, 1.38-2.06), multiple miscarriage (7.7% patients compared with 3.5% controls; OR 2.30, 1.38-3.82), smoking (14.0% patients compared with 10.6% controls; OR 1.37, 1.02-1.85), and illicit drug use (3.3% patients compared with 1.5% controls; OR 2.22, 1.14-4.30). Factors not associated with cerebral palsy were "disappearing twin," diabetes, maternal body mass index, hypertension, alcohol consumption, anemia, maternal hypothyroidism, forceps or vacuum delivery, and maternal age.
Conclusion: Preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction, perinatal infection, and multiple birth present the largest risks for a cerebral palsy outcome. Reassuringly, upper respiratory tract and gastrointestinal infections during pregnancy were not associated with cerebral palsy.
Level of evidence: II.