Cerebral palsy in low-birthweight infants. II. Spastic diplegia: associations with fetal immaturity

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1988 Feb;30(1):19-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1988.tb04722.x.


Twenty children with spastic diplegia were identified by clinical assessment among a representative cohort of 1048 survivors with a birthweight of 2000g or less. Data from hospital case-records were used to investigate which perinatal conditions might differentiate infants with diplegia from other low-birthweight survivors. Even allowing for a strong association with lower gestational age, diplegic children were more likely to have suffered respiratory disease, necrotising enterocolitis and fits in the neonatal period, than children without cerebral palsy. Among preterm infants, diplegia differed from hemiplegia mainly in a lack of significant association with recorded maternal characteristics and markers of intrapartum stress. Important determinants of diplegia were not identified, but the results suggest that infants born both immature and relatively immature for their gestational age have the highest risk of diplegia. Factors that influence the rate of fetal development may be implicated in the aetiology of diplegia in both preterm and fullterm infants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology
  • Cerebral Palsy / etiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • England
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / complications*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / epidemiology
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / etiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies