The asymptomatic newborn and risk of cerebral palsy

Am J Dis Child. 1987 Dec;141(12):1333-5. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460120099045.


We investigated whether infants weighing over 2500 g who had experienced one or more of 14 late pregnancy or birth complications, but who were free of certain signs in the nursery period were at increased risk of cerebral palsy (CP). The signs evaluated were decreased activity after the first day of life, need for incubator care for three or more days, feeding problems, poor suck, respiratory difficulty, or neonatal seizures. More than 90% of the infants weighing over 2500 g had none of these signs. In asymptomatic infants with one or more birth complications, the rate of CP by 7 years of age was 2.3/1000; among asymptomatic infants whose births were uncomplicated, the rate of CP was 2.4/1000. The risk for CP rose with number of abnormal neonatal signs, and children with sustained neonatal abnormalities were at higher risk than those whose abnormalities were transient. Most children with CP did not derive from groups at increased risk. The full-term infant whose birth was complicated but who was free of certain abnormal signs in the newborn period was not at increased risk of CP.

MeSH terms

  • Apgar Score
  • Birth Weight
  • Cerebral Palsy / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Obstetric Labor Complications
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors