To identify antenatal and intrapartum factors contributing to the aetiology of cerebral palsy (CP).
A case-control study using moderate/severe cases of cerebral palsy identified from the Victorian Cerebral Palsy Register and two controls per case identified through the Victorian Perinatal Data Collection Unit.
A number of previously identified risk factors for CP were confirmed in our data. New observations were (in specific sub-groups): protective effects of mother's negative Rhesus status, cigarette smoking at the first visit and episiotomy and an increased risk of CP associated with an abnormal antenatal cardiotocograph.
Although the result of the deliberate investigation of specific aspects of the antenatal and intrapartum period identified from a pilot study, our new findings must be interpreted with caution as they were not all based on specific a priori hypotheses, although some had been examined by other investigators. We would encourage their evaluation in other data sets.