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Keywords:

  • Antenatal care and diagnosis;
  • cerebral palsy;
  • high-risk pregnancy;
  • neonatology;
  • risk factor

Abstract

Objective. To provide an overview of current research on risk factors for cerebral palsy (CP) in children born at term and hypothesize how new findings can affect the content of the CP registers worldwide. Design. A systematic search in PubMed for original articles, published from 2000 to 2010, regarding risk factors for CP in children born at term was conducted. Methods. Full text review was made of 266 articles. Main Outcome Measures. Factors from the prenatal, perinatal and neonatal period considered as possible contributors to the causal pathway to CP in children born at term were regarded as risk factors. Results. Sixty-two articles met the criteria for an original report on risk factors for CP in children born at term. Perinatal adverse events, including stroke, were the focus of most publications, followed by genetic studies. Malformations, infections, perinatal adverse events and multiple gestation were risk factors associated with CP. The evidence regarding, for example, thrombophilic factors and non-CNS abnormalities was inconsistent. Conclusions. Information on maternal and neonatal infections, umbilical cord blood gases at birth, mode of delivery and placental status should be collected in a standardized way in CP registers. Information on social factors, such as education level, family income and area of residence, is also of importance. More research is needed to understand the risk factors of CP and specifically how they relate to causal pathways of cerebral palsy.