Cerebral palsy is caused by an abnormality or disruption in brain development, usually before a child is born. In many cases, the exact trigger of this abnormality isn't known. Factors that may lead to problems with brain development include:

  • Random mutations in genes that control brain development.
  • Maternal infections that affect the developing fetus.
  • Fetal stroke, a disruption of blood supply to the developing brain.
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain (asphyxia) related to difficult labor or delivery. This is rarely a cause.
  • Infant infections that cause inflammation in or around the brain.
  • Traumatic head injury to an infant from a motor vehicle accident or fall.
Aug. 16, 2013