Go to navigation Go to content
Toll-Free: (888) 606-5297
Phone: (859) 578-4444
Schachter, Hendy & Johnson, Attorneys At Law

Cerebral Palsy can be Caused by a Maternal Infection

While a fever may usually be just an annoyance, a fever during pregnancy can be a warning sign of a serious infection. Doctors must pay special attention when treating a feverish pregnant woman to protect the unborn baby. Researchers have found that bacterial and viral infections can travel from the mother, through the placenta, and trigger brain damage that can lead to cerebral palsy.

According to prominent researchers at the Mayo Clinic, the following maternal infections (among others) can lead to cerebral palsy in an infant:


  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) – Most Americans (up to 80%) have been infected with CMV, a virus causes flu-like symptoms, which may come and go throughout their lives. Pregnant women who experience a bout of CMV risk causing birth defects, such as cerebral palsy.
  • Toxoplasmosis – A common parasite that can be caused by organisms in cat feces and in soil. Toxoplasmosis can cause flu-like symptoms in pregnant women or those with weakened immune systems, and can cause birth defects.
  • Varicella (chickenpox) – Although most Americans have a mild case of chickenpox as children, the virus can resurface later in life as painful blisters called shingles. Maternal chickenpox or shingles during pregnancy can seriously threaten the baby’s health. Chickenpox can now be prevented by a vaccine.
  • Rubella (German measles) – Also known as the “three day measles”, rubella is generally prevented by the standard measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.
  • Syphilis – This sexually transmitted bacterial infection, when untreated, can be passed on to babies during pregnancy and birth.

Many maternal infections can be prevented or treated

The good news is that most of these infections can be prevented by vaccines, or treated with antibiotics and proper medical care. However, infections must be caught and treated quickly.

Human error or a doctor’s negligence can lead to cerebral palsy. If these infections go untreated, they can cause irreversible harm to a mother and a child. If a child develops cerebral palsy after a maternal infection, the mother’s doctor could be at fault for medical negligence. If you think your child’s cerebral palsy could be traced back to a poorly treated maternal infection, contact a Kentucky birth injury lawyer at the Law Office of Schachter, Hendy & Johnson at (859) 578-4444 or (888) 606-5297 for legal advice.

Live Chat