Normal birthweight babies exposed in utero to maternal infection are at risk for developing cerebral palsy (CP) and other symptoms of birth asphyxia, according to a California study.

Researchers investigating possible links examined 46 children, median age 4.9 years, with disabling spastic CP but no recognized prenatal brain lesions, and 378 randomly selected controls from hospitals in four California counties.

Maternal infection was defined as a clinical diagnosis of chorioamnionitis, histological diagnosis of inflammation of the placental membranes, gross or microscopic diagnosis of funisitis (inflammation of the umbilical cord), maternal temperature during labor greater than 38° C, foul-smelling amniotic fluid, renal or urinary tract infection during admission for delivery, or maternal sepsis.

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