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Flu, colds not likely to lead to higher risk of cerebral palsy, study says

A recent study found that colds and flu did not appear to increase the risk of cerebral palsy in a pregnant woman's developing baby. The study was published in "Obstetrics and Gynecology."

The study did find that more serious infections in the second half of pregnancy could lead to an increased risk of cerebral palsy, according to Reuters. Other possible causes include restrictions to growth in the uterus, premature birth, family history of cerebral palsy or a birth injury.

A definitive cause is not known for the disorder, but cerebral palsy is a condition in which issues with the development of a baby's brain impede posture, balance and body movement.

The study found that certain infections in the second half of pregnancy could lead to an increased risk of cerebral palsy in an infant. These infections include chicken pox, streptococcus, staphylococcus, urinary tract infections and cytomegalovirus. An infection can cause inflammation in or around the brain of a fetus as it is developing and cause problems. Listeria has also recently been in the news as a bacteria that can harm a fetus following the listeria outbreak in contaminated cantaloupe.

The problem with the study is that it relies in part on women's memories to remember if they had an infection during pregnancy, which could be problematic because people do not always remember exactly how things were.

Source: Fox News, "Colds, Stomach Bugs Not Tied to Cerebral Palsy," Reuters, Sept. 30, 2011

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