Birth injuries or doctor mistakes occurring during pregnancy or the labor and delivery process may result in the development of serious, lasting health conditions such as cerebral palsy. Knowing how to spot the early signs of this common movement disorder may help parents obtain an early diagnosis and help them get their children the medical treatment and care they need.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, children may begin experiencing signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy in the first few months of life. Babies under six-months-old with cerebral palsy may feel stiff or floppy. In some cases, their legs may also stiffen and scissor or cross or their heads may lag when they are picked up.

Babies with cerebral palsy may have abnormally increased or decreased muscle tone. Some warning signs that infants over six-months-old may have cerebral palsy include the following:

  • Unable to bring hands together
  • Does not roll over on either side
  • Struggles to bring hands to mouth

Some babies with cerebral palsy may also favor one side of the body, only reaching out with one hand. They may keep their other fists balled up while reaching.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a potential warning sign that babies over 10-months-old may have cerebral palsy is if they are not yet crawling on all fours. Instead, children with cerebral palsy drag one leg and hand while they push off with the others, bounce on their knees or slide around on their behinds. Dragging one hand and leg while pushing off with the other hand and leg or otherwise crawling in a lopsided manner may also signal that a child has developed cerebral palsy.