There are no known ways to prevent all cases of hydrocephalus. In general:
- Get regular prenatal care
- Protect yourself or your child from head injuries
- Keep your child’s vaccines up to date
Preliminary research suggests that some cases due to brain bleeding in the newborn period may be preventable. Cytomegalovirus or toxoplasmosis acquired by a mother during pregnancy may be a cause of hydrocephalus in a newborn baby. Mothers may reduce their risk of being infected with toxoplasmosis with these steps:
- Carefully cooking meat and vegetables
- Correctly cleaning contaminated knives and cutting surfaces
- Avoiding handling cat litter, or wearing gloves when cleaning the litter box.
Pet rodents (mice, rats, hamsters) often carry a virus called lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCV). LCV infection acquired from pets during pregnancy can lead to hydrocephalus. This is preventable by avoiding rodent contact.
Infection with chickenpox or mumps during or immediately after pregnancy may also lead to hydrocephalus in the baby. Both of these infections can be prevented with vaccination. Other preventable infections may also cause hydrocephalus. People who have risk factors for hydrocephalus should be carefully monitored. Immediate treatment might prevent long-term complications.