What Causes A Newborn To Have Seizures

Diagnosing Epilepsy In New

Neonatal Seizures

If its suspected that your baby might have epilepsy, its important they are referred to a specialist. This should be a doctor who has specialist training in diagnosing and treating epilepsy in this age group. The specialist will ask whether:

  • There are any changes in your babys behaviour
  • All the seizures look the same, and last the same length of time
  • The seizures happen while the baby is awake or asleep, or both
  • The seizures are caused by changes in the babys posture, or when they are doing different things
  • The seizures interfere with, or stop, the babys activities, such as feeding
  • You can stop the seizures after they have started

You could help the specialist by recording any behaviour changes on your mobile phone. The specialist may arrange for some, or all of, the following tests:

  • Blood and urine tests. These are to check the babys general health, and to look for any medical conditions that might be causing their seizures. They can also be used to find out if the seizures are not caused by epilepsy, but another medical condition. An example would be low blood sugar or low calcium levels
  • MRI scan

Epilepsy Action has more information about diagnosing epilepsy

Will My Doctor Be Able To Know For Sure If My Child Is Having Seizures

If you suspect that your baby is having seizures, the pediatrician will typically refer you to a pediatric neurologist. Your babys pediatric neurologist may order and perform a number of tests to narrow down the type of seizures and their causes. The following tests can help diagnose infant seizures :

  • An EEG to look for abnormal activity in the brain.
  • An MRI of the head to look for structural abnormalities in the brain.
  • Chromosomal studies to look for genetic disorders.
  • A spinal tap to look for infection, chemical disorders, or metabolic disorders.
  • Blood or urine tests to look for metabolic issues or chemical disorders.

What Causes Babies To Have Seizures

Overall, 3 out of every 1,000 babies experience newborn seizures, many of which cause debilitating injuries. Of this number, up to 1.4% of term infants and 20% of premature babies will experience seizures.

The abnormal electrical discharges that result in seizures can be caused by various issues, including:

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Diagnosing A Seizure In A Child

Diagnosing a seizure can be tricky. Seizures are over so quickly that your doctor probably will never see your child having one. The first thing a doctor needs to do is rule out other conditions, such as nonepileptic seizures. These may resemble seizures, but are often caused by other factors such as drops in blood sugar or pressure, changes in heart rhythm, or emotional stress.

Your description of the seizure is important to help your doctor with the diagnosis. You should also consider bringing the entire family into the doctor’s office. The siblings of children with epilepsy, even very young kids, may notice things about the seizures that parents may not. Also, you may want to keep a video camera handy so that you can tape your child during a seizure. This may sound like an insensitive suggestion, but a video can help the doctor enormously in making an accurate diagnosis.

Some kinds of seizures, such as absence seizures, are especially difficult to catch because they may be mistaken for daydreaming.

“Nobody misses a grand mal seizure,” says William R. Turk, MD, chief of the Neurology Division at the Nemours Children’s Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. “You can’t help but notice when a person falls to the ground, shakes, and sleeps for three hours.” But absence or staring seizures may go unnoticed for years.

Common Neonatal Seizure Causes

Why Do Babies Have Seizures? The More You Know, The Better You Can React

The most common cause of neonatal seizures is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy . HIE is a type of birth injury in newborns where oxygen deprivation and limited blood flow cause brain damage. If the baby is not given therapeutic hypothermia treatment immediately after the diagnosis, their brain damage could be permanent and cause cognitive disabilities. According to the HIE Help Center, between 2 and 9 of every 1,000 live births are cases of HIE, which comes out to thousands of babies affected each year.

Since HIE should be treated right away before permanent damage can form, its important for parents to be vigilant of any warning signs. Here are some symptoms your baby might show if they have HIE:

  • Seizures
  • Low muscle tone described as floppy
  • Lower cognitive abilities
  • Apgar score less than 3

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Symptoms Of Subtle Seizures

Subtle seizures are more common among full-term babies. Symptoms of subtle seizures include:

  • Random or roving eye movements, eyelid blinking or fluttering, eyes rolling up, eye opening, staring
  • Sucking, smacking, chewing and protruding tongue
  • Unusual bicycling or pedalling movements of the legs
  • Thrashing or struggling movements
  • Long pauses in breathing

What Should I Do If My Child Has A Seizure

If your child has a seizure, you should stay calm and:

  • gently protect their body and head
  • if theyre in water, keep their face out of the water and call for an ambulance
  • time the seizure
  • dont put anything in their mouth
  • after any convulsion ends, roll them on their side
  • lay them on their side if there is fluid in their mouth
  • make sure they are breathing normally afterwards

You should call an ambulance if:

  • your childs seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, or they have more than one seizure
  • they are still unconscious or have trouble breathing after the seizure
  • quicky have another seizure, or they have multiple seizures
  • they had a seizure with food or liquid in their mouth
  • theyre unconscious or not breathing normally
  • its their first seizure
  • the seizure happened in the bath or a pool
  • theyre unconscious for more than 5 minutes afterwards, or not breathing normally
  • your child also has an injury
  • your child has diabetes
  • you are going to give them medication to stop the seizure
  • youre unsure whether they need help

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What Causes Seizures In New

  • Structural causes – Being born on time but having a lack of oxygen to the brain. This is called perinatal hypoxia and can cause an injury to the brain called hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy Or being born with some damage to their brain. This is called cerebral dysplasia or dysgenesis. Cerebral means relating to the brain. Dysplasia or dysgenesis means unusual development
  • Metabolic causes – Having low levels of glucose, calcium or magnesium in the blood
  • Infectious causes – Having an infection such as meningitis or encephalitis
  • Genetic causes – Inheriting a medical condition, such as self-limiting familial infantile seizures, or having a disorder such as
  • GLUT 1 deficiency, or a genetic disorder, such as Ohtahara syndrome.

Signs And Symptoms Of Seizures In Babies

Seizures in a Baby (Neonatal Seizures) and Birth Injury

Infant seizures can be challenging to recognize since they are short and subtle. In addition, symptoms of a seizure may vary according to the type of seizure. Most babies may have seizures when they are awake. However, some babies can have sleep seizures at night or during a daytime nap. Any type of seizure can occur during sleep and often impact the quality of sleep in babies.

Subtle seizures that are seizures without tonic or clonic movements are common in full-term babies. Symptoms of subtle seizures in infants may include :

  • Sudden eye movements such as eyes rolling up, wide opening of eyes, and staring
  • Eyelid blinking or fluttering

Symptoms of tonic seizures in infants may include:

  • Muscle stiffness or tightening
  • Turns head or eyes to one side
  • Stretch or bend one or both arms or legs

Symptoms of clonic seizures may include:

  • Rhythmic jerking movements of various muscles involving the tongue, face, legs, and arms

Symptoms of myoclonic seizures may include:

  • Quick and single jerking movements of the whole body or one arm or leg

Some symptoms of infant seizure can be similar to normal behaviors and movements. Therefore, you may seek medical care to diagnose and treat seizures in infants.

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Is It Normal For Babies To Have Eye Bags

Yes, its completely normal. There are a number of reasons why your baby may have dark circles under their eyes. We all have thinner skin under our eyes than on the rest of our faces. This means that blood vessels under the skin can make the area around the eyes look darker, as theyre closer to the surface.

What Are The Symptoms Of Infant Seizures

Because an infants brain is still developing, a seizure may look different than it does in an adult. Symptoms of seizures in infants may include the following:

  • Jerking or stiffening of an arm or leg
  • The infants body may suddenly jerk forward
  • Facial expression, heart rate and breathing may change suddenly
  • The infants responsiveness may be impaired
  • Suddenly falling down or falling over
  • Rapid eye blinking or twitching

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Tests To Confirm Infant Seizure Diagnosis

The most popular test to confirm that an individual is having a seizure is an electroencephalogram . It An EEG shows normal and abnormal brain activity and patterns. It is more difficult to interpret EEGs among newborns because their brains are still developing and becoming more defined. Generally, only a trained pediatric neurologist can accurately interpret newborn EEGs.

In addition to an EEG, doctors may recommend magnetic resonance imaging with special epilepsy protocol. They may also do lab work to test for chemical or metabolic disorders. In some cases, genetic testing and chromosomal studies are helpful.

Diagnosis Of Neonatal Seizure Disorders

Why Do Babies Have Seizures? The More You Know, The Better You Can React
  • Electroencephalography

  • Laboratory testing

  • Usually cranial imaging

Evaluation begins with a detailed family history and a physical examination.

Jitteriness must be distinguished from true seizure activity. Jitteriness is usually stimulus-induced and can be stopped by holding the extremity still in contrast, seizures occur spontaneously, and motor activity is felt even when the extremity is held still.

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Epileptic Seizures Vs Nonepileptic Seizures

Because seizures are usually the result of excessive electrical activity in the brain, they can be detected with an electroencephalogram . EEGs detect activity in the brain in the form of brain waves, which represent different brain regions working together. Electroencephalography can detect epileptic seizures while theyre occurring. Episodes with normal EEG readings are called nonepileptic seizures.

Common Causes Of Neonatal Seizures

The most common cause of neonatal seizures is hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy , which is a brain injury caused by a lack of oxygenated blood flow to the babys brain. HIE often occurs during or close to the time of labor and delivery. HIE can also cause permanent brain damage and lifelong conditions such as cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and learning disabilities .

Ischemic stroke is the second most common cause of neonatal seizure. An ischemic stroke is one caused by a clot in a blood vessel. Perinatal strokes, or strokes that occur around the time of birth, are often associated with HIE, birth trauma, and/or other birth injuries.

The third most prevalent cause of neonatal seizure is intracranial hemorrhages, or bleeding in the brain. . Brain bleeds put pressure on the nerve cells in a babys brain and can cause damage to those cells. Severe damage can lead to permanent brain injury. Seizures are a potential sign of that damage. Both HIE and traumatic birth injuries can cause brain bleeds.

Life-long complications may be a result of medical negligence. Our legal team has over 20 years of experience getting justice for children with birth injuries resulting from fetal distress. You may have a case.

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The Risks Of Seizures In Children

Although they may look painful, seizures don’t really cause pain. But they may be frightening for children and the people around them. Simple partial seizures, in which a child may have a sudden, overwhelming sense of terror, are especially frightening. One of the problems with complex partial seizures, for instance, is that people have no control of their actions. They may wind up doing inappropriate or bizarre things that upset people around them. It’s also possible for children to injure themselves during a seizure if they fall to the ground or hit other things around them. But the seizures themselves are usually not harmful.

Experts don’t fully understand the long-term effects of seizures on the brain. In the past, most scientists thought that seizures did not cause any damage to the brain, attributing brain damage in an individual to an underlying illness. Now, however, some doubts are beginning to emerge.

Solomon L. Moshe, MD, director of Clinical Neurophysiology and Child Neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, is researching the subject and remains cautious. “I don’t think it’s good to say one way or another whether seizures do long-term damage,” he says. “I think it all depends on the individual case.”

Moshe notes that the brains of children are very flexible. They are perhaps the least likely people with epilepsy to suffer any brain damage from a seizure.

What Causes Newborns To Have Seizures

Understanding Seizures in the Newborn Infant

what causes newborns to have seizures? Neonatal seizures have a variety of causes. These include: Lack of oxygen before or during birth due to placental abruption , a difficult or prolonged labor, or compression of the umbilical cord.

What is the most likely cause of seizures in a newborn? Long answer. In term babies, hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy is the most common cause of neonatal seizures, with onset typically within the first 24-48 hours of life. In preterm babies, intracranial haemorrhage is the most common cause.

What does newborn diarrhea look like formula fed? Healthy formula fed baby poop is typically a shade of yellow or brown with a pasty consistency that is peanut butter like. Formula-fed babies also pass fewer, but bigger and more odorous stools than breastfed babies.

How do I know if my baby has trapped wind? Bloating, stomach cramps, pains and burping or flatulence are common symptoms. If your baby has these, they may seem grizzly, cry or find it hard to settle. If your baby is posseting , is colicky or has reflux then burping your baby can help.

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How To Optimize Your Childs Prognosis

The best way that you can help your child and optimize their prognosis after a diagnosis of seizures or epilepsy is to follow their treatment plan closely. It is incredibly important to properly manage medications and other treatments. Some tips for optimizing your childs prognosis include:

  • Know the exact medication, dose, time, and side effects for any medications.
  • Before giving your child any other prescription or over-the-counter medications, talk to your doctor. Some seizure medications have drug interactions.
  • Help your child avoid any triggers for seizures, such as not sleeping or eating properly.
  • Make sure your child attends routine visits with their healthcare provider.

Be mindful that as your child grows, his or her situation may change. If he or she has epilepsy, there may be restrictions on certain activities, or you may need to use extra caution when doing sports, swimming, etc.

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