What Do Seizures Look Like In Newborns

Epilepsy Seizures And Seizure Disorders


Please know that the HIE Help Center is owned by a medical malpractice law firm that focuses on cases involving HIE and other birth injuries. We try to provide useful medical information to our readers, but we cannot provide treatments or medical advice. If you think your child may be having a seizure, please call 911/your countrys emergency number or your doctor.

One of the most common signs that a baby might have hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is the presence of seizures after birth. These can cause involuntary jerking motions and visible symptoms, but in some cases, the signs are very subtle. The best way to detect a baby having a seizure is using an EEG monitor to look for abnormal electrical activity in the brain. About half of newborn seizures are subtle seizures, which can be hard to see. An additional quarter of infant seizures are clonic seizures, marked by a slow rhythmic jerking or twitching of one body part. 5% of infants have tonic seizures, marked by sustained contractions, sometimes accompanied by rolling eyes and apnea. The most severe type of seizures is myoclonic, because myoclonic seizures indicate very severe brain damage. These are marked by very fast twitching or jerking, and are most often found in premature babies.

Seizures can actually worsen brain damage in cases of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.

Prevention Of Febrile Seizures

Theres no guaranteed way to prevent febrile seizures.

If your child has a fever thats making them hot and uncomfortable, you can use paracetamol or ibuprofen in recommended doses and take off your childs extra clothing.

If your child has a lot of febrile seizures, your GP might refer you to a paediatrician or neurologist to consider antiseizure medicine. Children might need to take this medicine continually for several years to prevent seizures. But this is a rare treatment.

What Do You Do If A Baby Has A Seizure

It is imperative that babies with seizures receive prompt medical care. In addition, there are certain steps parents can take during a seizure if there is no medical professional with them. These general precautions were taken from the Epilepsy Foundation website :

  • Remain with the baby until the seizure is over
  • Move hard objects out of the way
  • Place the baby on a soft surface
  • Make sure that nothing goes into the babys mouth
  • Turn the baby to their side, with their mouth pointed toward the ground. This stops saliva from blocking the airway and helps with breathing.
  • Time how long the seizure lasts

Additionally, if your baby has a history of seizures, administer anti-seizure medication as prescribed by a doctor.

Many parents want to know under which circumstances they should call 911 if their child is having a seizure. This depends on individual health circumstances, including what type of seizure they are having. If a child is having their first ever seizure, parents should always call 911. After the initial seizure, you can talk to your childs doctor about the circumstances under which you should seek emergency medical attention for possible future seizures. The doctors advice should be based on individual factors and may be different for different patients.

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What Types Of Seizures Do Infants Have

Clonic seizures the baby may have jerking or stiffening of an arm or leg that can switch from side to side.

Infantile spasms the baby may bend forward and their body, arms and legs go stiff. Or their arms and legs might be flung outwards. These seizures usually affect both sides of the body equally.

Myoclonic seizures the babys head may appear to be nodding, or their whole upper body may suddenly jerk forward. Sometimes babies legs jerk up towards their stomach, with their knees bent.

Tonic seizures the babys body will stiffen and their eyelids might flicker.

Focal seizures the baby will stop what they are doing, and they wont be aware of what is going on around them. They may stare, or move their eyes or head to one side. One side of their body might jerk, and this could change from one side to the other. The baby might go on to have a tonic-clonic seizure.

Group B Strep Infection

Healthcare 101

One in every four women have group B strep colonization without even realizing it, as most women are asymptomatic carriers. Because of that, it is important that physicians examine their pregnant patients at 37 weeks to make sure that the mother doesnt pass the bacteria on to the child.

It is also important for doctors to recognize and respond to symptoms that appear in the newborn, such as:

  • Fever

Seizures can be an extreme manifestation of these symptoms.

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What Does A Seizure Look Like

It can be difficult to tell if your child is experiencing a seizure if you’re not sure what to look for. Here’s what you should know, and what you can do.

“A seizure is one of the scariest things you’ll ever see happen to another person,” says Phillip Pearl, M.D., director of epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology at Boston Children’s Hospital. “The first question most parents ask is ‘Can my child die during a seizure?’ It’s extraordinarily unlikely.” Most injuries during seizures happen not because of the seizure itself but because of what a child may be doing at the time life jackets should be worn when swimming and helmets when riding bikes, skiing, or playing any sport with a high risk of head injury. But some seizures are more violent than others, increasing the risk of injury. If your child has epileptic seizures of any kind, you need to know the warning signs so you can keep her safe when an attack happens. Here’s a rundown of the most common types of seizures and their symptoms.

Michigan Birth Injury Lawyers With A National Presence

Newborn seizures can be an indication of serious neurological damage from a number of birth-related injuries. If your baby or child suffers from seizures that began around the time of birth, contact Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers. Our award-winning attorneys have helped dozens of children affected by seizures. Jesse Reiter, the firms president, has been focusing on birth injury cases his entire legal career, and most of Jesses cases involve helping children who have seizure disorders, cerebral palsy, and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy .

To find out if you have a case, contact our firm to speak with an experienced lawyer. We are based in Michigan, but handle cases all over the United States. Additionally, our team handles cases involving military hospitals and federally-funded clinics.

Free Case Review | Available 24/7 | No Fee Until We Win

Phone : 888-419-2229

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When Should I Call 911

Because seizures can be so dramatic, it can be difficult to know if your child is truly in danger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should consider a seizure to be an emergency situation if it meets any of the following criteria:

  • It lasts longer than five minutes without signs of slowing down.
  • Your child has trouble breathing during the seizure or afterward, appears to be in pain, or has an unusual recovery in any way.
  • Your child has a seizure soon after the first one or a cluster of nonstop seizures .
  • You can’t wake your child up after the seizure activity has stopped.
  • Your child is injured from a fall or other movement during the seizure.
  • Your child becomes aggressive.
  • Your child’s seizure happens in water.
  • Your child has any other health conditions that may make a seizure more dangerous.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

What Are Neonatal Seizures

What Does a Seizure Look Like?

Seizures occur from abnormal electrical discharges in the brain, which can be due to brain damage, malformations, or chemical imbalances . Seizures can affect normal brain functioning and consciousness. In newborns, seizures must be immediately diagnosed and properly treated in order to prevent permanent harm. In addition to being a sign of existing brain damage, seizures can also cause further brain damage.

Although seizures are often associated with involuntary jerking movements, the signs of a seizure in an infant may be difficult to recognize, and vary based on the type of seizure a baby is having. Most neonatal seizures are considered subclinical, or subtle, which means that these babies do not have any obvious signs of seizure besides those seen when doing electroencephalogram monitoring. Therefore, continuous EEG monitoring is critical for newborns at high risk of seizures.

The most common types of clinical seizures in neonates are focal-clonic, focal-tonic, certain types of myoclonic, and epileptic spasms .

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Seek Medical Advice If:

  • Your baby is having ongoing seizures.
  • You notice any deterioration in your babys condition.
  • You are at all concerned that something may be wrong with your baby.

For a medical review of your child, including concerns relating to your childs recent admission at the Childrens Hospital, please present at the QCH Emergency, your local GP, or your local hospital.

How Can I Help My Child During A Seizure

There are a few key steps to take if you think your infant is having a seizure. Parents Magazine recommends the following to keep your baby as safe as possible during a seizure :

  • Make sure your infant is protected from experiencing injuries by moving hard objects out of the way.
  • Gently roll your baby onto their side to help prevent choking.
  • Avoid trying to open the babys mouth, putting anything in their mouth, holding them, or preventing movements .

For detailed advice on when to call 911, please see these recommendations from the CDC or the Epilepsy Foundation.

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Diagnosing Epilepsy In New

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

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Prognosis For Infant Seizures

Baby with seizures

The prognosis for infant seizures largely depends on the type of seizure your child has and what caused it. If the seizure was caused by an underlying health condition or birth injury, the prognosis will also factor in the underlying condition and response to treatment. Children with epilepsy may have some challenges in life due to their condition, but appropriate treatment can vastly improve quality of life.

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How Are Seizures Diagnosed In Newborn Babies And Infants

It can be difficult to recognise seizures in babies and infants. Thats why its important that they are referred to a doctor who has had specialist training in diagnosing and treating epilepsy. The specialist will ask about:

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

Recording any behaviour changes on a mobile phone could be very useful to show the specialist. It can help with making the diagnosis.

Epilepsy Action has more information about diagnosing epilepsy

The specialist may then arrange for some, or all, of the following tests.

Why Does My Baby Get Overly Excited

Overstimulation happens when children are swamped by more experiences, sensations, noise and activity than they can cope with. For example, a newborn baby might get very unsettled after a party where theyve been cuddled by a lot of grown-ups. A preschooler might have a tantrum after a big event like a birthday party.

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What Do Seizures In Newborns Look Like

Seizures in newborns are different from seizures that occur in older children and adults. The seizures often are fragmentary because the infant’s brain is still developing and is unable to make the coordinated responses seen in a typical generalized tonic-clonic seizure.

  • The baby may have jerking or stiffening of a leg or an arm that can alternate from side to side.
  • Or the whole upper body may suddenly jerk forward. Or both legs may jerk up toward the belly with the knees bent.
  • The baby’s facial expression, breathing, and heart rate may change.
  • Impairment of responsiveness is difficult to assess in newborns. Parents may suspect that responsiveness is impaired when their voices are unable to attract the newborn’s attention.

Even experts have difficulty in recognizing seizures in newborns. Normal babies have many sudden, brief jerks, grimaces, stares, and mouth movements that might suggest epilepsy in an older child or adult. A diagnosis of epilepsy in an infant is more likely if…

  • The behavioral changes are not typical of children of the same age. Some parents videotape the suspected behavior at home for viewing by the doctor.
  • Repeated episodes are identical in their behavioral features and duration.
  • The episodes occur while the child is both awake and asleep.
  • The episodes are not brought on by changes in posture or activity, or can not be stopped by gentle manipulation of the arm or leg.

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