Why Do Newborns Have Seizures

A Fetus Moves A Lot And Can Feel Like Theyre Having A Seizure Twitching Or Shaking In The Womb

Why does the premature baby have seizures?

Its no doubt that your baby will move in sporadic and random ways while they grow in your womb. So if youre reading this, you must be wondering why your fetus moves this way at all.

Mothers start to feel their fetus move anytime between 16-25 weeks, the sensations of quickening can cause many women to have questions about what exactly theyre feeling.

It can be unsettling to feel like your fetus is having a seizure or moves in extremely twitchy patterns. Its understandable to want to know whats going on inside you. You arent at all used to these random sensations coming from your womb.

So, if youve ever been pregnant before or are pregnant now, it makes complete sense why the movements of a baby inside your body could be concerning or questionable.

Thankfully, you arent the only one who has been through this before, there is even scientific research that has been done on fetal movements.

Lets go over whats normal and what is not normal when it comes to fetal movement.

Signs And Symptoms Of Infant Seizures

What makes identifying infant seizures sometimes difficult is distinguishing behavioral signs. Some symptoms of infant seizures are similar to normal behaviors. Behaviors like chewing motions and bicycling movements also occur in healthy newborns.

Testing is essential to confirm the diagnosis of a seizure disorder. Newborn seizures can be very difficult to diagnose because the seizure event itself may be short and subtle, or can be easily attributed to the normal movements and behaviors of healthy babies.

The four different types of infant seizures, and the signs and symptoms associated, differ with each type. Consider the following symptom breakdown:

When Your Fetus Feels Like Theyre Having A Seizure Try To Remember That Movement Is A Good Sign

Every time you question whether your baby is okay or not, try and remember that any movement coming from your baby is a good sign. All those shakes, twitches, and quivers are more than likely a sign of good health than a reason to be concerned.

That said, there is an extremely rare condition that causes fetal seizures, it stems from a congenital anomaly. Aside from your baby having a congenital anomaly, a fetus generally cannot have a seizure.

If your fetus is at risk for seizures your obstetrician will mention this to you during a prenatal checkup.

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Are Febrile Seizures Related To Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a medical condition where one can experience repeated seizures without any triggers . These seizures happen without fever. This is the big difference between epilepsy and febrile seizures when a child has febrile seizures, theres a fever. Even if your child had recurrent febrile seizures, this doesnt mean that the child has epilepsy.

Your Uterus Might Be Irritated And Cause Your Baby To Move More

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

Having an irritable uterus feels similar to having Braxton hicks contractions except you will experience contractions more often. The contractions that happen from an irritable uterus are sometimes more painful than Braxton hick contractions are.

A lot of women mistake an irritated uterus for real labor and ask to be seen by their health care provider. The frequent bouts of contractions oftentimes cause your baby to kick and move more rapidly as well.

Your fetus will feel the extra contractions and move along with the contractions, on the outside wall of this movement will feel almost like your baby is having a seizure.

The movements from your baby and the false contractions of an irritated uterus together have been confused by many mothers sometimes an irritated uterus will send mothers to the birthing center questioning if their baby is okay.

If you think this might be the case for you, its always best to have your contractions monitored at the birthing center to see if your contractions need to be stopped.

Sometimes if your uterus is irritated it can develop into early labor in the case of early labor prior to 37 weeks you will need to attempt to have your labor stopped.

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What Do I Do If My Child Has A Febrile Seizure

If youre child has a febrile seizure there are several things you should do. During a febrile seizure, try to:

  • Stay calm.
  • Protect your child from injury.
  • Do not attempt to restrain or hold the child down during the seizure.
  • Turn your child onto his or her side if vomiting occurs.
  • Do not put anything in your childs mouth.
  • Loosen clothing.
  • Support your childs head with a pillow or soft object.
  • Try to note how long the seizure lasts, what types of movements are happening and which parts of the childs body its affecting.
  • If the seizure continues for greater than two minutes, call 911.

After the seizure ends, your child will be disoriented for a few minutes while the brain rests and recharges. This is normal.

Other Signs Of Birth Injury

Seizures after birth are one sign that a birth injury may have occurred, but they are not the only sign. The following signs may also be cause for concern and warrant further investigation:

  • The baby is pale or blue in color after delivery
  • The baby has trouble breathing after delivery
  • The babys heart rate is abnormal around the time of birth
  • The baby requires resuscitation to help with breathing or heart rate
  • The baby has a low Apgar score at one minute and/or at five minutes after birth
  • The baby has an umbilical cord blood gas reading that is abnormal
  • The baby is sluggish or lethargic
  • The baby has difficulty with or no interest in feeding
  • The baby has odd movements in the face, arms, or legs
  • The baby favors one side of the body

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Signs Of A Febrile Seizure

A febrile seizure usually lasts for less than 5 minutes. Your child will:

  • become stiff and their arms and legs may begin to twitch
  • lose consciousness and may wet or soil themselves

They may also be sick and foam at the mouth, and their eyes may roll back.

After the seizure, your child may be sleepy for up to an hour. A straightforward febrile seizure like this will only happen once during your child’s illness.

Occasionally, febrile seizures can last longer than 15 minutes and symptoms may only affect one area of your child’s body.

These are known as complex febrile seizures. These seizures sometimes happen again within 24 hours or during the period in which your child is ill.

Where Can I Get More Information


Information about NINDS research on febrile seizures and other neurological disorders is available from the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network at:

Office of Neuroscience Communications and EngagementNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892

NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

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What Does ‘benign Familial Neonatal Convulsions’ Mean

Newborns with a rare genetic disorder, benign familial neonatal convulsions, begin having frequent brief seizures in the first few days of life. The disorder usually is inherited by an autosomal dominant gene . It may also result from a spontaneous mutation in the child’s DNA. The seizures usually stop by 6 to 9 months of age.

What You Eat Affects The Way Your Baby Moves

If youre a first-time mom it might not be very obvious that what you eat affects the way your baby moves.

If you drink coffee you can expect that your baby will be quite a bit more active, the caffeine in coffee tends to make babies move in a more rapid way.

Cold drinks are another reason that your baby might move in a more twitchy manner than what youre used to feeling coming from your baby.

Pay attention to what you eat or drink right before your baby has a period of high activity.

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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 Seizures In Pre

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

Babies born prematurely are highly vulnerable to brain injury and susceptible to seizures in the first weeks of life.

The most common causes of seizures in pre-term babies are brain haemorrhages and infections, although the cause is not known for all babies. Babies with a low birth weight seem to be especially at risk of seizures.

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How Common Are Febrile Seizures

Children at highest risk for recurrence are those who have:

  • Young age. Children who have their first febrile seizure when they are younger than 18 months are at an increased risk of having another one.
  • Family history. Children whose family members had febrile seizures are more likely to have more than one seizure.
  • First sign of illness. Children who have febrile seizures before exhibiting other symptoms of an illness, are at greater risk of having multiple seizures.
  • Low temperature. Children are more likely to have another febrile seizure if the first one was accompanied by a relatively low temperature.

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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Babies Move Rapidly When They Need To Move Their Umbilical Cord Off Of Them

Another theory amongst the parenting community is that when a baby moves quickly all of a sudden, its probably because they are trying to move their umbilical cord off of their foot causing a bout of rapid movement.

Babies are sensitive to react when they feel any type of sensation in the womb, so when your baby starts kicking more all of a sudden, it could mean that they just felt their umbilical cord and are trying to move it away.

Sometimes the umbilical cord will actually wrap around their feet or arm, causing them to kick and punch in a flurry to push it off.

What you will feel on the inside or the outside of your womb will be a bunch of twitchy movements, this might be concerning to you at the moment since youll have no idea why they are moving so quickly all at once.

Etiology Of Neonatal Seizure Disorders

Baby with seizures

The abnormal central nervous system electrical discharge may be caused by a

  • Primary intracranial process

  • Systemic problem

Seizures resulting from an intracranial process usually cannot be differentiated from seizures resulting from a systemic problem by their clinical features .

Neonatal seizures may be familial some have genetic causes. Benign familial neonatal convulsions is a potassium channelopathy inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. Early infantile epileptic encephalopathy is a rare disorder associated with a variety of mutations.

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What Are The Symptoms Of A Febrile Seizure

There are several different symptoms of a febrile seizure, however, not every child will experience all of these symptoms. One child might only have a few of these symptoms, while another child may have many of the symptoms on the list.

Possible symptoms of a febrile seizure can include:

  • A fever thats high or a rapid rise in body temperature.
  • Loss of consciousness or fainting like episode that lasts 30 seconds to five minutes.
  • General muscle contraction and rigidity that usually lasts 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Violent rhythmic muscle contractions and relaxations that commonly lasts for one to two minutes.
  • Biting of the cheek or tongue.
  • Clenching of the teeth or jaw.
  • Rolling of the eyes back in the head or persistent eye deviation to one side.
  • Losing control of urine or stool.
  • Absence of breathing or difficulty breathing during a seizure. The skin may also be a blue color. After the seizure ends, the child might take deep, spontaneous breaths.

When A Fetus Stretches They Seem To Move Pretty Quickly

Your fetus is just going to keep getting bigger as they grow, so once your baby reaches a certain size, when they stretch it can start to feel like a ton of twitchy movements all at once.

This rapid spew of movement when your baby is stretching is because of all their sudden kicks, punches, and rolls that happen along with their stretching.

In my recent pregnancy, my baby boy would literally tickle me from the inside. When hed stretch out, all of his kicks, punches, and rolls felt so strong it tickled me as he got bigger.

Anytime he would stretch I wondered if he was okay or not. When your baby stretches out it can feel intensely sporadic with random twitchy movement occurring all at once, this kind of movement can resemble a seizure causing concern for you.

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

Few things can be more frightening to new parents than the idea of their children being in any kind of danger. The thought of a baby suffering a seizure, for example, is pretty scary for any parent. How do you cope with feeling helpless when your child appears to be in danger? Especially when you donât know why babies have seizures. Unfortunately, some babies do have seizures if their brain starts sending out too many electrical charges at the same time. The exact cause and reaction, however, may vary from child to child. Although anyone could have a seizure under the right circumstances, newborn seizures are scary for parents in particular because they represent an unknown danger to their child.

But this does not mean you should embark down the dangerous search engine hole just yet. The Epilepsy Foundation notes that most infants who experience seizures still have an, excellent chance at developing normally. But, youâre a parent, and you canât help but fear the unknown when it comes to your children. The best way to fight that fear is with information. So here is a brief introduction to the causes of seizures, ways to identify them, and what constitutes a cause for concern. And of course, if youâre concerned about your babyâs health for any reason, donât hesitate to see your healthcare provider for an expert opinion.

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