Newborn Seizures

Newborn Seizure

When the body suffers from uncontrolled jerking movements, typically caused by electrical malfunctions in the brain due to abnormal brain chemistry or nerve damage, it’s referred to as a seizure. Sadly, newborn babies can experience seizures, and it is important that they are treated as soon as possible to prevent long-term damage.

Types of Newborn Seizures 

Seizures affect not only physical movements but normal brain activity as well. Signs and symptoms vary, depending on the seizure. In newborns, seizures fall under one of four categories: subtle, clonic, tonic, and myoclonic.

  • Subtle Seizure. These seizures are difficult to identify because the signs so subtle and last for only a few seconds. Symptoms include repetitive facial movements, fixed gaze, and pedaling motions. Subtle seizures make up 50 percent of all newborn seizures and are therefore the most common. They are particularly prominent among premature infants.
  • Clonic Seizure. These seizures are easier to identify because they involve jerking movements of the arms or legs. These movements may affect one or both sizes of the body. Clonic seizures make up about a quarter of all newborn seizures.
  • Tonic Seizure. These seizures have more apparent symptoms: the muscles flex, experiencing repetitive and constant contractions. The eyes may also roll upward, and breathing may cease temporarily. Tonic seizures make up about 5 percent of all newborn seizures.
  • Myoclonic Seizure. These seizures happen when the body endures twitching or jerking of one muscle (or one set of muscles). A myoclonic seizure often indicates that the child has suffered severe brain damage.

Causes of Newborn Seizures

Certain medical conditions or birth injuries increase the likelihood of a baby experiencing a seizure.

  • Infections. Left undetected or untreated, meningitis, encephalitis, herpes simplex, and other viruses can cause seizures in newborns. Such infections transfer to the child during delivery. It is a doctor’s responsibility to check for and treat such problems accordingly before a baby is born.
  • Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). A newborn deprived of oxygen during labor or delivery may experience seizures after birth. This lack of oxygen, or HIE, can be caused by a number of things, including cord compression and prolonged labor. It is the medical staff’s duty to prepare for these kind of complications in order to prevent harm to the baby.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI). When a baby is too large for the mother’s pelvis, or medical instruments are improperly applied during delivery, the baby can suffer a TBI and seizures.
  • Prolonged Labor. A prolonged second stage of labor (the time between full dilation of the cervix and the delivery of the baby) can cause brain injury to the child, resulting in seizures. If the second stage extends past four hours, it is considered “prolonged,” and a C-section should be performed to prevent brain damage to the infant.

When It Could Have Been Avoided

If your child suffers from a seizure disorder or experienced seizures as a newborn baby, it may be the result of a doctor’s negligence. Contact Thurswell Law for help. We have been handling birth injury cases since 1968, and we don’t charge a fee unless we win your case. Call us at 248-354-2222 to schedule your free consultation today.

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Southfield, MI 48075

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