All about seizures in a newborn baby

The appearance of seizures in children is not a rare phenomenon. The causes of their occurrence are many, but most often they are infectious diseases or trauma received during childbirth.

As a rule, such a response to stimuli occurs in premature infants. Such reactions are due to the specifics of the development of the nervous system at an early age and do not appear in older kids or adults.

The nervous system of infants is hypersensitive to irritants from the outside and their own physiological abnormalities, this leads to the fact that the muscles twitch spontaneously. Seizures in newborns can be confused with muscle tremors, tremors.

Legs and handles can move involuntarily at this age. In some cases, it is impossible to detect seizures in newborns and find out the causes of their appearance even with the help of an electroencephalogram.

Seizures and their varieties

Muscle cramps in a baby have a different nature. Therefore, several types are distinguished.

Any muscles of the body can twitch involuntarily, convulsions of the legs, arms or face are observed.

  1. If the child’s eyelids tremble, the facial muscles responsible for facial expressions, and this lasts long enough, then such cramps are called small. They indicate the presence of deviations in the development of the central nervous system of the infant;
  2. Premature babies often have neonatal spasms of a tonic nature. They are characterized by tension throughout the body. The kid shrinks and throws back his head. Neonatal spasms may be accompanied by short-term respiratory arrest and act hypoxically on the brain;
  3. Contraction of any particular muscle group causes clonic convulsions;
  4. In older babies, cramps can be myoclonic. They, in turn, are divided into three groups. If muscle cramps affect one group, such cramps are focal. When localized in different parts of the body, convulsions will be multi-focal and generalized if contractions occur in the entire body at a time;
  5. Febrile seizures. The most famous, arising at body temperature above normal.

Strangely enough, in newborns, muscles often twitch spontaneously when they sleep. In a dream, this is completely natural and does not require medical intervention at normal body temperature and the absence of other disturbing symptoms. Therefore, do not disturb a sleepy baby. These are not febrile convulsions, as the nervous system responds to the development of brain functions.

Causes of muscle contractions

The type of seizures that bother the baby depends on the causes that provoke them. It can be:

  1. congenital pathologies affecting brain activity;
  2. disturbances in metabolic processes or blood circulation;
  3. birth injuries;
  4. infectious diseases.

More often than others, the causes of convulsive syndrome are injuries inflicted to the baby during the birth or brain pathologies.

Central nervous system problems

Brain failure, vascular pathology or birth injury cause malfunctioning of the central nervous system. The latter usually lead to cerebral hemorrhage or edema.

Some babies from birth suffer from intracranial pressure, which interferes with normal life and causes muscle cramps in the baby. Others are born with brain pathologies: hydrocephalus, porencephaly, microcyphaly, and others.

Problems in children after birth sometimes arise as a result of intrauterine asphyxiation. The same effect is produced by fetal hypoxia.

Exchange failures

A small body needs good nutrition for growth and strength. Cramps can occur due to a lack of elements such as calcium, vitamin B6, magnesium, and some amino acids. This situation does not mean that the mother is prone to starvation and she needs to change the diet. Your child may have poor kidney, thyroid, or adrenal gland function.

The most common metabolic disorders:

  • hypokalemia – calcium is not found in the blood in sufficient quantities;
  • hypoglycemia – lowering blood glucose levels;
  • hypomagnesemia – magnesium is present in the blood in too low a concentration, but this is rare;
  • water intoxication – a condition in which the body’s cells retain water, which significantly reduces the sodium content and leads to a violation of the water-salt balance;
  • excess sodium also does not bode well and also causes seizures;
  • changes in the metabolism of amino acids (proline, tyrosine, glycine, valine, etc.);
  • lack of vitamin B6.
External stimuli

A common reason that cramps occur in newborns is infectious diseases and inappropriate care of the baby. Inflammatory processes provoked by viruses are usually accompanied by fever and cause febrile seizures. A small organism is not yet able to withstand all pathogenic bacteria. muscle cramps in this case are provoked:

  1. encephalitis;
  2. rubella or cytomegalovirus;
  3. taking certain antibiotics and steroid hormones;
  4. tetanus
  5. toxoplasmosis or listeriosis;
  6. purulent menningitis;
  7. at a body temperature above 38 degrees;
  8. overheating of the child due to excessive wrapping.

Muscle cramps in infants, including febrile cramps provoked by external factors, cause rhythmic contraction of the extremities, rolling of the eyes and, in some cases, short-term respiratory arrest, which causes oxygen starvation of the brain.

Signs of muscle cramps

Convulsions, as a rule, are not difficult to determine. The main thing is to respond to them correctly and provide the child with the necessary assistance. The following symptoms accompany muscle contraction:

  • movement of the chin, as if the baby was chewing something;
  • chin trembling;
  • rhythmic twitching of the muscles of the limbs;
  • heart rhythm disturbance;
  • the eyelids twitch;
  • intermittent breathing, sometimes to a complete stop;
  • rolling eyes
  • baby hiccups, yawns, shivering facial muscles

Before the onset of seizures, vomiting sometimes appears, the child becomes restless and can scream sharply.

How to relieve a baby from cramps?

Seizures in newborns often appear, but it is impossible to leave them without attention and medical control in any case, even febrile seizures. In most cases, the appearance of involuntary convulsions in a newborn indicates the presence of serious health problems. For round-the-clock monitoring, babies are monitored and receive the necessary specialized care in a hospital setting.

Initially, doctors conduct an examination of a small patient in order to recognize why convulsions and diagnoses appeared. Without this, it is simply impossible to choose the necessary medication for muscle cramps in newborns. If the muscle group twitches so much that they cause respiratory arrest, the hospital will urgently perform artificial ventilation of the lungs.

Drug therapy for the removal of convulsive tremors includes drugs that restore metabolic processes, use magnesia, calcium gluconate or glucose. Phenobarbital and phenytoin related to barbiturates are also used for treatment.

It is necessary to remove motor excitability and calm the nervous system. This is done through sedatives, such as seduxen or lorazepam.

Regardless of the intensity and duration of the convulsive syndrome in the infant, it is necessary to consult a specialist. With mild cramps, you can postpone the visit to the doctor until the next day. Strong and prolonged cramps – an occasion to turn to emergency help.


Before the arrival of the medical team, you need to help the baby yourself. What to do?

It is necessary to remove the diapers and clothes so that the newborn baby gets more air, especially at temperatures above 38 degrees. In no case should you try to stir the baby up or drink it with any medicines. In order to know what convulsive syndrome looks like, study the following video.

Recovery process

If the baby was in severe convulsive seizures, one inpatient treatment will not be enough. During the year you will have to visit a neurologist to monitor. During the recovery period, they recommend:

  • medical gymnastics;
  • massage;
  • strict observance of the daily routine;
  • creating a relaxed atmosphere in the family.

Identifying the cause of seizures in infancy does not always guarantee complete recovery and the absence of problems in the future. Early age is a serious obstacle to the rapid and correct diagnosis of the disease. And the fact that they often cause cramps in brain pathology leads to death. Almost a third of newborns in the first days of life with such diagnoses, doctors do not have time or simply can not save. Therefore, at the first sign – this is a signal to go to the doctor. Even after treatment, neurological abnormalities may not completely go away and give complications that remain for life.

Preventative measures

Every woman understands that you need to start monitoring the health of your baby during pregnancy. Even the slightest ailments in this period can lead to serious consequences. You can avoid them by observing some rules:

  • during pregnancy planning, start taking folic acid;
  • being in an interesting position is to protect yourself as much as possible from any viruses and infectious diseases;
  • take only those medications prescribed by the doctor;
  • Consult your neurologist with your baby.

Why is it impossible to leave twitching muscles without medical intervention? Procrastination in this case threatens with a manifestation of mental deviations, a lag in development and even leads to death. Therefore, it will not be superfluous to show a neurologist even an apparently healthy baby. After all, maintaining his health is task No. 1, and mother can understand that the baby has something wrong after a few days, weeks or even months from the moment of its development and valuable time will be lost.

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