Infant Seizures

Seizures are medical condition that occurs when brain cells disrupt the normal electrical signals of the brain. Because of the amount of infants who have experienced them, seizures are considered common. However, infant seizures may be an indication of a minor underlying medical problem or a more severe problem.

Brain-related Injuries

Seizures are often an expression from the brain that something is wrong. Sometimes this is known as an energy-saving response, but a seizure is as an electrical response in the brain that halts the activity of other cells.

The body’s intention for doing this is to bring all energy to the problematic part of the brain, but sometimes the seizure is an indication of an element of brain damage that already exists. Some of the brain-related injuries that react with seizures include responses to skull fracture or brain damage, external forces that the brain perceives as an attack and thus responds with an extreme response. External forces could include a vacuum extraction injury or a forceps delivery –both tools that are supposed to aid with delivery, but could instead result in injury.

The brain could also seize due to oxygen deprivation as a result of anoxia (an oxygen-free environment), hypoxia (a low-oxygen environment), Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE, which is a generalized term for the injury related to oxygen deprivation), birth asphyxia, or perinatal asphyxia (low oxygen environments before, during, or just after delivery).

Additionally, a seizure may happen when the brain is flooded with blood (brain hemorrhage) or when the brain doesn’t have enough blood (brain ischemia).

Group B Strep Infection

One in every four women have group B strep colonization without even realizing it. Because of that, it’s important that physicians examine their pregnant patients at 37 weeks to make sure that the mother doesn’t pass the bacteria onto the child.

While most symptoms involve fever, lethargy, trouble breathing, grunting sounds, pale appearance, or unstable body temperature, seizures can be an extreme manifestation of these symptoms.

Kernicterus

Kernicterus can be a very severe problem. Also technically classified as an injury related to brain damage, kernicterus starts as jaundice and develops as levels of bilirubin climb. Seizures are often a sign that the jaundice has developed to kernicterus, a sign that your child needs immediate attention before kernicterus settles in and your child suffers from a debilitating intellectual disability.

Meningitis

Also a form of the group B strep infection, meningitis is often more serious that group B strep infection, affecting the child’s spinal fluid and brain activity for what could be lifelong experiences.

Just as a seizure is a sign that jaundice has developed to kernicterus, so too a seizure could be a sign that a group B strep infection has developed to meningitis and you should consult your doctor immediately.

Preeclampsia

Related to high blood pressure in the mother during delivery, preeclampsia often characterizes difficult childbirth. However, sometimes after delivery, the children of these difficult deliveries have seizures, demonstrating the child may suffer from hypertension.

Cerebral Palsy

Epilepsy is a known and somewhat common side effect of cerebral palsy. Sometimes infants who seize can help diagnose cerebral palsy, but generally epileptic seizures are a common side effect of more severe forms of cerebral palsy, and sometimes it’s so bad that physicians prescribe medication to somewhat control it (though it never quite goes away). Cerebral palsy is an injury that happens in the brain before it affects the various muscle groups, so the seizures are a form of the brain damage.