Why there are convulsions in infants: causes and consequences


Convulsive syndrome occurs in premature, low birth weight babies. The main reason is the incomplete process of formation and development of the central organs. Parents of at risk should be attentive to the health of the child and when the first symptoms appear, consult a pediatrician and a neurologist for advice.

Norm and abnormalities or how seizures develop

Cramps – a sudden spasm of muscle tissue that affects a single muscle or a group of them. May be long lasting or alternate with periods of .

Convulsions in newborns are normal and are associated with a high load on the body outside the womb. In this case, the symptoms of spasm occur once and do not recur. However, parents should be alerted that as the child grows and develops, the convulsions recur repeatedly. In 80% of cases, convulsive syndrome does not indicate the development of serious neurological pathologies and is associated with physiological features and exposure to external factors. The remaining 20% ​​of muscle spasms indicate diseases of the central nervous system.

The occurrence of seizures is associated with impaired process of interaction and transmission of nerve impulses from the brain to the nerve endings of muscle tissue. Arise in the wakefulness period of the baby and look unnatural.

Why there are convulsions in infants: causes and consequences

Parents can often take natural states for convulsions that are not abnormal and do not indicate convulsive syndrome and diseases of the central nervous system:

  • jerking and vskidyvanie limbs in a dream;
  • shaking chin, lower lip, hands while crying;
  • holding your breath while crying.


Depending on the causes, convulsions in newborns can occur with various signs. Neonatal seizures occur within 48-72 hours of a newborn’s life. The frequency of attacks from 10 to 50 times a day. The peculiarity of this type of convulsive syndrome is the absence of changes in the brain and psychomotor development disorders. Classified into:

  • Tonic – tension of the muscular system of the trunk, upper and lower extremities, cervical. The baby unbends during the attack, throws his head back, spreads his arms, stretches the lower limbs. Possible hyperthermia, cyanosis of the skin.
  • Clonic – frequent muscle twitching of individual parts of the body.
  • Focal clonic – occur in patients with encephalopathy and as a result of hypoxia, which leads to focal hemorrhages in the brain. Characterized by jerking of the limbs, facial muscles.
  • Multifocal clonic – are formed as a result of disruption of metabolic processes. Seizures affect individual muscles and tend to shift along the body.
  • Generalized clonic ones are characterized by twitching of the extremities and are accompanied by temporary loss of consciousness.
  • Fragmental clonic – clinical neonatal convulsive syndrome with loss of consciousness, accompanied by rolling of the eyeballs.
  • Oculomotor cramps – rolling up / down eyes and sides. Possible loss of consciousness, breath holding. Occur as a result of infection of the central nervous system, hemorrhage of the brain.
  • Myoclonic – sharp paroxysmal flexion / extension of the neck, rhythmic nods of the head, flexion / extension of the arms, legs. Indicate hereditary pathologies of the nervous system.

Causes and signs of cramps

Causes of cramps in a baby have a different nature. The most common causes of unnatural muscle spasm are metabolic disorders, for example, an increase / decrease in the level of sugar, sodium ions, calcium, and potassium in the blood. Lack of elements in the body or a violation of the process of their absorption leads to their insufficient flow to the brain, which leads to the development of convulsive syndrome.

Often convulsions in infants are the result of injuries in the process of passing through the birth canal, congenital or acquired diseases of the central nervous system. Twitching infants may indicate encephalopathy, meningitis, encephalitis, damage to the vascular system of the brain, which leads to hemorrhages.

Often convulsive syndrome may be the result of incorrect treatment with psychoactive drugs or indicate the correct cancellation.

Anoxical convulsions

The main reason is insufficient oxygen supply to the brain tissues as a result of asphyxiation against the background of prolonged compression, swelling of the respiratory system organs. Diagnosed in the first hours after birth.

As a result of asphyxia, the oxygen starvation of the brain’s cellular structures occurs, the blood circulation is disturbed, and the swelling gradually increases. Opening of bleedings is possible. Tonic-clonic convulsions are characterized by the appearance of a pronounced clinical picture, which is characterized by immobility of the eyeballs and breath holding. Duration of seizure from 2 to 4 minutes.

Spasmodic syndrome as a result of asphyxiation may occur 1-2 months after delivery (delayed spasm). Develops as changes in the structures of the brain.

Hypoglycemic convulsions

Disturbed metabolism leads to a decrease in blood glucose. Convulsive syndrome is possible in the first 2 days of the infant’s life. Characterized by pale skin, anxiety and impaired respiratory process. Hypoglycemic convulsions are usually combined with tonic.

Causes of blood sugar deficiency: hereditary predisposition, galactosemia, asphyxiation, prematurity, low weight.


Tetanic cramps develop as a result of a lack of calcium in the body. The main causes of hypocalcemia: rickets, vitamin D poisoning, persistent disorders of the digestive tract, metabolic dysfunctions, dehydration.

Muscle tissue spasms are characteristic of spasmophilia when tapped with a percussion hammer along the zygomatic arch and peroneal nerve during the uncontrolled period. During a seizure, muscle tension in the limbs occurs, rolling up the eyeballs or the side. Possible loss of consciousness up to 2 minutes.

Convulsions in the background of birth injury

Long anhydrous period, prolonged delivery, injuries in the process of passing through the birth canal, intrauterine infections, falls, bruises lead to brain injury, softening of certain parts of the organ, impaired secretion, inflow / outflow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain.

Occur within 3-8 hours of life of a small patient. Characterized by immobility of the eyeballs, breath holding for 2-4 minutes. After come tonic convulsions.

Fifth Convulsive Syndrome

Neonatal convulsions associated with metabolic zinc in the blood of newborns and children in the first year of life. Lasts 2-3 minutes, up to 50 attacks per day. More common during the first week of the baby’s life and can last up to 44 weeks.

Accompanied by tilting the head back, rolling the eyeballs, stretching the limbs, rarely occurs breath-hold.

Lack of vitamin b6

A lack of pyridoxine in the blood of a newborn leads to the development of a convulsive syndrome in the first 3 days of the baby’s life. The newborn arches, throws back his head, shudders all over.

Hemolytic disease of the newborn as a cause of seizures

Convulsive syndrome develops as a result of metabolic disorders against the background of the negative effects of bilirubin on brain cells. Diagnosed in the first week of life of the baby. Signs: twitching of the limbs, body tension, lethargy, drowsiness, muscular lethargy, lack of innate reflexes. As the child grows, mental and motor development is impaired.

Congenital anomalies

Congenital abnormalities as the cause of convulsive syndrome are found in no more than 15 out of 100 newborns. The most common disorders in the central nervous system and brain cause cystic tumors, agenesis of the corpus callosum, disorders in the process of brain formation, for example, lack of separation of the hemispheres.

It is manifested by jerking of the limbs, tilting of the head back, rolling of the eyeballs, increased tearing, hypersecretion of nasal secretions, high body temperature, soreness of the facial muscles. It occurs as a result of metabolic disorders, hereditary pathologies. The prognosis for recovery is unfavorable.

Febrile seizures

Cause of febrile seizures – high body temperature over 39 0C for 12-24 hours on the background of of various etiologies. Children are more likely to experience hyperthermia with SARS and acute respiratory infections.

With a one-time appearance, parents should churn the child’s high body temperature when the thermometer reaches 37 0C, since the probability of their repeated repetition in the future is high.

Recognize febrile seizures can be by loss of consciousness, twitching of limbs, flexion of the body, dropping of the head. Pallor of the skin and a decrease in the body temperature of the extremities are noted.


Therapy of convulsive syndrome is divided into first aid, drug treatment.

With the development of convulsive syndrome in the newborn before the arrival of ambulance first parents provide. Independent use of drugs is not allowed, as it is possible to aggravate the child’s condition.

In case of convulsions of the child, it is necessary to lay on the back and remove all dangerous objects that can injure the baby. Turn the head to the side so that with increased salivation and vomiting there is no choking as a result of the discharge of separated masses into the organs of the respiratory system.

Treatment of cramps

Drug treatment of seizures is aimed at eliminating the causes of the development of the pathological process. After the arrival, ambulance doctors inject intramuscularly Seduxen to the child, which helps to cope with the convulsive syndrome.

With a lack of calcium and impaired absorption, calcium gluconate preparations are recommended. With a lack of magnesium magnesium sulphate is used. For low blood sugar, intravenous dextrose and glucose are prescribed.

To eliminate seizure syndrome as a result of hyperthermia, a complex of drugs is prescribed to help reduce body temperature, cope with and muscle spasm – Paracetamol and No-shpa. Aspirin and Analgin should be taken only on the recommendation of a specialist.

With repeated convulsive syndrome, barbiturates are prescribed – used to reduce the severity of spasms in epilepsy and other diseases of the nervous system. Possess sedative and hypnotic effects. Anticonvulsants – muscle relaxants are prescribed as symptomatic therapy.

Therapy of a newborn with convulsive syndrome is carried out in the conditions of the intensive care unit. An encephalogram is assigned as diagnostic measures, which allows to obtain information about the state of the brain and its efficiency.

To restore the respiratory process using artificial respiration.


Cramps – involuntary sudden contraction of the muscles of one or more parts of the body. Accompanied by flexing the body, twitching limbs, drooping of the head, increasing body temperature, changing the color of the skin. The main cause of seizures – diseases of the central nervous system and brain. In most cases, twitching of the child has no pathological causes.

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