Birth Injury

Are Infant Seizures After Birth a Sign of a Birth Injury

Birth Injury

When your baby is born, the moments after the delivery can be a whirlwind of activity. There are often doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in the delivery room tending to both the mother and the baby. This activity is normal and is not a sign that anything is wrong. Mothers and babies need extra care in the hours after delivery. Birth Injury is a very dangerous problem.

However, sometimes, babies begin to exhibit abnormal signs and symptoms after delivery. When healthcare professionals see something worrisome, your baby may be taken suddenly to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for evaluation. One of the most troubling signs that may worry both you and your child’s doctor is a seizure. Infant seizures could be a sign of a significant birth injury.

What are Seizures?

Seizures occur when there is an abnormal electrical discharge in the brain. This electrical discharge causes brain disturbances, altered consciousness, and convulsions. Seizures in infants look different than seizures in older children or adults. However, if you notice the following signs or symptoms, it is important to notify your baby’s doctor immediately:

  • Jerking or stiffness in arm or leg
  • Whole upper body jerking forward
  • Both legs jerking upward towards the belly
  • Impairment of responsiveness
  • Stiffness of body
  • Eyes roll suddenly with stiffness in extremities
  • The infant may go limp suddenly
  • Blinking eyes quickly
  • Moving mouth quickly

It can be very difficult to tell if your infant is truly having seizures. This is why it is critical to have your baby evaluated by a medical professional. An electroencephalogram (EEG) is useful in diagnosing seizures.

Why Do Infants Have Seizures After Birth

Some babies may have seizures after suffering from a serious birth injury. The most common cause of infant seizures is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). This brain injury is caused by a lack of oxygen either during or near birth.

Many cases of HIE and subsequent seizure disorders are caused by birth injuries. If a medical professional fails to diagnose fetal distress and does not timely deliver a baby or acts negligently during any phase of labor and delivery, the baby may suffer serious brain damage and harm.

There are many ways medical negligence can cause your baby’s seizures. Doctors may have failed to diagnose or treat a variety of conditions, such as:

  • Lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain causing fetal distress
  • Preeclampsia
  • Nuchal cord
  • Cord compression
  • Placenta previa
  • Placental abruption
  • Uterine rupture
  • Tachysystole
  • Breech presentation
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion
  • Baby is too large
  • Infection
  • Kernicterus

In addition, doctors or medical professionals may have improperly used vacuum extractors or forceps. Improper use of these delivery instruments can cause brain bleeds and seizure disorders.

When an OBGYN or medical professional fails to monitor the mother and baby properly during labor and delivery, they can miss critical signs of fetal distress. This prolongs the labor and delivery and delays an emergency C-section that could save the baby’s life. Failure to deliver a baby quickly when they are in distress can cause permanent brain damage, HIE, and seizures.

Types of Seizures

After your baby has suffered a brain injury during birth, they may begin having seizures. There are numerous types of seizures, and each one has differing signs and symptoms. The most common seizures seen in newborns include:

  • Subtle seizures – these seizures are difficult to diagnose and can look as simple as a repetitive facial movement. These are the most common types of seizures in infants. Over 50 percent of babies who are having seizures will exhibit signs of subtle seizures. 
  • Clonic seizures – this type of seizure looks like rhythmic jerking. 25 percent of all infants with seizures will experience these types of seizures.
  • Myoclonic seizures – this type of seizure involves a rhythmic jerking similar to clonic seizures. About 20 percent of all babies with seizures will have these types of seizures.
  • Tonic seizures – these seizures result in a baby experiencing sustained contractions, either while asleep or awake. Only 5 percent of all cases of infant seizures are diagnosed as tonic seizures.

Contact Our Providence Birth Injury Lawyers Today

At Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd, our Providence birth injury lawyers know how devastating a birth injury can be. Families whose children suffer from seizures often have more questions than answers. Sadly, many of these injuries are caused by medical negligence during labor and delivery. Subsequently, these children often need extensive assistance throughout their lives.We offer compassionate, yet aggressive, legal help every step of the way after a devastating injury at birth. Call us today at 401-204-1610 or fill out our confidential contact form for a free initial consultation and review of your case.