Causes and types of Seizures in Infants

Seizures in infants come in different forms, often with different syndromes than in adults. By far, the most frequent are convulsions. These are fairly innocent attacks that only occur in the case of fever and continues without consequences after the age of five – it could be tricky to discover. On a large scale, seizures in infants are a result of lack of oxygen at birth, an injury or an infection that has affected the brain.

You will also see a range of less common disorders. In most cases, the disease starts before the age of two years. The causes in these patients are diverse, from cerebral palsy to a congenital brain defect. The cause is also often genetic. Babies born prematurely are more likely to be vulnerable to brain injury. They are also susceptible to some types of seizures with few weeks after birth, as a result of brain hemorrhages and infections. It is also important to note that infants with a low weight at birth can easily be exposed to seizures.

Types of Seizures

 Seizures that may affect infants vary, but here are some common ones.

Tonic seizure

This type of seizure makes an infant’s body stiffen. The head or eyes could turn to one side. Pay attention to this change.

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Clinic seizure

Here, a leg or arm of the infant may stiffen or it could be seen jerking. It may switch from one side to the other.

Focal seizure

This type of seizure makes a baby unaware of what is going on around him/her. It can also stop the baby from what he/she is doing. Babies may move their eyes head to a side, or just simply stare. Jerking off a side of their body may also be noticed, changing from side to side.

Myoclonic seizure

The entire upper body of a baby may jerk forward suddenly. It can also occur that both legs jerk up to the stomach while knees are bent.

Infantile Spasms

This is a seizure seen when an infant’s arms hurl out while knees are pulled up, causing his/her body to bend forward. This action often lasts for a few seconds, they also happen in clusters. The spasms make the baby uncomfortable.

Causes of Seizures in Infants

Structural causes

This is one of the most common causes of seizures in babies. This structural cause is known as perinatal hypoxia. It can cause injury to the brain (the hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy). The injury is caused as a result of a lack of oxygenated blood flow in the infant’s brain. This can occur close to, or during labor and delivery time. The damage could be a lifetime threat to the development of the baby’s brain.

Metabolic causes

A seizure can develop in a baby when the levels of calcium, magnesium or glucose in his/her body are very low.

Infectious causes

Infections such as meningitis and encephalitis can cause neonatal seizures. It is easy for maternal infections to be transmitted to an infant right from birth. It is very important for doctors to treat all kinds of maternal infections to reduce risk transmission.


There could be genetic causes of seizures in infants. Medical conditions like self-limiting familial infantile seizures could be inherited. Dravet syndrome and other genetic disorders could also be responsible.

Ischemic stroke

This is caused by a possible clot in the blood vessel. Ischemic strokes often have close links with traumatic birth and other injuries that occur during delivery time.

These are some of the most common causes of seizures in infants. Early diagnosis will go a long way in treating it. Learn how to diagnose seizures in a baby here.