After a difficult birth, you may be watching for signs and symptoms from your baby. One such condition involves a rapid shivering motion for the baby in the head, neck, shoulders, and upper chest areas. This condition is known as infant shudder syndrome.
This condition with a baby could show symptoms a few times a day. However, some reported cases have shown shuddering attacks in infancy 100 or more times per day. While the shivering may only last a few seconds per attack, the situation can be extremely unnerving for parents who witness it.
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What a Shuddering Spell Means
Although many doctors treat babies with reported shuddering symptoms, it’s hard to determine an exact reason why these attacks occur. Some medical professionals claim that the shivering is not a sign of a more serious condition and that it is just something that babies occasionally do.
However, if a few other conditions are known to be present, it could be a sign of some sort of brain disorder or illness. Parents who notice these shuddering spells in their infants should take video evidence of the incident to show their doctor, and their attorney at a birth injury law firm if they believe the condition was caused by medical negligence.
Another reason your baby may appear to shudder or shiver spasticity could be due to a cerebral palsy diagnosis that was caused by an injury during or shortly after birth. When this happens, an infant may be deprived of oxygen. You should have your newborn evaluated and reach out to a cerebral palsy attorney if you believe your child’s symptoms could be related to CP.
Shuddering With Minimal Health Problems
It is possible that a pediatric doctor will ask for a neurology referral when a shuddering spell is observed. This exam may determine that no significant health problems are occurring, and no treatment is required. In the majority of cases like this, the baby will simply stop having these shuddering symptoms after a few months or a few years.
Shuddering With Seizures
If the shuddering spells seem more like seizures, this can be a far different situation requiring medical care. A seizure can signal that some sort of trauma or illness is affecting the baby’s brain. Seizures may look a lot like shuddering spells, lasting a few seconds and only causing slight tremors in the upper body.
Other times, the seizure could last for a minute or more and be more violent, indicating something beyond shuddering syndrome. A seizure may manifest as a child staring straight ahead for a time, showing no emotion.
Typically, while shuddering the child does not lose his or her ability to interact with others and does not have a feeling of sleepiness or grogginess after the spell. However, with a seizure the child may be unresponsive during the attack, and he or she will seem excessively tired.
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Causes of Seizures
If you believe your baby is having seizures that are manifesting themselves in shuddering or shivering, you will want to contact your doctor as soon as possible. Many types of conditions can cause a baby to have seizures, including:
- Excessive fever
- Head injury
- Brain injury
- Neurodevelopmental issues
If your baby went through a difficult birth, it is possible that he or she suffered some sort of head or brain injury during delivery. Medical personnel could have dropped the baby after birth, causing injury. A doctor may have improperly used birthing tools, such as forceps, causing a head injury that eventually led to seizures.
If a baby suffers a traumatic brain injury in the womb or during the delivery process, this injury could lead to the diagnosis of epilepsy in the future, as the two conditions are strongly linked.
Epilepsy can be difficult to diagnose in children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 1.2% of Americans have active epilepsy, including about 470,000 children.
Tips to Reduce the Occurence of Shudders
While it’s important to see your pediatrician as soon as possible if your child is showing signs of shuddering, some remedies and lifestyle changes at home could also improve the occurrence of your infant’s shudders.
- Feed them: Low blood sugar levels have been suggested to be a potential cause of baby shuddering.
- Calm them: If your baby has had a recent adrenaline boost, it can lead to shuddering movements and it’s best to reassure them and lower their heart rate.
- Reduce stress: Try and take your child out of the stressful situation if they seem like they are not enjoying it and just do whatever it takes to put them at ease.
- Keep them warm: Cold temperatures do not make babies shudder. Wrap your baby to eliminate this confusion of shivering versus shuddering.
- Let them rest: Tiredness can make a baby act out which can lead to a different type of behaviour. Is it close to bedtime? Are they overtired and need to take a nap?
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Long-Term Outlook for Infantile Spasms and Shudder Syndrome
Children with infantile spasms are at risk for developing other types of seizures as they age. They also may be at risk for autism and cognitive delays. Early diagnosis and treatment may help reduce this risk.
Although it’s common for babies to outgrow this condition after several months or a few years, it also could be a sign of something more serious with your newborn. Determining the exact cause of the baby’s shivering bouts could take multiple appointments with doctors, as well as neurological tests and treatments.
Let Our Lawyers Work to Represent the Interests of Your Family
If you believe a doctor’s error during delivery possibly led to your baby suffering a birth injury, you will be watching for health issues your baby may exhibit in the first few months of life, including infant shudder syndrome.
If a doctor did not treat your baby properly during pregnancy or delivery, consider hiring a birth injury attorney to represent your interests. During a free consultation, we can help you determine whether you have grounds for a medical malpractice case or not. Call us today to get started, and we can begin collecting evidence to defend your case.