What Are the Causes of Seizures in Newborns? | Scott Goodwin Law

What Are the Causes of Seizures in Newborns?

by / Wednesday, 24 April 2019 / Published in Birth Trauma
Infant with their eyes closed holding an adult hand

Seizures in infants and newborns can be caused by a very wide range of things, such as genetic disorders, meningitis, other types of infections, strokes, and brain tumors. But figuring out an exact cause isn’t always easy. According to Epilepsy Action, doctors  are typically unable to find a cause of seizures in about 2-3 out of 10 babies with seizures. But in many cases, seizures can be an indication of a birth injury.

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

If a child experienced a lack of oxygen during delivery, it’s possible for seizures to be caused by hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is a type of brain injury caused by a child’s oxygen supply being cut off, such as if the umbilical cord becomes compressed or wrapped around the baby’s neck or if there are problems with the placenta.

The effects of HIE largely depend on how long the child went without oxygen and how quickly doctors acted to administer treatment. In mild cases, a child could potentially have little to no long-term effects. But if oxygen loss is more prolonged or treatment isn’t given quickly enough, the more likely it is the child will experience more serious effects as a result.


Jaundice is another very common medical condition in newborns and in the majority of cases, it doesn’t cause any long-term problems for the child. However, it’s extremely important that children with jaundice be given treatment as quickly as possible because if it goes untreated, it has the potential to cause serious problems. The longer a child goes without treatment, the more time bilirubin has to build up in the child’s body and the more likely it becomes that the child will develop kernicterus.

Kernicterus is a type of brain damage caused by excess bilirubin and while it isn’t a common condition, but it is serious. In addition to seizures, it can also cause problems like intellectual disabilities and hearing loss.

Brain Injuries

HIE and kernicterus aren’t the only type of brain injuries that can lead to seizures. Brain injuries can also be the result of physical trauma caused by something like the improper use of birth-assisting tools. Brain hemorrhages can also be linked to seizures in babies.

If you suspect your child’s seizures are the result of an injury around the time of birth, contact a birth trauma lawyer as soon as possible. You have a lot of questions and a lawyer will be able to give you the help you need. Goodwin & Scieszka has lawyers who are experienced in helping the loved ones of children who have been hurt as a result of medical negligence. Contact us today to start getting the help you need.