Seizures in the womb
During pregnancy, most mums-to-be experience movements from 16 weeks. As discussed in this article from Tommy’s, fetal movements often feel like a flutter or a kick and can become stronger and form a pattern as you progress through the pregnancy. While it’s an exciting and beautiful part of pregnancy, movements are a very important part of monitoring your pregnancy. The midwife will ask you about the movements during your antenatal appointments in the lead-up to the birth.
It’s so important that you monitor these movements throughout the whole of the pregnancy and inform your midwife if there are any changes to the usual movements. This is so important for the health and well-being of your baby. You want to react quickly if there are fewer movements or an increase in the amount of fetal activity so that the midwife can check the heartbeat or arrange an ultrasound if they are concerned about the baby.
In some cases, the baby’s movements might have slowed down due to normal reasons. From stress in your life, what you eat, cord movement to a change in position of your baby, these can impact the number of movements you may feel during your pregnancy. But it’s always important to get movements checked over by a health professional. While there are a lot of reports and information about movements slowing down, a lot of mums don’t think to report an increase in movements. But these excessive movements can relate to health problems too.
In regards to irregular fetal movements, a lot of mums are asked if babies have seizures in the womb. While it’s rare, fetal seizures can occur and are something you should watch out for during your pregnancy.
What is a fetal seizure?
A fetal seizure is where a baby has a seizure while inside the womb. While there are not many cases reported, it can occur while you are expecting. As discussed in this case report, the seizures normally involve the whole body and occur repeatedly. While it happens due to numerous reasons, it is often down to anomalies in the nervous system. If they have a lack of oxygen, have developed an infection or have bleeding in the brain, these can also lead to a fetal seizure.
What are the signs of a fetal seizure?
A lot of mums don’t know their baby is having a seizure as it’s very similar to fetal movements. After all, babies do have moments where they move more as you progress through your pregnancy. However, signs mums can watch out for that the baby is having a fetal seizure are forceful movements that are strong in strength and occur in a jerky manner. It’s always important to look out for excessive fetal movements that are not normal for your baby. If this does occur, it’s important to contact the midwife who will arrange an ultrasound scan.
What will happen to the baby after a seizure?
In some cases, seizures are undetected and no harm occurs to the baby. They can go on to lead healthy lives. But in some cases, the baby might have some complications in regards to their neurological health after they are born if they have a seizure while in the womb. Tests will be undertaken and the child will be monitored as they grow. The baby also could develop conditions such as epilepsy or a developmental condition as they reach childhood and into adulthood.
Is my baby likely to have a seizure if I have epilepsy?
A lot of mums that have epilepsy worry their child will go on to have seizures. They often ask their midwife if babies have seizures in the womb. They are concerned that their condition will pass on to their baby and it will put their child at risk while they are expecting. But most ladies with this condition go on to have a healthy pregnancy and labor. Just because you have epilepsy, it does not mean your baby will be at risk. It’s worth talking to the sonographer who will discuss the possibility of your infant having a seizure. But the condition of epilepsy does not mean your baby is at higher risk when in the womb. Research has found only 5 of 100 children go on to have epilepsy if their parent has the condition.
Should I be concerned about fetal seizures?
While babies can have seizures in the womb has to be answered with yes, fetal seizures are rare. The best thing you can do for your baby is to monitor movements and attend ultrasound and midwife appointments where they can check your child. They will inform you if you are high-risk and any precautions to undertake for the sake of your baby’s health. If you are ever concerned about your baby’s health, it’s always worth getting a second opinion from a health professional or your midwife.