Twitching in the baby

Twitching in the baby


Twitches in the baby are sudden movement patterns such as the arms, legs or the whole body. These twitches are considered a known phenomenon in early childhood and are usually without significant disease value. These are certain reflexes or quite banal muscle twitches, as everyone knows about himself. Only rarely behind the convulsions lies a treatment-requiring illness like the epilepsy. Therefore, fresh parents do not have to worry about their baby twitching. WIt is important to perceive the twitch and perceive its course or possible changes.


First of all, one should think of harmless causes in the case of child twitches and not be nervous as a parent. In most cases, the baby’s twitching is based on the release of the Moro reflex. This is a so-called clenching reflex, in which the baby stretches out his arms and spreads his fingers at the same time, shortly afterwards to bring his arms together and clench his hands into a fist. The Moro reflex can be triggered when the baby is frightened by something or while sleeping. In addition, it is triggered when you have the baby in his arms and suddenly jerky sagging backwards in the supine position. This reflex can be the most common cause of twitching until the 4th month of life, which is considered a completely harmless cause. In addition, twitching is part of the development of motor skills. For example, before the babies learn to grasp things, twitches on their hands can be observed. Typical for the 5th month of life are benign muscle twitching during sleep, so-called sleep myoclonus. From the ninth month of life, the phenomenon “Jactatio capitis et corporis nocturna” (English: rhythmic movement disorder of the head) may be the cause of the twitches. This phenomenon describes an ever-evolving pattern of movement in the baby’s sleep, with their heads bobbing slightly back and forth. Sometimes there is only a slight twitching or tossing about.

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Twitches in the baby falling asleep

Twitching while falling asleep is a very common phenomenon in babies. As with most adults, this is related to falling asleep while falling asleep. Sometimes you jerk all over when you have the feeling of falling down a staircase or falling. It is similar with the baby when it goes from deep sleep REM sleep (English: rapid eye movement). IIn REM sleep, the babies are in an active dream phase, while the twitching of the eyelids as well as the arms and legs can be observed. In addition, the babies can trigger on themselves the Moro reflex while falling asleep, for example, when frightened by their own twitching arm. Then the babies wake up frequently due to their own clenching reflex, which can lead to falling asleep and staying asleep.

Accompanying symptoms of twitching in the baby

Accompanying symptoms to the twitches may occur depending on the cause. After twitching due to the Moro reflex, babies often cry because they are so scared. Otherwise harmless sleep myoclonus can interfere with one Announce trembling of the body. During sleep, it is not uncommon for babies to wake themselves up through the twitching, so often accompanying them as concomitant symptoms Sleep-in and sleep-through disorders is sued. Babies with more such twitches are more common before and after restless. If the twitch is based on an epilepsy, the whole thing can also be with one developmental delay accompanied. In addition, the baby may be absent for a brief moment during the twitch. Fortunately, such developmental and consciousness disorders rarely occur as a concomitant symptom of twitching.

Twitches in the baby in the mother’s stomach

Twitches of the baby, which are perceived during pregnancy by the mother in the abdomen, are usually quite normal and harmless. They speak for the childlike activity and therefore vitality. After a certain week of pregnancy the babies can perceive noises from the “outside world” after maturing their hearing, even if it can only be a dull sound. Since the babies are already able to drink the amniotic fluid, they may inadvertently inhale it and then hiccup. Hiccough can then feel like twitching of the baby to the mother. However, this is not worrisome at all. In the rarest cases twitching in the abdomen is a serious cause. However, if you worry as a mother, you can visit the gynecologist to use a CTG (= cardiotocography) to control the heart sounds of the baby and make an ultrasound.

Twitching in the leg

As in any part of the body, the muscles in the leg can twitch. These twitches can occur occasionally in the babies or occur again and again. A muscle twitch in the leg can come from the muscles themselves, be caused by a misdirected nerve or centrally controlled by the brain. Some babies are prone to light muscle twitching when stressed. In case of regular twitching in one leg, a pediatrician should be consulted to rule out neuropathy.

Twitching in the face

The face contains many different muscles, which are necessary for facial expressions, chewing, vision and much more. Like all muscles, these muscles can also be falsely stimulated and therefore twitch. Even the so-called cranial nerves, which are responsible for the control in the face, could send false signals or be created wrong. In some babies especially in dream sleep a twitching of the eyelids is observed. In individual twitches no further diagnostics is necessary.

febrile seizure

Some babies and toddlers are prone to so-called fever cramps. Febrile convulsions are among the most common emergencies in infancy and childhood. Babies react to infectious diseases very quickly with higher body temperatures. About five percent of all children experience at least one febrile seizure during childhood. The febrile convulsion is one epileptic seizure associated with loss of consciousness and body twitching.
In most cases, a febrile convulsion only takes a few minutes. A simple febrile convulsion has a very good prognosis, however, it can come under a prolonged convulsion to an oxygen deficiency. When a febrile convulsion first occurs, the pediatrician or neurologist should do some examinations to make sure that this is not the first manifestation of epilepsy. As a precautionary measure, baby’s body temperature should be regularly monitored and fever reduced by medication in crippling babies.

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The diagnosis of the child’s convulsions can be made by careful observation. Based on this, parents can already assess whether it is, for example, the harmless up to the 4th Month of life pronounced Moro reflex and you do not have to worry or no medical examination is necessary. If, however, the baby twitches at regular intervals over a longer period of time, this should be clarified by a doctor for safety’s sake. There are certain forms of epileptic disorders that can occur at a young age and thus have to be excluded. The diagnosis of such epilepsy is clinically made. First and foremost, the doctor makes an accurate medical history. These include questions about how often twitches occur, how long twitches persist, whether they appear regularly or irregularly, which parts of the body twitch, whether the whole body is involved, or only part, and whether before, during, or after twitching like wetting, crying or being away. Here it can be helpful to record the twitches of the baby with a camera, so that the doctor can get a picture of it. In order to verify a possible epilepsy, the making of a EEG (= Electroencephalography), a special neurological examination, necessary.

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How can the twitches be distinguished from epilepsy??

An epilepsy is seizures in which the affected muscles are uncontrollably tense and high-pitched twitches. Furthermore, epileptic seizures are mostly single episodes lasting for several minutes. easy twitches keep coming back and have one significantly lower frequency than a seizure. However, since there is not one form of epilepsy, epilepsy can not be excluded in principle. Accurate diagnosis requires medical diagnosis and possibly an EEG, which measures brain waves.

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When should you go to the pediatrician?

Individual muscle twitching is not necessarily presented to the pediatrician, but there are some warning signs that require a doctor’s visit. If the twitches occur repeatedly or occur on certain occasions, such as stress a pediatrician and possibly a neurologist should conduct further examinations. Also, a pediatrician should be visited if the children in the twitches changed or inattentive.

Treatment / therapy

Treatment of twitching in the baby is only necessary if it is an epilepsy. Otherwise it is time to wait and act symptomatically. That means for example, that one can spit the babies at the causative Moro reflex, so that they do not frighten themselves before their own moving arms. At this point it should be mentioned that the swaddling, ie the tight wrapping of the child in a cloth, as a therapeutic measure is controversial. Relaxation exercises can be helpful in muscle twitching associated with rocking your head during sleep.
If it is an epileptic disorder, treatment must be initiated depending on the type of epilepsy. This consists of a drug therapy with so-called “anticonvulsants”, ie drugs for seizures.

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Duration / Forecast

Depending on the cause of the convulsions varies its duration. Is it the typical one? Moro-reflex, so the twitch stops only a few seconds. Physiologically, the Moro reflex itself is only pronounced in babies from birth to 4 months of age. In addition, it is conspicuous if a baby still has this reflex and needs further clarification. In the case of an epileptic form, the convulsions may last longer, sometimes minutes, and occur in regular seizure series. If an epileptic disorder is the cause of the convulsions, the prognosis may be unfavorable. Epilepsy, which manifests itself in early childhood, is often associated with a high mortality in the first years of childhood. Therefore, an accurate clarification of untypical twitches that can not be explained with a normal Moro reflex or other harmless reasons is important.

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