really worried - 2 month old suddenly has exaggerated moro (startle) reflex - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 09-01-2010, 01:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought my dd had a seizure this morning. It was terrifying. Just wondering if anybody has experienced something similar to the following?

My dd is 8 1/2 wks old. At her first well baby appt, he did the standard reflex tests and she reacted to the moro one very normally - just threw her arms out. Ever since she was born she has startled on the easy side, but figured that was normal. All she's ever done is throw her arms out, while sleeping or awake.

This morning I thought she had a seizure and I freaked out. I had epilepsy my entire childhood so I was worried. I had her on the changing table and can't even remember if I moved her first, but all four of her limbs went straight out and stiff, her neck and whole body stiffened and her eyes BUGGED out of her head, and the most alarming was that her face turned immediately bright red as if she wasn't breathing. She stayed like this for only about 4 or 5 seconds, and then when she "came to" so to speak, she started wailing and was difficult to console.

My mother and I took her to the doctor, and in just doing his standard reflex testing she did it again right there on the examination table. He said while it was the most extreme and exaggerated reflex he's ever seen, the fact that he could induce it meant it wasn't a seizure. For good measure right before he left he did it a SECOND time (which really upset me) and she did it exactly the same - turned red, limbs/body stiff, eyes bugged out.

All day she has seemed much jumpier than usual and difficult to calm down. Every little thing seems to cause her to throw her arms out, much more in the way we've seen her startle in the past, but MUCH more often. I went to shower tonight and when I came downstairs dh said "I saw what you were describing"... It seems she did the same thing again, but this time while half asleep and nobody had moved her at all, her pacifier had simply fallen out of her mouth which apparently triggered it.

It just seems so odd that all of a sudden she would be SOOO startled in such a way that we have never seen before in two months, and it has happened four times in one day.

My only thought that I try to tell myself to console myself is that maybe as her brain is developing she is becoming more aware of her surroundings and therefore is more easily startled? I just don't know and I'm worried. I find myself terrified to just set her down or talk too loud or anything in fear that she will have an episode.

Fortunately we just happen to coincidentally have a well baby appt scheduled for tomorrow. At first I was annoyed today they couldn't combine the visits, but now I'm grateful I get to go back after dh witnessing another episode and getting to think about things...
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#2 of 20 Old 09-03-2010, 08:09 PM
 
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What happened at your appointment? What did your doc say?

My baby did have an increased moro from 2-3 months. It was pretty scary, but then one day it just went away.

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#3 of 20 Old 09-03-2010, 08:54 PM
 
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I haven't been doing well baby visits or seeing at Dr at all but I assumed after what I read somewhere that when my DD had about a week or two of extremely exaggerated startles around that 8 week mark (after having minimal ones previous) that it was simply one of those developmental thing. They have normalized now.
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#4 of 20 Old 09-03-2010, 10:07 PM
 
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My dd1 did the same thing and I was concerned about seizures. NONE of my other babies have had the reflex like her. She outgrew it. The fact that you had epilepsy would make me be more diligent in having her seen, monitoring it for anything that would signal a seizure. (((hugs)))

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#5 of 20 Old 09-03-2010, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses. That makes me feel better.

We went back the next day and saw a different doc, and he was concerned about the episode that happened later that night when only the pacifier fell out of her mouth. He said while sometimes moro reflex is mistaken for seizures, it goes both ways and sometimes doctors can write off seizures as moro reflex. He said he doesn't think she has epilepsy, but given my childhood history he wants to be absolutely certain - better to catch it early if there is something then before she has one that causes brain damage.

She is getting an EEG which makes me sad but I'm hoping it will just put everyone at ease. She is still very easily startled - the other night she was in her bouncer an must've thrown her arms up with a look of panic 10 times in about a minute or so, and by the end I had made the bouncer still and couldn't even figure out anything that could've even been scaring her, so it was odd. She also did NOT do the same severe reaction when the doctor tested it the next day at the appt...also odd. However, at least she has not had any other episodes that severe since that day, but that also kind of makes me scratch my head. It's just so nerve racking because I'm SOOO gentle with her and just don't want to set her off, and I still scare her all the time. Hopefully it's just a developmental thing and she's just becoming more aware of her surroundings. I'm not sure what one of the pp's read about this, because I could not find ANYTHING on it or anybody who'd had a similar experience, and I googled my fricken heart out!

So it helps to hear your experiences! THANK YOU!!!
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#6 of 20 Old 09-04-2010, 10:07 AM
 
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I'm glad to hear others have experiences with this, my second baby has an insanely sensitive Moro reflex. Much moreso than my first's. If you lower him to the changing table to quickly it startles him and he FREAKS out. He's 10 weeks today and I'm hoping it'll go away soon.

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#7 of 20 Old 09-04-2010, 08:49 PM
 
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I'll see if I come across where I read about startle reflexes and if I do I'll post! (and really it does make sense to me that they can be temporarily exaggerated as many other things are for brief periods while they practice them...I think anyways!)

hope things go okay for you guys!
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#8 of 20 Old 04-17-2011, 08:58 PM
 
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i know this is an old post but my 2 month old is doing the same thing he has an appt on tuesday so i will ask but just wanted to see what it turned out being for you? thanks!

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#9 of 20 Old 04-17-2011, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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All ended just fine!  It really was an exaggerated startle reflex!  She had an EEG which was a horrible, HORRIBLE experience, and as expected, it ended up being normal because for an infant they would've just had to catch it at the time.  Little by little over time she got less sensitive, until we could finally treat her like other friends' babies we saw, and throw her up in the air and whatnot without terrifying her.  She is 9 1/2 months now and PERFECTLY normal.  Has been for a long time. 

 

I really do think it was just a developmental thing as her senses became more aware of her surroundings. 

 

I sincerely hope it is much of the same for you and it's nothing to worry about!

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#10 of 20 Old 04-22-2011, 10:33 PM
 
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I found your post searching under "seizure" because my 6 week old has done this a few times this week. He did it about 5 times his first few weeks of life while being held upright against my chest ( and once against my mother's). I would pull him away from my chest and he was still in that position, then he would release. My midwife didn't feel it was a cause for concern. Then this week it happened on two differed days. He would bear down his entire body, limbs included, like he was clenching, and turn completely red for a few seconds. Then he would release after a few seconds. NO ONE I talk to remembers their babies ever doing it, which makes me nervous. This evening he did more minor clenches before going to sleep, about 5 within a minute which seem like infantile spasms I have seen on YouTube. greensad.gif I really hope it's nothing but I feel like I should take him to th Children's Hospital tomorrow.
You mentioned the EEG was horrible. I'm wondering why, since they are supposed to be non-invasive? Just wondering what to be prepared for.
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#11 of 20 Old 04-22-2011, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm so sorry to hear that!  I hope everything works out for you because as I related to a PP, I know how terrifying it can be.  I'm starting to think it's more common than we think, given all the responses to this post.  Plus, I think if you google "exaggerated moro reflex" you'll find more. 

 

I had a million EEG's it seems like in my childhood at CHOP, but of course I wouldn't remember the ones when I was an infant.  My mom was with me for my daughter's and complained that clearly the worst fact was that they marked her head with one of those wax pencils.  You really have to press hard with those (on her soft newborn skull no less!) and they had to make what seemed like a hundred marks on her head while carefully measuring at the same time, and she was just inconsolable.  My mom said at CHOP they used a felt-tipped marker, which she and I both thought would've lessened her discomfort.  By the end of the marking phase she was wailing so hard that I was crying.  Eventually the tech had another guy come in to help her stick the nodes on faster and double team it, because at that point it has been about 45 minutes of incessant wailing and tears down my baby's face (and mine!) 

 

Fortunately they let me lay with her on the table during the test, and she had cried so hard that as soon as they were done sticking everything to her, she fell right to sleep for the test.

 

With older children and adults they try to induce a seizure with blinking lights and heavy breathing etc... but with a baby they are really just winging it and hoping they catch something.  I think they did flash lights at her but it was only for about 30 seconds and she was already sleeping.

I'm sure a children's hospital would be much more sensitive and things might not go as badly as they had for me.  Let me know what happens!

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#12 of 20 Old 04-23-2011, 07:17 AM
 
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Thanks so much for responding! I'm sorry you had to go through that so often! greensad.gif Do they shave the baby's head to do an EEG?
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#13 of 20 Old 04-23-2011, 08:00 AM
 
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Glad to hear that it wasn't seizures - my 8 week old does this too, and has since birth.  She can startle without anything to set it off, laying on the floor or the change table.   I'll make sure to bring it up at her next doctor's appt. if she is still doing it. 


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#14 of 20 Old 04-23-2011, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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No, they don't even shave your head when you're an adult with a full head of hair.  I hated that part as a kid, because they'd rub REALLY hard to separate the hair (I have SUPER thick, dense hair!) - but with super fine baby hair it's not a problem.  My daughter happened to be just about bald, but even if your baby has lots of hair I don't think it would be an issue.

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#15 of 20 Old 12-03-2011, 12:00 PM
 
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My 9 week old has always done this on the changing table - my doctor told me it was sometimes a sign of acid reflux...especially if they cry a lot afterwards. Hope everything works out for all of you.

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#16 of 20 Old 12-06-2011, 10:12 PM
 
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My kiddo is 9 weeks and started doing this at about 5 weeks (he was 4 weeks late though). It's not as frequent as it was, but it really freaked me out at first... I'm pretty sure from what I've read so far that it's within normal range. :)


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#17 of 20 Old 02-15-2012, 10:40 AM
 
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I found this thread about a month ago when I was searching for startle reflex in a 5 month old or 6 month old. I found it reassuring at the time, but a few days later my baby daughter was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with Infantile Spasms/West Syndrome, a rare type of childhood epilepsy. So I thought I should add some tips on things to look out for - I'm not for a minute trying to scare anyone and infantile spasms is quite rare, but I just want to highlight some things that I didn't realise are a possible cause for concern and which might be worth getting checked out. 

 

My 6 month old baby suddenly started doing random flinch movements where she would throw out her arms and look as if she felt she was falling. I thought it was a startle-type reflex and didn't find anything on the internet to contradict this as I didn't know what keywords to search for. I was also reassured by my health visitor who witnessed one of her spasms and said it was a startle reflex - even she didn't know that babies that age shouldn't do this!

 

At first my daughter only had a few flinches a day (which I didn't realise were spasms/seizures at the time). And at first it looked like the movements might be triggered by feeling off-balance e.g. trying to sit or being lowered onto her changing mat, so I thought they were situational and couldn't be seizures. But after a couple of weeks the flinches came more often and she had a few clusters with several in a minute, so I continued looking online and randomly discovered infantile spasms. The description and YouTube videos were scarily similar to what she was doing, and we were admitted to hospital and next day. She was diagnosed with infantile spasms and started ACTH steroid treatment the next day - the spasms stopped 5 days later and 3 weeks later, her EEG is pretty much normal. We don't yet know what the future holds and she's still having tests and assessments to work out what caused the infantile spasms, but the initial spasms stopped very quickly once she got treatment. Despite the horrible side-effects from the steroids, she's already brighter and more alert than she was before all this started, is doing better eye contact and smiling much more easily.

 

The prognosis for infantile spasms improves the earlier treatment starts, so it's important to know what to look out for. InfantileSpasms.org is a useful website (the info on this page is taken from an official NHS leaflet). Even if your child does have something that looks like infantile spasms, it may not be that serious as there is a benign version that looks similar. But it should still be checked out as soon as possible.

 

What I didn't realise before was that the normal startle/moro reflex ceases when babies are a few months old. It continues a bit later than this in some babies. But it is NOT normal for a baby over a few months old to SUDDENLY start any movements that look like the startle reflex.

 

I hope this helps.

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#18 of 20 Old 02-18-2012, 11:03 AM
 
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Katie K, I'm so sorry about your daughter's diagnosis, I remember spending hours on the internet and came across the site you mentioned (I took my son to the Children's Hospital and met another mom in for exactly the same thing and they didn't feel my son's movements were seizures or spasms, but my son has been followed up by a pediatrician since then... his strange clenches didn't turn into anything more and eventually stopped.)  I'm so glad you caught it early, and you are right in that it is ALWAYS best to get things checked out. My prayers are with you and your baby! <3

 

As an interesting sidenote, my grandma saw a news story around the time my son was born, about how a lot of babies have been having seizure-like symptoms and they are wondering about a possible link to cell-phone usage.  I tried to find the article online but unfortunately wasn't able to (she saw it on TV.)

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#19 of 20 Old 04-28-2013, 09:17 AM
 
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I know this post is very old but I really need assurance that my LO will be fine. He does the same thing twice or thrice everyday  when placed on his back. I stopped placing him on his back because this startle makes me really sad. I just hope he gets better by time and I pray its no big deal.

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#20 of 20 Old 10-31-2013, 05:01 PM
 
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Yep! This same thing happened to my little one.  Her arms and legs would fling out and stay frozen for about 5 seconds. Then, she would cry uncontrollably for a really long time.  We went to the pediatrician today and thankfully little Olivia did it right in front of the doctor.  She said Olivia was fine and it was just an exaggerated startle reflex. I was so relieved because I seriously was worried that it was infantile spasms!!

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