Sleep Myoclonus In 2 Months Old Infant

Could it be Sleep Myoclonus? What could be causing the jerking movements during sleep in a 9 weeks old infant? My son got them at 6 weeks of age and again after about 2 weeks.

When asleep, not falling asleep or at the time of waking up, he opens his eyes and starts jerking his limbs. A little later his entire body begins to shake. The entire episode lasts for about 30 seconds, soon after which he closes his eyes and sleeps as if nothing had happened. This has only happened twice so far, but it worries me a lot. Doc, please explain what could be the cause.

I have not been able to take a picture or record it on the video because of its abrupt and random presentation.

The Expert, Ren Chats Answers

Sudden rhythmic jerks in an infant send the parents into jitters. They fear fits, a well-known manifestation of nervous system disorder.

Brief irregular bursts of involuntary movements do occur in normal newborns. Though predominantly seen during sleep, they are not dreams. They usually are benign sleep myoclonus of early infancy, which last only for a few seconds, but many episodes can occur in a day.

Mingled among innocent movement disorders of a normal infant, are some which could be the early presentation of an underlying developmental disorder. To differentiate the two a detailed history around baby’s birth and proper examination in a doctor’s clinic is essential.

However, for more information on the subject, I will strongly recommend the chapter -
Myoclonus in Babies,
in the book,
“Jittery Baby: The Mimics of Fits in Early Infancy”
Download now for $ 4.38 Only

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Neonate Jitteriness while sleeping only!

by Miguel

Our 3 days old baby girl had twitching when asleep. She was transferred to a children's hospital's NICU. She had a head MRI (normal) and a 24-hour EEG/video evaluation (normal). She was sent home with a follow-up with the paediatric neurologist in 2 weeks. The parents continue to note that their now 8-day baby twitches “only” when contented and asleep.
The twitches in this baby have been quite conspicuous; certainly Not subtle. They usually occur in the limbs of both the sides, only sometimes were they noted on one side only. Though the abnormal movements were predominantly seen in the limbs, sometimes the neck muscles were also involved.
The question is, considering her work-up, is it likely that this is just the normal jitteriness seen in newborns from time-to-time?
Please note: If you are reading this and you are not the pediatrician who owns this site or a pediatrician, please do not respond.
Thank you.

The Expert, Ren Chats Answers

From the sparse case history provided, I can only say that this baby seems to be a case of “sleep to wake transition disorders”. As the name suggests there are several types of disorders under this group. The commonest form is the innocent myoclonus of early infancy.

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