Neonatal Stroke

It is a stroke condition that occurs in newborns within 28 days of birth. The stroke is usually detected right after the baby is born. It is most common in premature babies. Babies with seizures are weak or unresponsive and might suffer from a neonatal stroke. It is then confirmed by using neuroimaging.

Brain stroke injuries are often considered an adult disease but are common in neonates or young children. It is stated that one in every 4000 babies has a chance of experiencing a stroke shortly before, during, or after his or her birth.

Types of Neonatal Strokes

There are three types of strokes that a baby might undergo, which include:

  • Hemorrhagic Stroke: A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a brain artery leaks or ruptures. Thus, this leaked blood imposes excessive pressure on the brain cells, which further causes worsening damage.
  • Transient Ischemic Attack: It is better known as the warning stroke, indicating a possible stroke in the future. Get your baby checked right away.
  • Ischemic Stroke: The most common type of neonatal stroke occurs when there are blood clots or other blockages that narrow the artery that passes blood to the brain.

Symptoms That Indicate the Possibility of Neonatal Strokes

If your baby doesn’t get the stroke signs right after birth but shows some adverse symptoms within the next few days, it might need immediate medical attention to prevent or recover from the stroke. The alarming symptoms of a neonatal stroke are:

  • Your child is sleeping for too long or is acting lethargic.
  • A child is experiencing weakness on one side of his or her body.
  • You are experiencing difficulties feeding your baby.
  • Temporary pauses in your child’s breathing (apnea)
  • Neurological impairment

Neonatal Stroke Causes

Some medical causes, such as cerebral arteriopathies or Moyamoya disease, result in blood clotting or narrowing of the arteries to the brain. As a result of this, a neonatal ischemic stroke occurs. The blood flow gets obstructed within the spinal cord or brain of the baby.

Due to bleeding conditions within the brain, hemorrhagic stroke is also possible in some cases. The common causes that might trigger such an instance are arteriovenous malformations, aneurysms, etc. Clotting might also occur due to any brain tumour, sickle cell disease, or other conditions.

When Should I See a Doctor?

If your baby shows signs of weakness soon after birth, the doctor will examine him or her to rule out any potential health problems. But suppose you have headed home upon the delivery of your baby and see that your baby experiences any of the symptoms mentioned above. In that case, you need to call your doctor immediately.

Risk Factors Associated with Neonatal Strokes

Some of the risk factors that are most likely to trigger neonatal strokes in babies after birth are:

  • A woman who has been in her second or third pregnancy (a primiparous mother)
  • Calling for an emergency caesarean section
  • Apgar score, less than or equal to seven after five minutes
  • Asphyxia

Complications associated with neonatal strokes

  • Some of the complications that might arise in your baby due to neonatal strokes are:
  • They might have difficulty learning and studying in the future.
  • They might experience some form of communication delay.
  • Your child might be affected by epilepsy or experience frequent seizures.
  • Some children might experience vision problems.

Treatment of Neonatal Stroke

Babies can recover from neonatal strokes, as the plasticity of their developing brains helps them recover from the strokes faster than adults. However, it is advisable for parents to never delay in realising the worrying symptoms in babies or use pharmacy medications to control the symptoms.

You should book your specialist’s appointment and get them to diagnose and treat the conditions immediately. Timely treatment and care can cure the condition without any complications.


Neonatal stroke is not so common in babies, but doctors are often prepared to handle such cases on an immediate basis. Doctors will also advise you about important things to note for the next few days after you give birth. Take their advice seriously, and get in touch with them whenever needed.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Bengaluru - Brookefield. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. Can a newborn baby recover from a brain stroke?

Yes, a newborn baby can easily recover from a brain stroke. But the only condition is that they get the necessary treatment at the earliest possible date

2. What is an evident symptom of stroke in babies?

Eating problems and breathing problems are evident symptoms that might indicate a stroke. Get medical attention for the baby immediately.

3. Are surgical methods used for treating strokes in babies?

For hemorrhagic stroke, doctors recommend surgery to drain the blood pool to relieve the pressure exerted on the brain. But for ischemic stroke, doctors give fluids and oxygen to the baby and blood thinners to break up the blood clots.

4. How is a neonatal stroke diagnosed?

Diagnosing a neonatal stroke requires imaging of the brain, blood tests, a cardiology evaluation, genetic studies, and other tests.

5. How do you ensure long-term care for a baby who has undergone a stroke?

Look for therapies to help the child deal with stroke-related weakness or other side effects. Stay in touch with the assigned doctors to ensure all possible health repercussions are well attended to.

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