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Tremor in newborns – causes, symptoms, treatment, effects

Many parents, noticing a frequent and minor twitching of the lips, chin, lower jaw, arms or legs in a newborn child, often wonder if these twitches (tremor) can be considered the norm. Tremor – this is a compensatory reaction of the immature nerve fibers of the baby in the form of small muscle cramps that occur to stabilize the state of the nervous system. It can be physiological and pathological.

Physiological tremor small in its amplitude, it is rhythmic and occurs more often during the crying of a child. In tremors in newborns, the lower lip or chin is more likely to shiver, and in rare cases – the hands or feet. Shivers can appear asymmetrically and symmetrically. For example, one pen or both can tremble.

Distinctive features of physiological tremor are:
one. Its fast disappearance (after a few seconds)
2 Appearance after nervous tension (bathing in the bathroom, intestinal colic, crying, changing clothes, REM sleep or hunger, etc.).

Most often, physiological tremor appears in the first days of a baby’s life, and gradually its episodes become increasingly rare. Especially pronounced symptoms of tremor in premature babies, because their nervous system is more immature than in full-term newborns. As a rule, physiological tremor completely disappears before 1-3 months of life.

Pathological tremor differs from the physiological one in that not only the baby’s lips, chin and limbs, but also the head are involved in the process of twitching.

Episodes of pathological tremor over time become longer and cause no reason, and twitching becomes more intense and can spread to the whole body. The baby becomes more restless, capricious and does not sleep well.

Such a child’s condition should alert parents and become a reason for a visit to a neurologist, since pathological tremor can be a symptom of neurological diseases and disorders (increased intracranial pressure, intracranial hemorrhage, hyperglycemia, hypomagnesaemia, hypocalcemia, perinatal encephalopathy, etc.).

The main cause of tremor of the lips, chin, upper and lower extremities in a newborn child is the immaturity of some nerve centers of the brain and high serum levels of the adrenal hormone norepinephrine, which is responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses. Physiological tremor is observed in most (approximately half) of newborns up to 1 month and in almost all premature babies.

The main predisposing factors for the underdevelopment of the baby’s nervous system are: oxygen starvation and an excess amount of norepinephrine in the blood of the expectant mother. The reason for the development of such states can be a variety of factors:

  • fetal hypoxia during pregnancy
  • stressful mothers during pregnancy
  • threatened miscarriage
  • infectious diseases in the mother
  • fast delivery
  • cord entanglement
  • placental abruption
  • injuries during childbirth.

With pathological tremor treatment should be carried out under the strict supervision of a neurologist. After establishing the cause of the tremor, the doctor may prescribe medications to treat the underlying disease.

In addition, such children are prescribed remedial gymnastics and relaxing massage. These procedures should be carried out by a specialist, he can also teach some skills to the mother of the baby. Good results are given by swimming lessons, as well as the creation of a friendly and relaxed atmosphere in the family.

Massage with tremor in the newborn

Massage with tremor in the newborn is recommended to start with 5-6 weeks of life. It is relaxing and generally strengthening in nature and helps strengthen the nervous system of the baby. Massage should be performed by an experienced masseur. Later, the mother can learn the techniques of massage.

Recommendations for the treatment of tremor in a newborn:
one. Air out the room before a session.
2 Hands should be clean, warm and dry, nails cut short.
3 To conduct a session at a time when the baby is in a good mood and he is awake.
four. To perform the session on a flat surface, in a comfortable and familiar place for the baby (for example, on the changing table).
five. During the massage with the child must talk.
6 The massage must be stopped if the child cries or somehow shows his displeasure.
7 Do not use aromatherapy oils or baby powder for massage (you can use the usual baby cream).

The following movements can be used for a relaxing massage:

  • stroking
  • kneading
  • trituration
  • vibration.

Each massage session for a newborn must begin and end with a stroke. All movements should be smooth and pleasant for the baby. The movement should be directed along the joints (from the periphery to the center or from the bottom up). The force of pressure is determined by a specialist and, in the event that the mother of the child also performs the massage, he must teach her this subtlety.

When performing a relaxing massage, it is important to observe a certain sequence:

  • First, the pens are massaged — the child’s grip (with the hand) is held with the left hand, and the right-hand strokes are performed (10 times), gentle rubbing of each finger is performed, then another pen is massaged
  • chest massage – palm of hands placed on the base of the neck and perform stroking down ("herringbone"), repeat 6-7 times
  • tummy massage – put the palm of the right hand on the child’s abdomen and make circular movements in a clockwise direction, perform about 10 times
  • foot massage – performed in the same way as pen massage
  • back massage – baby, holding the handle and leg, turn over on the tummy, perform strokes from the bottom up, then "herringbone".

The duration of the massage and the types of massage techniques depend on the age of the child. For babies 1.5-3 months, it is 4-5 minutes. The number of procedures is determined by the doctor, depending on the condition of the child.


Physiological tremor does not leave negative consequences for the health of the baby. As a rule, it passes to 1-3 (sometimes by 4 months). In some cases, physiological tremor can be observed up to a year. Further, the child’s nervous system is strengthened, and muscle twitching of the lips, chin and extremities completely ceases.

Pathological tremor more dangerous for the future health of the baby and needs constant monitoring and treatment (in some cases, surgery). The severity of the consequences depends on the area of ​​the brain damage: from complete recovery to the development of severe forms of intellectual disability or cerebral palsy.

With timely access to a neurologist, as a rule, treatment allows you to avoid serious consequences and to achieve restoration of the functions of the nervous system.

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