Real Mom: My Baby Had a Stroke

The Facts About Stroke

Who's Most Likely to Be Affected?
Stroke is a risk factor for babies with congenital heart disease, blood disorders such as sickle cell disease, and infections including meningitis and encephalitis. Premature babies, whose blood vessels are more fragile, can suffer bleeding in the brain known as hemorrhagic strokes. Stroke can also occur when mothers have a history of infertility, or preeclampsia, or antiphospholipid syndrome, an immune-system disorder that can cause recurrent miscarriage. But in 10-20 percent of cases, the cause of stroke is unknown.

What Are the Signs?
Infants might have seizures or twitches in only one arm or one leg, show a weakness on one side of the body, or have delays with their speech as well as with crawling and walking. Young children might limit their arm or leg movements or show a preference for one hand, and they might also have language delays.

What Are the Long-Term Effects?
In addition to weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, a stroke can cause a child to have trouble with swallowing or speech; he might also find it hard to control his emotions, remember things, or problem-solve. The long-term complications of a stroke might include cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and psychiatric disorders such as ADHD.

More Support
For information and inspiration about children recovering from a stroke, check out lovethatmax.blogspot.com, mom Ellen Seidman's blog about her son and being the parent of a child who has special needs.

Originally published in the September 2010 issue of Parents magazine.

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