Mrs. B., of this city, was confined on the 12th March, at about eight months. She is a blonde, with light hair and eyes, nervous sanguine temperament, highly intellectual and cultivated; in short, a very agreeable and refined lady of about thirty years of age. Previous to this, she had had three children; with the first she had convulsions, (I am not sure whether immediately before or after confinement). With the third child she escaped these formidable attacks, as the result of great care and of medication for months before, with direct reference to their avoidance through the aid of homoeopathic treatment; and she did escape, although repeatedly and severely threatened, and gave birth to a fine healthy boy, who is now about five years of age; and from this confinement she got up very rapidly and as well as any woman ever did.
In consequence of a slight fall upon the ice in the latter part of the winter, and partly perhaps from over exertion from excitement afterwards, she was taken in the afternoon of March 11th 1865, with the peculiar nervousness and feelings of apprehension that had preceded and ushered in those violent convulsions of her first two confinements, as well as the threatenings of the third confinement, but at this time they seemed much more decided emphatic and in connection with the fact that she had not gone beyond the eighth month of pregnancy, betokened a formidable and dangerous illness, which augury was most fully verified in her subsequent history.
Without entering into full details, I will state that she had her first convulsion at about seven, p. m., of the 11th March, and between that time and eight o'clock of the next morning she had fifteen distinct and separate convulsions of an epileptiform character and most violent and frightful in degree, presenting all the phenomena of that horrible disease at each repetition. Having attended her at and before her third confinement, and understanding the history of the first, I fully comprehended the danger attending this one and immediately gave her Pulsatilla in the 12th or 21st dilution with the view of hastening the labor, believing that the convulsions would not cease until the foetus was expelled, except with her life; for, in addition to the convulsions, she had during the interval between them the most frantic delirium, with biting, and tearing and endeavoring to escape from the bed, so that it required, for nearly the whole night, four female attendants to hold her still, and with all this she was besides, totally blind and deaf; (she has been partially deaf since her two first confinements and in consequence of the conditions attending them, as is supposed).
At or about three or four o'clock of the morning of the 12th, I made a vaginal examination (the nurse had made one some hours earlier and found no dilatation of the os uteri) when I found that labor was progressing satisfactorily if not rapidly, with a head presentation, this gave me great hope and courage, although her pulse had become quite feeble and her strength was evidently failing. From this, labor progressed coincidently with the alternate delirium and spasms until about half past eight o'clock of the morning of the 12th March, when she was safely delivered of a dead child, and shortly after of the placenta, and was then as comfortably put to bed as the circumstances of the case would admit. After the termination of the labor the convulsions ceased altogether, although there were several subsequent attacks of the delirium, and she was not restored to consciousness or sight and hearing until the following day during the forenoon. From this severe and dangerous illness she rapidly recovered, and was up and about the house within four weeks from her confinement, and has continued in her usual state of health ever since.
I will now state a physiological fact that I observed during the progress of the labor and which fact led to this communication, viz.; that the labor progressed only during the stage of delirium, while that of the spasms was characterized by an entire absence of uterine contractions or in other words the delirium marked the recurrence of the labor pains although there was no other evidence of pain, while the spasms marked the intermissions between the pains. In the absence of this positive evidence I should have supposed that the contrary would have been the fact, the convulsions attending the progress of labor, and the delirium the intermissions. I administered successively, Belladonna, Ignatia and Hyoscyamus, at about the 12th and 21st attenuations, to control or modify the spasms.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 06 No. 01, 1865, pages 22-24
|Clinical Contribution; Convulsions during labor
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