Tanealle Fulton recently had a seizure and she wants people to know the importance of first aid training.
Tanealle Fulton recently had a seizure and she wants people to know the importance of first aid training. John McCutcheon

Pregnant woman's plea to public after shock seizure

IT WAS the middle of the night and Tanealle Fulton had gone to bed as normal but woke on the floor with paramedics looking down at her.

The 28-year-old woman had had a massive seizure and her shocked husband, Jake, had called an ambulance.

Mrs Fulton was pregnant, and she didn't know that yet. She also had no idea she was epileptic.

"My husband (said), 'you've been out of it for 20 minutes - unresponsive for 20 minutes," she said.

"I had no idea I had epilepsy," Mrs Fulton said. "I'm 28 and never had anything go wrong, so it was such a shock.

The Peregian Beach resident was rushed to hospital and before having an MRI done, she was tested for pregnancy.

The test showed she was pregnant, and subsequent tests revealed she suffered from epilepsy.

"I was having deja vu a lot, which is a classic sign of epilepsy," she said.

"I was wanting to sleep a lot and wasn't feeling 100 per cent."

The couple were married last year and decided to "wait a while" before having a baby. But nature had other plans.

Now six months into her pregnancy, Mrs Fulton said she was lucky she had supportive family and friends, as her licence was revoked due to the condition.

The risk of her having a seizure was greatly reduced thanks to medication, but she still finds the thought of having one in public terrifying.

"The more people knowing how to perform first aid the better," she said.

"My husband didn't know what to do. He's spun into action, but how many people know what to do?

"I had no idea 'til they told me."

She said doctors had not thought pregnancy had triggered the episode but she felt it might have.

"Just all the hormonal change," she said.

There's no way of predicting if or when another seizure might occur, she said.

"I have to be really safe with the baby, just in case - like, I can't bathe her when I'm alone," she said.

Mr Fulton worked full time as a plasterer and the couple were prepared for some "tough" months ahead, but the pair were also "really excited", Mrs Fulton said.

"I'm nervous, obviously, but doctors have said it won't happen now I'm on medication," she said.

"But it's still in the back of your mind."


Epilepsy Australia provides useful advice on the common types of seizure. Visit epilepsyaustralia.net for complete first aid information.

Tonic clonic / grand mal seizure:

During a tonic clonic seizure a person's body stiffens and they fall to the ground (the tonic phase).

Their limbs then begin to jerk in strong, symmetrical, rhythmic movements (the clonic phase).

The person may dribble from the mouth, go blue or red in the face, and occasionally lose control of their bladder and/or bowel.


  • Stay calm - remain with the person.
  • Time the seizure.
  • Protect from injury - remove any hard objects from the area.
  • Protect the head - place something soft under their head and loosen any tight clothing.
  • Gently roll the person on their side as soon as it is possible to do so and firmly push the angle of the jaw forward to assist with breathing. A person cannot 'swallow their tongue' but the tongue can move back to cause a serious block to breathing.
  • Stay with the person until the seizure ends naturally and calmly talk to the person until the regain consciousness, usually within a few minutes.
  • Reassure the person that they are safe and that you will stay with them while they recover.


  • Restrain the person's movements.
  • Force anything into the mouth.
  • Give the person water, pills or food until they are fully alert.
  • After the seizure, the person should be placed on their side. There is a small risk of post-seizure vomiting, before the person is fully alert. Therefore the person's head should be turned so that any vomit will drain out of the mouth without being inhaled. Stay with the person until he/she recovers (five to 20 minutes).

Call an ambulance - 000 - if:

  • The seizure activity lasts 5 or more minutes or a second seizure quickly follows.
  • The person remains non-responsive for more than 5 minutes after the seizure stops.
  • The person is having a greater number of seizures than is usual for them.
  • The person is injured, goes blue in the face or has swallowed water.
  • The person is pregnant.
  • You know, or believe it to be, the person's first seizure.
  • You feel uncomfortable dealing with the seizure at the time.

Note: Prolonged, continuous, or repetitive tonic clonic seizures require urgent medical attention.