Chloe Milton faces an anxious wait until her baby is born after being bitten by a tiger snake.
Chloe Milton faces an anxious wait until her baby is born after being bitten by a tiger snake. Cathy Adams

Fears for unborn baby after tiger snake bite

CHLOE Milton still has to wait another two months to find out whether her unborn baby daughter was harmed after she was bitten by a tiger snake.

The mother of two was just eight weeks pregnant when she was bitten by a snake on her ankle in February.

Ms Milton, her partner Jason Davis, and her children Harley, 6, and Ruby, 4, were staying at her mum's house in Bentley when she trod on something in a bedroom and felt a tap on her ankle.

"I wasn't too worried," she said.

"Then I looked down and saw a snake slithering into my room.

"I squealed and said, 'Mum, I've just been bitten by a snake'."

Tiger snake.
Tiger snake. Kari Robinson

Being pregnant, Ms Milton thought she should go to the hospital.

Within five minutes she could feel her heart pounding, and 10 minutes later she collapsed.

"I was in and out of consciousness," Ms Milton said.

"I was convulsing and my breathing was affected."

When she arrived at the Lismore Base Hospital, staff monitored her while they tested the bite to identify what type of snake was responsible.

It took a few hours to determine that Ms Milton was bitten by a tiger snake, and by that time she was vomiting and suffering abdominal pain.

With the doctors' priority to save her life, Ms Milton thought she was going to lose her baby.

She became more alarmed when doctors were obliged to talk her through the risks and adverse reactions she could experience from the anti-venom.

"I was pretty scared thinking it could all go wrong, thinking about my children," she said.

"It was a relief when they said, 'You've done really well'."

Ms Milton's blood had been thinned by the venom and doctors worried she might start bleeding or could have a miscarriage.

She spent two days in intensive care, undergoing blood tests every four to six hours.

With the pregnancy at an early stage, it was believed the venom was probably not shared to the baby, but doctors have not been able to tell her definitively that her baby was not harmed.

Experts know very little about the effects of venom and anti-venom on babies in utero because it is so uncommon.

"The doctors have said that it's quite unusual for them to treat a pregnant woman bitten by a snake," Ms Milton said, adding that doctors have been interested in her case.

"They just don't know. They don't have any answers really."

A 12-week scan raised concerns about the baby's growth.

While it was not attributed to the snake bite, the news only added to their anxiety about the baby.

More ultrasound scans have shown her daughter is now growing well and meeting her milestones, but Ms Milton said she will "not be 100% sure until I see her".

Ms Milton is now 32 weeks pregnant and has suffered aches and sore muscles, and thinks the snake bite has impacted her immune system.

However she is feeling pretty resilient.

"I think I'm pretty tough," she said.

"I survived it - it could have all gone wrong."



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