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Jitendra asked...

Why does my daughter shiver on waking?

Hello, my daughter is one year old. When she gets up from sleeping her whole body starts shivering. We have to hold her close to stop her body moving. It started with her birth - she was in a ventilator for 15 days at the time of birth (due to breathing problems). My doctor told me that it is asphyxia but she recovered very quickly from that and was discharged from hospital after treatment. Now she is doing fine expect sometimes she gets up from her sleep and her whole body shivers. What could be the cause of these symptoms and what are the precautions for this? Is there a possibility of a dangerous disease like seizure in the future?

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The answer

Jitrendra, many thanks for writing to Ask the expert. We are sorry to hear about the tough start of life that your daughter had but we are pleased that she is doing well now.

We would suggest that you see your GP with your daughter and ask for a possible Paediatric review in order to ascertain what is causing your daughter to have these shivering spells.

Some thoughts as to what could be possibly causing these episodes are:

  • Startle Reflex- Babies and young children when stirring from sleep or waking suddenly may be a bit ‘jittery’ and this is a natural reflex which they gradually grow out of.
  • Temperature Adjustment- Young babies and children are not always able to stabilize their body temperature so when waking going from a very warm cosy state to getting up to dress or bathe may cause shivering. It may be that you have too many layers covering your daughter as she sleeps making her body over warm.
  • Unstable Blood Sugar Level- sometimes when the body’s blood sugar level is low this may cause this type of reaction- you may find that having some juice available to give her when she wakes up may help.
  • Infection- Sometimes if we have temperatures as a result of infection, particularly children, we are prone to shivers/rigors as the body attempts to cool the body down.

In relation to the possible asphyxia at birth your daughter should be monitored for well being as she develops and this will hopefully help pick up any developmental delays or medical concerns such as epilepsy.

If you have concerns that this may be the start of epilepsy or other medical disorder we would very much suggest that you see a Paediatrician for investigations.

Wishing you all the very best.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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