What Is Toxemia?


Toxemia is a condition that can cause death for both the mother and child because it often occurs during pregnancy. It is identified by a sudden elevation of blood pressure causing arteries to constrict and limit blood flow to the placenta.


  • The cause of toxemia is unknown. It occurs during first pregnancies, with a lower risk in subsequent pregnancies unless it is with a new partner. There are no tests to tell if a woman is predisposed to the disease or not.


  • Major symptoms are sudden elevated blood pressure; swelling of hands, feet and face; or high protein levels in collected urine. Abdominal pain, dizziness and headache can accompany symptoms as well.


  • Treatment can include blood pressure medication, complete or partial bed rest, and reduction of intake of salt. Many times babies will have to be born early through inducement or C-section.


  • Prevention measures include drinking water, exercise, lying on left side so blood circulates better and taking prenatal vitamins.

Resulting Complications

  • Liver and kidney damage or vision problems can be a result of toxemia. Toxemia can cause convulsions that lead to coma or death. There is also a chance of stroke. These dangers are present for both mother and child.


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