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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