Preeclampsia – toxemia

Introduction to preeclampsia – toxemia

Did you know that preeclampsia affects at least 5 – 8% of all pregnancies? Preeclampsia is considered as the most common pregnancy complication which usually occurs during the 3rd trimester (usually week 20 onwards).

On the other hand, toxemia refers to the former medical term for preeclampsia. It also serves as a generic term which refers to the presence of toxins in blood, which will eventually lead to blood poisoning.


Every so often, pre – eclampsia – toxemia is barred by gestational hypertension. While gestational high blood pressure does not automatically indicate pre – eclampsia – toxemia, as it may be an indication of another complication.

Surprisingly, at the present time, the exact sources of preeclampsia – toxemia remain a mystery. Some studies singled out a number of indicators that is associated to the development of the disease, such that of genomic and immunologic mechanisms.

Signs and symptoms of preeclampsia – toxemia

The indicators of preeclampsia – toxemia vary from woman to woman. In line with this, below are the following signs and symptoms which fall under the following stages of the said condition:

Pregnancy week by week

Pre – eclampsia – toxemia in general

  • High – blood pressure (abbreviated as HGH)
  • Pregnancy – induced chronic hypertension
  • Albuminuria – is the leaking of excessive amount of protein albumin into the urine
  • Edema – pregnancy swelling particularly in the hands, ankles, feet and even the face
  • Blurred eye vision
  • The feeling of malaise
  • Non – dependent edema – pregnancy swelling in then minor areas of the body
  • Epigastric ache

Mild pre – eclampsia – toxemia

  • Fluid retention – is a condition where there is an excessive amount and/or irregular buildup of fluid. Preferably in the circulatory system, body tissues and cavities
  • Proteinuria – is a condition where a high volume of protein content is found in the urine. A proteinuria serves as a pre – cursor to kidney disease

Severe pre – eclampsia – toxemia

  • Occasional headaches
  • Light – colored eyes (photophobia or photosensitivity in medical terms) – increased sensitivity or unable to tolerate bright light
  • Pregnancy – induced fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Urinary tract infection (abbreviated as UTI, oliguria in medical terms)
  • Pain in the upper right region in the abdominal cavity
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea in medical terms)
  • Susceptibility to have bruises

Eclampsia – toxemia

  • Series of seizures

In some cases, pre – eclampsia – toxemia can also be an indicator of severe complications such as the following enlisted below:

  • Comatose (coma for short) – is when a person falls in a deep sleep for a long period of time. Being in a coma shuts the person in complete absence of consciousness where he is unable to move, feel, hear, and even speak
  • Placental abruption (abruptio placentae in medical terms) – is the detachment (can be partial or complete) of the placental lining from the inner wall of the uterus. It is a life – threatening condition where the unborn baby will be deprived of the oxygen and nutrient access. Eventually, placental abruption will lead to severe bleeding which is dangerous on both parties

If the above mentioned signs and symptoms persist, seek for medical attention immediately.

Risks and life – threatening effects of preeclampsia – toxemia

Did you know that certain indigenous groups are being singled out to have numerous cases of suffering from preeclampsia – toxemia? Medical practitioners revealed that the African – American populace tops the list of being affected with this condition.

Who is at risk of having pre – eclampsia – toxemia?

Studies show that there are proven factors whether a pregnant woman is at risk of being affected with this type of pregnancy complication or not. Below are the following contributing factors that have higher risks of developing preeclampsia – toxemia:

  • First – time expectant mothers
  • History record of pregnancy – induced hypertension
  • Women who suffered from high – blood pressure prior to gestation
  • Women who suffered from kidney disease (before and/or during gestation)
  • Women who suffers from diabetes
  • Women who have long intervals between pregnancies
  • Artificial reproductive procedures with multi – fetal gestation
  • Genetically passed down diseases – women whose first degree relatives (mothers, grandmothers, aunts, or even sisters) have had preeclampsia – toxemia are highly likely to be at risk
  • Female offspring of mothers who have been affected
  • Expectant mothers who are carrying twins and/or multiples
  • Obese women with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 above
  • Women with age 20 years and below (teenagers)
  • Women with age 40 years and above

How does it impose life – threatening effects on the expectant mother?

How pre – eclampsia – toxemia affect pregnant women vary from one another. Some expectant mothers have a higher tendency to progress the disease while some suffer from it whenever they get pregnant.

This gestational syndrome can affect one female patient gradually or the other way around.


Eclampsia is a rare but severe condition which brings an onset of shakings in the mother. This stage is the aftermath of preeclampsia that was left untreated.

HELLP Syndrome

Did you know that about 0.2 – 0.6% of all gestations are affected with HELLP syndrome? In line with this, about 4 – 12% of mothers who are diagnosed with preeclampsia have developed HELLP syndrome.

A HELLP syndrome is a life – threatening complication which usually occurs during the latter months of pregnancy. It is considered to be an alternative of preeclampsia – toxemia which ruins the splitting of RBCs and affects the liver and blood clot function during gestation.

Furthermore, the HELLP syndrome stands for:

  • Hemolysis – the rupturing of erythrocytes/red blood cells
  • Elevated liver function
  • Low amount of platelets (thrombocytopenia in medical terms)

If pre – eclampsia – toxemia is not given an immediate medical treatment and proper care, this will eventually lead to severe complications such as:

  • Acute liver failure
  • Renal insufficiency (widely known as kidney failure)
  • Future cardiovascular complications
  • Stroke
  • Convulsions
  • Blood clotting abnormalities
  • Loss of eye vision

On the bright side, most women who have had pre – eclampsia – toxemia are still able to deliver a healthy baby; especially if the pregnancy complication has been determined early and is given with sufficient pre – natal care.

How does it impose life – threatening effects on the unborn baby?

Did you know that pre – eclampsia – toxemia also affects the unborn baby? With that being said, below are the following ways of how it affects the average fetus’s growth and development:

  • Prevents the placenta (baby’s life support system) from getting enough blood supply. Because of that, the fetus will get less oxygen and nutrients
  • May lead to low fetal weight (below the 10th percentile for his current gestational age) in newborns
  • Intrauterine growth restriction (abbreviated as IUGR) – is a condition where the unborn baby’s size is smaller than the average
  • Placental separation that could eventually lead to severe fetal complications that is, death

Even though preeclampsia – toxemia is considered as a serious pregnancy complication, this genetically passed down disease always resolute right after the newborn baby is conceived.

Tips and to do’s to preclude preeclampsia – toxemia

Did you know that there is no proven way to prevent the development of preeclampsia – toxemia? However, on the bright side, there are a variety of ways to lower the instances and to confirm if a pregnant woman is affected or not.

Medical tests to determine preeclampsia – toxemia

Medical facilities provide a variety of prenatal tests to determine if a pregnant woman is affected with preeclampsia – toxemia. With that being said, below are the following medical tests that she needs to request:

  • Blood pressure check
  • Blood tests
  • Urine pH (personal hygiene) and sodium level test
  • Kidney function tests
  • Coagulation – checking the functions and mechanisms of blood clotting
  • Obstetric ultrasound scan – to check the unborn baby’s growth and development
  • Doppler ultrasound examination – to efficiently measure the amount of blood flow through the placenta

Precautionary measures to prevent preeclampsia – toxemia

At the present time, there are no proven ways to prevent preeclampsia – toxemia. However in general, below are the following ways to lessen the instances of the said condition:

  • Regular exercise
  • Lessen the consummation of greasy and/or fried foods
  • Avoid munching on junk foods
  • Lift up feet several times a day (either in a sitting or standing position)
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages
  • Avoid food and drinks with caffeine content
  • Maintain a normal weight gain before the journey of pregnancy begins
  • Maintain low sugar levels as to prevent diabetes
  • Be impregnated with short intervals in between

For mild preeclampsia – toxemia

If an expectant mother has mild preeclampsia – toxemia and the unborn baby have not reached the level of full maturity just yet. The medical practitioner will advise the following preventive measures enlisted below:

  • Sleep or lay on the left side of the body – This type of sleeping or laying position supports optimum blood circulation, since it prevents the weight of the unborn baby on pressing the major blood vessels
  • Frequent prenatal checkups
  • Bed rest

For severe preeclampsia – toxemia

During the course of gestation, (until a pregnant woman is far enough to labor and deliver safely) the medical practitioner will treat an expectant mother with a variety of blood pressure medications.

With that being said, taking a blood pressure medication provides a variety of options such that of the following below:

  • Diuretics (also called as water pills)
  • Angiotensin – converting enzyme (abbreviated as ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • Beta blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Renin inhibitors

Treatment options for preeclampsia – toxemia

Treatment options for preeclampsia – toxemia solely depend on how close an expectant mother is on her estimated due date and the level of the unborn baby’s maturity. That said, below are the treatment options for the resulting stages:

For preeclampsia – toxemia in general

Enlisted below are the following treatment options for pre – eclampsia – toxemia in general terms:

  • Induction of labor and delivery
  • Caesarian section

For mild preeclampsia – toxemia

Enlisted below are the following treatment options if pre – eclampsia – toxemia is still mild:

  • Avoid salty foods or reduce the amount of salt and sodium consummation
  • Drink at least 6 – 8 glasses of water per day
  • Consume more protein

Severe preeclampsia – toxemia

Enlisted below are the following treatment options if pre – eclampsia – toxemia is at its severe stage:

  • Dietary supplements
  • Anticonvulsant medication (widely known as anti – seizures) – this type of medication calms the hyperactivity in the brain to gently stop seizures