Posted by MRK on 29th October 2012

Causes Of Toxemia In Pregnancy: Symptoms And How To Prevent It?

Pregnancy can sometimes come with certain undesirable and negative health conditions. One such condition is toxemia or also known as preeclampsia that only occurs during pregnancy. If this condition is detected in early stages and treated well, women can deliver healthy babies. This is a serious condition that mothers-to-be should read about.

Toxemia or preeclampsia occurs when the blood pressure increases and protein is present in the urine in a pregnant woman after 20th week. It has the ability to affect every organ system in a woman, hence resulting in renal failures, strokes, convulsions, blindness, coagulation abnormalities and more.

The damage can also extend to the fetus by hindering growth, separating the placenta, and in very serious cases can lead to the death of the baby.

What Causes Toxemia In Pregnancy?

The causes of toxemia in pregnancy are still under debate but there are several risk factors that could lead to this condition, these are:

  • Obese women or with a BMI of 30 and greater.
  • A first time mother.
  • Women with kidney disease or high blood pressure before pregnancy.
  • Women carrying multiple babies and who are younger than 20 years or older than 40 years.
  • Previous preeclampsia or gestational hypertension history.
  • Women whose mothers or sisters have had toxemia.
  • Women of African-American ethnicity.

Symptoms Of Toxemia During Pregnancy

Symptoms of toxemia vary from woman to woman; while some may experience mild symptoms, others may display more severe manifestations of the disorder. These are:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Water retention.
  • Protein in urine.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Headaches.
  • Intolerance to bright lights.
  • Urination in small amounts or frequent urination.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Fatigue.
  • Vomiting.
  • Nausea.
  • Seizures.
  • Pain in the upper quadrant of the abdomen.

If you face these symptoms, call your doctor immediately, who will diagnose you by checking your blood pressure, urine levels, and ordering blood tests. Other tests that may have to be performed will be an ultrasound scan, kidney functioning tests, blood clotting functioning tests, and a Doppler’s scan.

How To Prevent Preeclampsia?

There are certain things you can do as well to avoid preeclampsia such as:

  • Exercise – this will help to lower your risk of preeclampsia.
  • Shorter intervals – long intervals between pregnancies increase the risk of toxemia, shorter intervals may reduce the chances. Consult with your doctor.
  • Diet – eat a balanced and healthy diet. Include more protein in your diet.
  • Obesity can be a risk factor in toxemia. Avoid fatty and greasy foods, caffeinated and carbonated drinks, and alcohol and smoking.
  • Salt – eat less salt. Consumption of salt can lead to high blood pressure. Drink lot of water to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Position – lay on the left side to take the weight off the baby from the major blood vessels.

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