Preeclampsia (toxemia of pregnancy)

Pelvis | Obstetrics and Gynaecology | Preeclampsia (toxemia of pregnancy) (Disease)


Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs only during pregnancy. Preeclampsia may also be called toxemia and is often precluded by gestational hypertension. It affects about 2-6% of healthy, first time mothers.

Symptoms include:

(1) Mild preeclampsia: high blood pressure, water retention, and protein in the urine.

(2) Severe preeclampsia: headaches, blurred vision, inability to tolerate bright light, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, urinating small amounts, pain in the upper right abdomen, shortness of breath, and tendency to bruise easily.

(3) If preeclampsia is not treated quickly and properly, it can lead to serious complications for the mother such as liver or renal failure, future cardiovascular issues and two other conditions directly related to preeclampsia that can be life threatening.

Causes and Risk factors

A family history of Preeclampsia (Toxemia of Pregnancy) greatly increases the possibility of occurrence. Late pregnancy, multiple child carrying mothers, young age mothers are more prone to this condition. If you have a medical history of high blood pressure or kidney ailments then your chances of preeclampsia increases. Some other risk factors include: chromosomal abnormality, maternal serum alpha feto protein, first time mothers.

The placenta may be deprived off blood, this in turn results in lower nutrients for the baby. This decreases the weight of the baby. This is a possibility and you may not necessarily encounter the same problems. With proper care and regular check us Preeclampsia (Toxemia of Pregnancy) is easily prevented.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is made by the combination of high blood pressure and protein in the urine, occurring after week 20 of pregnancy.

Treatment includes intravenous magnesium and aggressive blood pressure control with medications (hydralazine, labatalol). Definitive treatment is delivery of the baby. ...