I Had Toxemia and Preeclampsia

Posted by Jo Ann Schlicker on August 18, 2015

“You will have convulsions now,” the strange doctor told me. I had a month left in my fifth pregnancy but started labor. I had been feeling quite sick for only the last week. I had regular prenatal care, but things turned bad in a big hurry. My doctor had a night off and turned off his phone. A new doctor attended me.

I replied that I was not in the mood for that. No seizures and I didn’t. The nurses were in the corner whispering. I had the strange feeling that they were concerned about me and my baby.

They said I had toxemia but later found out that it was really preeclampsia. It is a condition that only occurs in pregnancy. It only affects five to eight percent of pregnancies. Eclampsia is an extreme form of it.

Who is at risk to develop toxemia, preeclampsia or eclampsia? It occurs most commonly in first-time mothers, very young or older mothers, moms pregnant with multiple babies, those with high blood pressure or kidney disease before pregnancy and obese women with a BMI over 30.

In the mother, it can cause kidney failure, cardiovascular problems and in cases of eclampsia, seizures. In babies, it can cause low birth weight due to the infant not getting enough blood and nutrients through the placenta.  In worst case scenarios, it can cause death to the mother, baby or both.

Symptoms include high blood pressure, protein in the urine, water retention, headaches, blurry vision, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain and infrequent urination. Call your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms between visits.

HELLP Syndrome is another manifestation of these problems. It affects the liver and breaks down red blood cells.

The best way to prevent the condition is by keeping regular prenatal doctor visits. Your physician can check your  health and treat any problems before they become serious.

Follow his advice on nutrition, vitamins, and tests.  He may tell you to restrict salt, increase fluid intake and eat more protein.

Tests may include blood pressure, kidney function, blood clotting factors and a scan to measure blood flow to the placenta. Make sure to follow all of your doctor’s advice to ensure a healthy baby and a good outcome for you, the mother.

I made it through alright and so did my baby. The doctor is not sure why I developed toxemia and preeclampsia. It took a lot of medication and a private dark room for a few days, but eventually we went home, another happy family.