The Center for Unhindered Living

Metabolic Toxemia of Late Pregnancy

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Metabolic Toxemia of Late Pregnancy is very dangerous and is brought on by malnutrition; specifically, it seems to be induced by inadequate protein intake during pregnancy, and multiple vitamin deficiencies.

This condition occurs in about 7% of all pregnant American women, and occurs most frequently in first pregnancies.  It usually occurs after 30 weeks, but has occasionally occurred between 24 and 30 weeks.  My opinion about why it occurs more frequently in first pregnancies, is that during their first pregnancies, women are unaware of how important nutrition is, and are unaware of just how much extra, high quality food it takes to grow a healthy baby.  They haven't been pregnant before and haven't thought much about eating healthily.

Possible symptoms are:  protein in urine, elevated blood pressure, headaches, dizziness, fainting, ringing in the ears, extreme swelling of the limbs, hyperreactivity of some reflexes, epigastric pain, and death.

Very simply, if you are not getting enough protein (80 to 100 grams per day), and if you are not getting enough calcium/magnesium, your liver cannot function properly, and the tissues of the body begin metabolizing themselves to provide for your protein needs, specifically kidney tissue.  Some of the protein that is broken down is excreted into the urine, which is why there will be protein in the urine.  Blood pressure and edema (swelling) are due to poor mineral balance, specifically calcium/magnesium imbalance.

Nutritional Guidelines for Pregnant Women

1.  80 to 100 grams of protein each day.

2.  Natural prenatal vitamin supplement.  Make sure it is not the drug store variety, as these are almost always synthetically produced and are not broken down absorbed well by the body.  The vitamin should also contain some digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid, since many women do not have enough HCL in their stomachs to break down a vitamin tablet.

3.  DO NOT restrict salt intake.  When salt intake is restricted, the placenta may grow slowly or not at all.  Your body cannot make enough new blood for you and the baby without adequate salt.  Salt restriction can actually cause high blood pressure and swelling, rather than prevent them.  Use sea salt instead of iodized sodium chloride, and stay away from processed, prepackaged foods which contain this sodium chloride in abundance.

4.  Drink plenty of fluids, AVOIDING coffee, tea, or soft drinks of any kind that have sugar, artificial sweetners, or caffeine.  Caffeine overstimulates the glands that regulate blood sugar, and is implicated in birth defects, miscarriages, and infertility even with moderate use.  Drink at least 64 ounces of filtered water each day, along with fresh (NOT bottled or canned) fruit juices and herbal teas. Stevia is an acceptable sweetner during pregnancy.

5.  Take NO DRUGS of any kind, especially not over-the-counter decongestants, antihistamines, cough syrups, laxaatives, pain relievers, or any other drug unless you have a pre-existing medical condition for which medication is LIFE OR DEATH.

6.  Abstain from smoking and alcohol consumption.

7.  Purchase foods free from artificial flavors and colors, preservatives, artificial sweetners, nitrates and nitrites found in hot dogs, luncheon meats, bologna, and ham.  These put a strain on the liver to detoxify, and have been proven to cause cancer.

8.  Eat frequent, small meals throughout the day, and night if possible.  If you happen to get up to go to the bathroom at night, eat a high protein snack before going back to bed.  This will lessen the possibility of morning sickeness and keeps your blood sugar up where it belongs, as well as keeping it at a more uniform level, which is better for baby.

9.  Purchase food free from pesticides and sprays if possible, preferably organically grown.

10. DO NOT worry about how much weight you are gaining.  A larger weight gain is associated with a healthier baby.   As long as you are eating healthy, whole foods, the weight gain is not important.  Furthermore, pregnancy is not the time to cut down on fat grams or calories.  Fats are necessary for the proper growth and formation of the baby.  Cholesterol need not be a factor in you choice of foods, since female hormones protect women in the childbearing years against heart attack.

11. If you are going to use dairy products, use whole milk, not skim.  The fat in whole milk is present in just the right amount to promote efficient breakdown and absorption of calcium.  If fat is absent, as in skim milk, calcium will not be broken down and assimilated.  Buying products to which calcium has been added, such as orange juice, is a waste of money because the calcium will not be absorbed. It is preferable to use fresh RAW milk, straight from the cow whenever possible.

12. Cut out products that contain sugar and white flour, since these ARE associated with elevated cholesterol levels, self-induced diabetes, and a whole host of other health problems.  Also, they represent empty calories with very little nutrition, and adversely affect blood sugar levels.

13. Eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can.

14. Take no diuretics during pregnancy!

In order to get 80 to 100 grams protein per day, you will probably have to consult a protein counter to make sure you are getting enough.  If you have trouble getting enough protein each day, here is a recipe that you can make which will give you approximately 65 grams of protein.  For more information on avoiding toxemia or pre-eclampsia with diet, see the Brewer Diet, which discuss the proper diet in detail. Dr. Brewer is the authority on this subject.

Protein Milkshake

1 quart whole milk, preferably raw
1/2 cup instant powdered milk
2 whole eggs, preferably fertile
1 tablespoon molasses or raw unheated honey
1 banana or 1 orange, or
1 cup of your favorite fruit
1 tsp. vanilla/almond extract

Mix in blender with several ice cubes.

15.  According to Margie Profit in "Pregnancy Sickness", foods to avoid during the first trimester of pregnancy because they contain teratogens dangerous to the developing embryo:

Vegetables with strong or bitter flavors, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and peppers

Spices and herbs, including basil, bay leaves, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, marjoram, mint, nutmeg, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme.

Pungent or bitter plants used to flavor foods, such as onions, garlic, hot peppers and mustard.


Potatoes - because of strong toxins that reside just under the skin

Barbecued or burnt foods

Beverages derived from bitter plant parts, including coffee (whether caffeinated or decaffeinated), tea, herb teas, and colas

I leave it up to the individual woman to decide, using her intuition, if these foods need to be abstained from as per Ms. Profit. I believe these foods can be a problem for some mothers but not for others. So use your good judgement . Perhaps try the foods, listen to your body, and decide based upon your reaction whether to eat them or not, or just abstain to be on the safe side.

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I have experience with this issue of toxemia / pre-eclampsia because I was told during my first pregnancy that I had it. I was forced to check into the hospital (I say forced, I was young and impressionable and didn't know I could stand up for myself and refuse to do this)  forced to constantly lay on my left side, which they say lowers your blood pressure.  I was given blood pressure medicine and forced to take phenabarbitol because they thought I might have seizures.  My blood pressure was really not that high, and we found out later that, because they had been using the wrong size blood pressure cuff for my large arms, it was inflating the readings, so my pressure was not acutally as high as they were saying. See the prenatal care page to learn about blood pressure, or see our Products for Unhindered Living below to get a product that will fit your arm. They did give me vitamin supplements, but they were synthetic, so they did not help my condition.  See Is Natural or Synthetic Best? to learn why the kind of vitamin you take is very important. 

    This is the book that started it all for me.  After my hospital birth, I read this book and when I found that so much
    of what I was going through could have been prevented through diet, I was furioius for all the doctors put me through.
    They didn't have a clue about what to do except give dangerous medications and make me miserable with having
    to lay in bed constantly. Adelle Davis is now deceased, but you can get used copies of this book through

    Click Here to Check it Out!

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Copyright 2001-13  Judie C. McMath and The Center for Unhindered Living

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