This is a very serious disease which may occur during pregnancy, or during or after labor. It generally occurs in patients who have suffered with disease of the kidneys during labor, as shown by swelling of the feet and limbs, puffiness of the face, and the presence of albumen in the urine. Among the first symptoms are disorders of vision, as blurred sight, double vision, etc. The attack generally begins with strong muscular contraction, in which the muscles of the limbs become rigid, and respiration ceases through rigidity of the muscles of the chest. This is followed in a short time by spasmodic twitching of the various muscles. Sometimes the contractions of patients suffering with this affection are frightful. The most common, and probably the sole cause of true puerperal convulsions, is poisoning of the blood by the elements of the urine which are not eliminated on account of congestion or inflammation of the kidneys. Sometimes the attacks assume a character resembling that of epilepsy. These cases are probably due to some other cause.

The Treatment of Puerperal Convulsions

The preventive treatment of this disease is by far the most important. It consists, first, in thorough attention to the laws of hygiene relating to the pregnant state. The diet should be chiefly fruit, and farinaceous articles of food. Sugar and meat should be carefully discarded. As soon as the swelling of the feet and puffiness of the face are observed, the patient should take frequent warm baths with wet-sheet packs, vapor baths, and other treatment which will induce active sweating. Considerable quantities of water should be daily drank,-in fact, the general course laid down for Brights disease of the kidneys should be carefully followed.

At the time of the attack, vigorous efforts should be made to relieve the system of the noxious elements by which the brain and nervous system is being poisoned, through the medium of perspiration. If possible, the patient should be given a hot blanket pack, hot bottles being packed around her to induce copious sweating. If the bowels are constipated they should be relieved by a warm enema. A spoon handle wrapped with cloth should be placed between the teeth to prevent the tongue being bitten. The patient should not be violently restrained, but should be gently prevented from injuring herself. When coma is present, as is frequently the case, cold or iced compresses should be applied to the head. Hot and cold applications should be made to the spine. If these measures do not bring relief, chloroform maybe used to subdue the spasms. This remedy is generally effective. When the contractions have ceased, energetic measures should be taken to prevent their occurrence, by exciting activity of the kidneys and skin.