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August 28, 1915


Author Affiliations


From the Obstetrical, James Buchanan Brady Urological, and Medical Clinics of the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

JAMA. 1915;LXV(9):779-782. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580090027008

From the beginning to the middle of the nineteenth century, it was believed that the total volume of circulating blood underwent an increase in pregnancy, with a relative increase in the fixed elements. This condition was called "plethora of pregnancy" and all untoward symptoms were treated by bleeding and cupping.

It was later shown by Andral and Gavarret, Becquerel and Rodier, and Reignauld1 that in the last months of pregnancy the red cells and albuminous content decreased, whereas the white cells and water content of the blood increased. The theory of chlorosis or chloro-anemia of pregnancy was thereupon developed by Reignauld, Cazeaux, Kiwisch and Scanzoni,1 and an increase of diet replaced bleeding as a therapeutic measure.

French obstetricians, and particularly Kiwisch, later modified this view and postulated an increase in the total blood volume with a relative increase in the water content, and termed this condition "serous plethora."