Mana is the life energy of elves that allows it to function. These elves are similiar in design to human beings. When an elf becomes pregnant, the developing fetus feeds off of its mother's mana, abosrbing it into itself and allowing it to grow. This is minimal during the first few months, with more mana being necessary at the later stages. During this time, the elf is unable to use magic. This prohibition ends after the child is born, with mana storage rising to normal levels.

Occasionally, a condition known as mana leakage occurs during this process. This happens when mana being fed to the fetus is not absorbed completely, with some of it leaking back into the mother. This is dangerous to the mother, and child, and can lead to the death of both parties. If not caught in time, this can lead to a number of effects, such as:

  1. Mana poisoning of the mother

  2. Child born with abnormalities, such as disfigurements.

  3. Hot flashes, in which mana fatally overheats the body.

Why would a elf's own mana be dangerous to her?

  • $\begingroup$ Did the channeled mana enter the fetus and then leaked out or it didn't even enter (the fetus was full, or whatever) and scattered outside the fetus, but near/inside the womb? I may have to modify my answer depending on the scenario. $\endgroup$
    – Lupus
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Lupus the former is correct. $\endgroup$
    – Incognito
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 11:29

8 Answers 8


Too much of a good thing in the wrong place.

Mana causes cell growth. The elf's biology controls the flow of mana to the right places in the body, allowing faster tissue regeneration, muscle strain healing, etc.

But if mana just leaks into the body, any tissue it comes into contact with begins to grow uncontrollably, creating large tumors made up of useless new cells. The tumor grows, and outer layers prevent mana from reaching the inside, so the cells on the inside eventually die from starvation and the tumor rots from the inside, leaving behind lumps of dead tissue that block blood vessels and prevent organs from functioning normally.

Magical microbes then feed off of the spilled mana and cause infections in the dead tissue. The immune system can't stop the mana-charged bacteria, and the elf goes into sepsis.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ According to your hypothesis the mana accelerates growth and healing, that would mean that all countermeasures against tumors would also work at accelerated pace. This means that excess cells created by the leakage will self-destruct and be re-absorbed. Since the likeliest candidates for this re-absorbtion are the excess cells the chance of erroneous cell causing cancer is much lower than if the process kept using the new cells in normal reproduction. Its like expecting a stemcell to produce a cancer cell, theoretically possible but much more unlikely than with a cell after 1000+ divisions. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 14:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Demigan A lump of dead cells killed by a supercharged, overactive immune system is a serious problem anyway. Actually, that gave me the idea that fueling the immune system with extra mana could damage the body by killing off important beneficial microbes and causing inflammation everywhere. The point is, if the body regulates energy distribution by controlling mana flow, then mana leakage means that certain parts of the body become more active than homeostatic regulation intends them to, which will definitely cause problems. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ the immune system is only partially responsible for cell self-destruction. And since mana regulates every part of a healthy system it means that removal of the re-absorbed material (rather than a bombshell of dead/necrotic cells) would be accelerated as well. Otherwise any healing process accelerated with mana would almost certainly kill the user, which is basically what mana leakage in your system would be. Inflammation wouldnt happen either as that would mean increased bloodflow and activity, which the mana would either handle or it would default to killing the user. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ Also lets not forget: if the mana can create matter to form cells and energy on leakage, then it would also be capable of removing matter forever from the universe to ensure survival of the user, rather than a bruise causing the bloodstream to instantly be blocked by accelerated healingprocesses clogging it with locally absorbed cells and new materials flooding the region. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 18:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Demigan I see your point, but even if Mana can be used to do all of these things, it needs to be controlled by the body. Antibiotics are useful in many cases, but if you spilled some into your abdomen it wouldn't be healthy. Yes, you could write in your story that Mana is a cure for everything and anything that touches it is instantly healed, but the OP clearly wants there to be negative health effects from uncontrolled Mana exposure. I see no need to give it the powers you're describing. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 19:53

Because this powers MAGIC.

Normally when using mana you kind of shape it with the spell before you send it away, giving you control over its effects. But if mana leaks randomly it is going to cause random magical effects. Most of these are benign but this kind of leakage will happen for the remaining months of the pregnancy, increasing the likelyhood that something bad for the mother and child can happen.


The properties of mana change after absorbed into sentient beings (the elves especially).

The mother, after absorbing the mana, adds its personal wavelength/attribute to the mana. During pregnancy, the mother either cleanses her property out while channeling it to the fetus or the fetus is attuned to the mothers attribute, able to absorb it. (This can serve as several mother-child plot devices later on).

Outcome 1: If it leaks out of the fetus, it already has a different bio signature/property to the mana, similar but different to the mother's.This causes something similar to blood poisoning if enough is built up, interfering in various ways with the mother. Same as the problems with human pregnancy when the mother - child have different Rh blood type.

Outcome 2: Mana being necessary for healthy growth, the lack of sufficient mana during pregnancy naturally causes disfigurements and abnormalities. No need to dwell on it. Its the same for humans, in the past or in poor regions if the mother didn't get enough nourishment the child will have problems. Just like after birth and during growing up. Bone and body shape dis-figuration. Sad example, look up Ethiopian kids pictures. Bloated stomachs, thin limbs from constant starving.

Outcome 3: The mother's and fetus's mana attribute/wavelength are opposites. After mixing in the body, they clash with each other, causing micro explosions, frictions . The mothers body not equipped to handle the extra inner heat, its over her natural tolerance level to cool herself down.


I would borrow a line from @Adrian Hall, saying that it could result from a disturbance in the mana flow as it happens in healthy, non-pregnant elves. It could work in a manner similar to the condition called pre-eclampsia in humans.

Without going into medical detail (also since I am not a doctor), it is a condition that stems from an abnormal development of the placenta and results in high blood pressure in the mother and developmental issues in the baby. In the worst case, it can cause seizures and possibly even the death of the mother and child.

In your elves it could be a (risk of) abnormal development of the organ that allows the mana flow from the mother to the baby (analogous to the human placenta). This would essentially disrupt the mana flow of the mother with the consequences you describe:

  • mana poisoning (analogous to high blood pressure)
  • abnormal baby growth (because the baby does not receive a correct/regular amount of mana)
  • risk of fatal consequences (such as eclampsia/seizures)

A nice bonus is that the mechanism and the etiology of pre-eclampsia are still quite obscure, your elvish disease could be in a similar state of "we know what happens and more or less how it happens but we don't know how to prevent it", which could lead to preventing magic use in pregnant elves on a precautionary basis.


Mana doesn't flow in one direction and it doesn't normally flow equally this unabsorbed mana could find its way back into the Mother and trigger a short term reaction thought to be harmless but in reality its mana that is outside of its normal containment. In this case the mana is "stored" in the body in a specific way and when it is leeched by a child it is transferred down a specific pathway similar to how our blood flows in our bodies. Same could be said for mana that it has pathways that stretch across your body. However the child is siphoning off from the parent and the leakage means Mana now has escaped the normal flow and is outside of its pathway.

The excess un-absorbed mana could begin to pool or collecting in area of the body. Being unable to correctly flow back to its origin point the mana will At this pointbegin affecting its surroundings. This affect manifests as an acute exposure similar to how one could be exposed to radiation they are exposed to raw unchecked mana. It causes the symptom you presented and begins to deteroriate the Elf and the offpsring the mutation could be caused from the damaging of cells and the presence of corrupted cellular instruction caused from the exposure.

I'll make an assumption based on your hypothesis that an Elf is capable of self disposing of mana internally and/or their adult existence allows the usage of Magic fueled by Mana to regulate themselves to a degree. The exposure (caused from not being properly contained and regulated) will prove eventually fatal because although the Mana is naturally produced it doesn't mean it is not powerful a good example is Stomach acid which we naturally produce in our stomachs but is a harmful thing to have splashed on your organs in parts of your body that it is not supposed to be in contact with. The cellular corruption causing mutation and defects will prove fatal in most cases unless the abnormalities are minor. Ultimately hot flashes could manifest in the parent elf as their body rallies a defense to attack and contain the abnormal cells and structure created by the exposure.


Mana production is a biological function of elves. Its precursors build up in the elves system until they are needed to form mana. The act of using magic triggers its expression, as does pregnancy. Free radical Mana floating about in the mother's system acts as a spark on tinder and the mana precursors can start reacting, releasing mana. But, it is unfocused and in excess of the unborns need. Mana, being energetic and reactive seeks the path of least resistance to release. This is through the mother's subconscious desires and innate magic use. The mana leakage results in wild and unpredictable magic that is dangerous to everyone since it is reacting to her subconscious desires and annoyances, but without proper proportion and restraint.


The mana passed from elven mother to child is a blank slate. It is the foundation of a new soul. The fetus absorbs the mana, and becomes a person, with a soul and with the natural ability to use mana to create magic.

If that creation energy goes back to the mother, you get all sorts of awful side effects. The mother’s soul could revert back to a blank, pre-birth creative state, causing massive personality changes. Or a new soul arises in the mother, in direct competition with the soul currently in residence. Sometimes the fetus possesses the mother. Or the fetus doesn’t receive enough mana to properly form a soul, and you end up with a child that is missing some key elements of a soul (with a range of horrifying side effects: unable to handle mana, doesn’t have empathy, etc).

Even rarer, the leaked soul energy creates a second, shadow pregnancy within the mother. The child is born haunted by the ghost of its nonexistent twin.


Mana is a fluid, just like blood. It has to flow.

When blood does not flow properly, it stagnates. For mammalians it also tends to coagulate, and coagulated blood in the wrong places leads to all sorts of problems.

When blood leaks in the brain you have what is called a stroke. When blood leaks in the torso we have what is generally called internal haemorrhage. Both are life threatening.

When a pregnant woman has a bleeding inside the womb, that threatens the mother and child in a lot of ways. The leak may be between the placenta and the womb, which means less blood for the child, which means the fetus will be undernourished, and risking anoxia. Anoxia itself may lead to malformations and an underdeveloped or damaged brain. Also the blood flowing where it shouldn't may lead to infections, which can lead to fever.

Just have it so that a bad or wrong flow of mana has the same effects, and you have what you want.


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