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Is Hypertension common in Pregnancy?

Is Hypertension common in Pregnancy?

by: Dr. Nupur Gupta
Consultant and Unit Head Gynecology

Pregnancy induced hypertension is a complication characterized by high blood pressure (more than 140/90), swelling due to fluid retention and presence of protein in the urine (Proteinuria). Pregnancy induced hypertension affects 5-10% of pregnant women. It is more commonly seen during first pregnancies.

What are the risk factors leading to hypertension during pregnancy?

 A woman is more likely to develop hypertension if she-

  • Is overweight and leads a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Has a history of smoking and alcohol consumption.
  • Have had multiple pregnancies.
  • Has diabetes before pregnancy.
  • Has a family history of pregnancy induced hypertension?
  • Is suffering from certain kidney disease.
  • Is under 2 years or more than 35 years of age at the time of pregnancy.

Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension:

  1. High Blood Pressure- Blood pressure readings 140/90 or higher in pregnant female measured in a sitting position.
  2. Rapid Weight Gain- Patient has sudden weight gain due to increased fluid retention which also causes swelling of hands, feet, and face.
  3. Proteinuria- Presence of protein in the urine.
  4. Other symptoms- Include severe headaches, excessive vomiting, blurring of vision and in severe cases decrease in urine output.

Precautions during pregnancy induced hypertension:

  • It is very important for a patient with Pregnancy Induced Hypertension ti visit her doctor regularly and follow doctor’s advice. This will help to detect any complication if developing due to pregnancy induced hypertension to detected at any age.
  • Avoid eating food articles which contain an excessive amount of salt. This helps in reducing water retention.
  • Take calcium supplements regularly as it lowers diastolic blood pressure.
  • Diet- It is important to maintain a balanced diet consisting of 50-60 percent of carbohydrates (avoiding refined foods) about 20 percent fat nad rest as protein.
  • It is very important to get all investigations done regularly add advised.

Complications of pregnancy induced hypertension:

 PIH can adversely affect the mother and the baby.

  1. Intra-uterine growth restriction- PIH can cause growth restriction of a baby or can lead to low birth babies.
  2. Premature labor- PIH can lead to premature delivery.
  3. In severe cases, it can cause seizures, kidney diseases and blood clotting defects in mothers.

When should the patient seek immediate help?

It is important ti inform your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Sudden weight gain.
  • Excessive and sudden swelling in feet which does not disappear after rest.
  • Severe persisting headache.
  • Numbness in hand and feet.
  • The blurring of vision.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Excessive vomiting.
  • Decrease fetal movements.

Women with PIH should regularly visit the doctor, strictly follow the advice, take medications regularly, eat a balanced diet and exercise as advised. Keeping all these in mind will help reduce the illness and the complications.

Paras Bliss Guraon
Paras Bliss Panchkula