Pregnancy is a critical time where you need to be extra careful about your health as it directly affects your baby. Pregnancy Induced Hypertension is a very common pregnancy-related problem that occurs in around 10% of all the pregnancies. Therefore, it is important for you, as the would-be mom, to know all about high blood pressure during pregnancy or Pregnancy Induced Hypertension.
Our heart acts as the blood pumping machine that facilitates blood to flow through the blood vessels and deliver oxygen to every organ. Blood pressure is the force or pressure of blood on the walls of the blood vessels. When this pressure rises above the normal range to an unhealthy level, it is known as High Blood Pressure or Hypertension.
What is Pregnancy Induced Hypertension?
Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH), also known as Toxemia, is usually characterized by a blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg, protein in the urine and edema i.e., swelling due to fluid retention.
Women who have conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, multiple births (twins or triplets), pre-existing high blood pressure or had PIH during the previous pregnancy, usually have the higher risk of developing PIH. Pregnancy Induced Hypertension can lead to further complications such as seizures, liver problems, early delivery (premature baby), maternal bleeding and fetal distress due to placental abruption etc.
Types Of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension:
‣ Chronic hypertension: It is characterized by high blood pressure that occurs in the first half of pregnancy i.e., before 20 weeks or that existed even before pregnancy.
‣ Gestational Hypertension: It is the high blood pressure that occurs after 20 weeks and generally goes away after childbirth.
‣ Preeclampsia: It generally occurs during the third trimester and affects all the organs of the mother’s body. Serious complications can develop for both mother and the baby if preeclampsia is not treated immediately.
‣ Eclampsia: It is when PIH takes a severe form and leads to seizure. Multiple seizures can cause coma and further degradation of the mother and baby’s health.
‣ HELLP: Another condition that can arise due to PIH is HELLP (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes and Low Platelet count).
Symptoms Of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension:
‣ High blood pressure
‣ Protein in the urine
‣ Severe headache
‣ Breathing difficulties
‣ Dizziness, nausea and vomiting
‣ Swollen hands, feet and face
‣ Pain in the upper abdomen and shoulder
‣ Spots in your eyesight
Treatments Of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension:
‣ Diagnosis: Other than blood pressure measurement tests, the diagnosis of PIH includes urine tests, eye check-up for retinal changes, blood clotting tests, liver and kidney tests etc. During the routine check-ups, changes in weight, swelling, protein content in urine etc. need to be monitored.
‣ Prevention: When PIH is mild, just take better care of yourself, have healthy foods and fluids, maintain a peaceful environment around you and take ample amount of bed rest. Regularly monitor your baby’s movements, your blood pressure and changes in your weight. But it will be better to get admitted to the hospital if the conditions get worse so that your doctor can closely monitor your health. Your baby may have to be delivered early if the conditions become severe.