Cause of Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension discovered.

What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. The heart pumps blood into the arteries (blood vessels) that carry the blood throughout the body. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, means that the pressure in the arteries is above the normal range.

What is pregnancy-induced hypertension?

Pregnancy-induced hypertension — which may also be called pre-eclampsia, toxemia, or toxemia of pregnancy — is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure, swelling due to fluid retention, and protein in the urine.

Who is affected by pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)?

Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) affects approximately 1 out of every 14 pregnant women. Although PIH more commonly occurs during first pregnancies, it can also occur in subsequent pregnancies. PIH is also more common in pregnant teens and in women over age 40. Many times, PIH develops during the second half of pregnancy, usually after the 20th week, but it can also develop at the time of delivery or right after delivery.

What is the danger of pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)?

PIH can prevent the placenta from receiving enough blood, which can cause low birth weight in your baby. Although these complications are rare, PIH may cause the following:

  • Placental abruption, a complication that occurs when the placenta pulls away from the wall of the uterus, causing maternal bleeding and fetal distress.
  • Seizures in the mother.
  • Temporary kidney failure.
  • Liver problems.
  • Blood clotting problems.
  • Early delivery of premature baby.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)?

Rapid or sudden weight gain, high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and swelling (in the hands, feet, and face) are all signs of PIH. Some swelling is normal during pregnancy. However, if the swelling doesn't go away and is accompanied by some of the above symptoms, be sure to see your doctor right away. Other symptoms of PIH include abdominal pain, severe headaches, a change in reflexes, spots before your eyes, reduced output of urine or no urine, blood in the urine, dizziness, or excessive vomiting and nausea.