Pregnancy Induced Hypertension

High blood pressure in pregnant women is called pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH). Pregnancy induced hypertension may also be referred to as gestational hypertension. The condition of high blood pressure was not present in the mother prior to pregnancy. During early stages of pregnancy induced hypertension, there is no protein present in the mother’s urine.

Increased Risk of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension

Pregnancy induced hypertension occurs in approximately 1 out of every 14 pregnancies. Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood pushing on the walls of blood vessels. During pregnancy induced hypertension, the force of blood on the arterial walls is greater than normal. This places stress on the maternal and fetal bodies and may result in birth complications.

Risk factors for pregnancy induced hypertension include:

Types of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension

Several forms of hypertensive states during pregnancy may present as:

Symptoms of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension

Certain signs of pregnancy induced hypertension may be vague, but doctors look for:

Diagnosis and Treatment of PIH

Obstetricians may diagnose a mother with pregnancy induced hypertension by checking for warning signs. Check-ups include frequent weight measurements, blood pressure readings, urine analysis, and assessment of edema or swelling. Blood clotting tests, retinal examinations, liver tests, and kidney tests are also common methods to identify pregnancy induced hypertension.

Treatment for pregnancy induced hypertension depends on individual factors. Overall health of the pregnancy, tolerance for medications, and progression of the pregnancy induced hypertension will contribute to selecting a treatment. Any treatment for pregnancy induced hypertension is meant to prevent the disease from worsening or causing additional medical concerns. There isn’t any way to alleviate the hypertension until the infant has been delivered.

Treatment options for pregnancy induced hypertension involve:

Permanent Damage from PIH

If pregnancy induced hypertension is not diagnosed or treated properly, the placenta may not get enough blood. The infant may not receive adequate oxygen or food during pregnancy induced hypertension. This can lead to fetal underdevelopment, low birth weight, or death. The mother will also face a wide range of medical issues as a result of pregnancy induced hypertension. These issues include liver failure, kidney problems, seizures, pulmonary edemas, coma, and death.



Charles, Marie-Aline, et al. “Maternal Blood Lead Levels And The Risk Of Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension: The EDEN Cohort Study.” Environmental Health Perspectives 117.10 (2009): 1526+. Academic OneFile. Web. 10 July 2012.
Holtcamp, Wendee. “Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension ‘Probably Linked’ To PFOA Contamination.” Environmental Health Perspectives 120.2 (2012): A59. Academic OneFile. Web. 10 July 2012.
“Link Between Antidepressant Use In Pregnancy And High Blood Pressure Identified.” Nursing Standard 26.34 (2012): 14. Academic OneFile. Web. 10 July 2012.
“Studies From Tokyo University Hospital Describe New Findings In Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension.” Women’s Health Weekly 27 Oct. 2011: 220. Academic OneFile. Web. 10 July 2012.
“Study Data From Juntendo University School Of Medicine Update Knowledge Of Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension.” Women’s Health Weekly 29 Sept. 2011: 321. Academic OneFile. Web. 10 July 2012.