Hypertension happens when the blood flows via blood vessels at a pressure level that is higher than normal. There are 3 types of hypertension in pregnant women – gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and chronic hypertension. Gestational hypertension is pregnancy-induced and it usually develops after 20 weeks of the pregnancy period. If left untreated, the condition may lead to severe health concerns for both the baby and the mother. Alongside hypertension, it induces protein in the urine, alters the blood sugar, and leads to many other health concerns in pregnant women.

Pregnancy-induced hypertension is known to be a risk factor that prevents the placenta from functioning properly, which is the organ in the uterus that develops during pregnancy and supplies essential nutrients and oxygen to the fetus. If the placenta does not get sufficient blood supply, the baby would receive fewer nutrients and oxygen, which may induce the weight of the newborn to be low. Pregnant women having gestational hypertension might also develop eclampsia, which is an alarming form of pregnancy-induced hypertension, and can lead to seizures.

Symptoms of Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension

The common symptoms of gestational hypertension comprise of extreme headaches, vomiting of blood, urination in smaller amounts or no urination, extreme swelling of hands and feet, blood in the urine, fast heartbeat, ringing sound in the ears, frequent fevers, blurred or double vision, abdominal pain, or even cortical blindness.

Early detection of pregnancy-induced hypertension is very important in pregnant women, so that they can be given constant prenatal care, which can in turn, prevent some of the health concerns it poses. So if you are pregnant and experience any pregnancy-induced hypertension symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical help as soon as possible.

Doctors determine pregnancy-induced hypertension in pregnant women by measuring protein content in urine or other noticeable symptoms like excessive swelling. However, pregnancy alone is not a causative factor of gestational hypertension and the same goes true for swelling of the hands and feet. Note that by excessive swelling, doctors refer to a sudden weight gain of over five pounds in a week’s time.

Pregnancy-induced hypertension is common if a woman is pregnant for the first time, or if their siblings had gestational hypertension during pregnancy. Aside from that, the risk factors of pregnancy-induced hypertension are more especially in women carrying more than one baby, among teens, and in adults above 40.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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