Complication of pregnancy: pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH)

Pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) is a form of high blood pressure that occurs in pregnant women after the 20th week of gestation. It is a serious complication that can affect the health and well-being of both the mother and the fetus. PIH can cause problems such as placental abruption, intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight, preterm birth, and neonatal mortality. In some cases, PIH can progress to preeclampsia or eclampsia, which are life-threatening conditions that involve seizures, organ damage, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The exact cause of PIH is unknown, but some factors that may increase the risk include genetic factors, diet and lifestyle, immune and inflammatory responses, pre-existing hypertension, kidney disease, diabetes, multiple fetuses, and maternal age.

The diagnosis of PIH is based on standardized and technical blood pressure measurements, protein in the urine, edema (swelling), and sudden weight gain. Other clinical features, laboratory tests, and imaging evaluations may also be used to assess the severity and complications of PIH. The management of PIH aims to prevent or treat the adverse outcomes for the mother and the fetus. Depending on the gestational age and the condition of the pregnancy, the management strategies may include antihypertensive drugs, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, magnesium sulfate, bed rest, fetal monitoring, and delivery. The optimal timing and mode of delivery depend on various factors such as the severity of PIH, the fetal maturity, and the presence of other complications.

PIH is a prevalent and serious complication of pregnancy that requires close monitoring and intervention to ensure the safety of both the mother and the fetus. A profound understanding of the etiology, diagnosis, complications, and management strategies associated with PIH will facilitate healthcare professionals, physicians, and researchers in better comprehending and addressing the disease. Furthermore, this review underscores the importance of PIH, promoting awareness and attention to the condition, and offering relevant education and health guidance to the public to safeguard the health and well-being of pregnant women and their fetuses.


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– World Health Organization (2019). WHO Recommendations for Prevention and Treatment of Pre-eclampsia and Eclampsia. Geneva: World Health Organization.
– American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2019). Hypertension in Pregnancy. Washington DC: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
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