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Pregnancy Problems

During pregnancy, your health is number one priority. That’s why we went straight to top pregnancy health experts for all the details you want to know about the most common pregnancy problems. In our pregnancy problems guide, you can read about a slew of pregnancy conditions – everything from hemorrhoids to gestational diabetes. Find out what any pregnancy symptom could possibly mean (are you swollen just because you’re expecting, or is it a sign of some complication?) and find out whether or not it’s worth a call to your OB. If you already know you’ve got a pregnancy complication or health condition, our comprehensive articles will give you the scoop on its causes and how it can affect you and baby. Plus, get treatment tips straight from medical experts and pregnant women like you. Yup, we've got answers to all your questions about pregnancy health problems right here!

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Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension (PIH)

All the answers you're looking for about PIH.

What is pregnancy-induced hypertension?

As you might have guessed, pregnancy-induced hypertension (aka PIH) is where a woman develops abnormally high blood pressure during pregnancy. You’ll also retain water and have higher-than-normal levels of protein in your urine. This is also called toxemia or preeclampsia.

What are the signs of PIH?

You may have some swelling, but often there are no symptoms at all. In severe cases PIH can cause headaches, blurry vision, nausea and vomiting, pain in the upper right abdomen, and sudden swelling in the hands and face.

Are there any tests for PIH?

Yep. Your typical prenatal visits usually include blood pressure and urine tests, both of which can help diagnose PIH. Other tests you may need include kidney and blood-clotting function tests and scanning to measure how well blood is flowing to the placenta.

How common is PIH?

Pregnancy-induced hypertension occurs in about 5 to 8 percent of all pregnancies. It happens in about 10 percent of first pregnancies and in 20 to 25 percent of pregnancies where the mom-to-be has chronic hypertension.

How did I get PIH?

Young moms-to-be (teens) and women over 40, as well as those who are carrying multiples, have a family history of PIH or had high blood pressure or kidney disease before pregnancy are all at increased risk.

How will PIH affect my baby?

PIH can affect the level of blood flow to the placenta, which means less oxygen and nutrients for your baby. That means she may have a low birth weight, especially if she is delivered preterm. So your OB will likely monitor you closely (see next page for treatments, prevention and resources).

-- C. Joseph Cadle, MD, ob-gyn, Kaiser Permanente, Atlanta, GA


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