We recommend that all pregnant women follow a healthy diet, and monitor their own blood pressure occasionally past the 20 week mark.
Gestational hypertension or pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) is the development of new hypertension in a pregnant woman after 20 weeks’ gestation without the presence of protein in the urine or other signs of preeclampsia. Hypertension is defined as having a blood pressure greater than 140/90 mm Hg.
High blood pressure that develops in pregnancy can also be a sign of preeclampsia. If you have increasing blood pressure in pregnancy, you will be monitored closely. Most cases resolve with delivery. If your blood pressure remains uncontrolled, Dr Sodhi may recommend that you be induced and deliver early, depending on other risk factors and complications.
Preeclampsia is a condition developed by some pregnant women that is worth mentioning on its own; symptoms include high blood pressure, protein in urine, and swelling of the hands & feet. If undiagnosed, or accompanied by other risk factors, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, which is a serious medical condition that can be fatal. Women with preeclampsia who develop seizures are considered to have eclampsia.
There is no known cure for preeclampsia other than delivery. To complicate matters, it is a condition that can also occur, albeit rarely, 1-6 weeks postpartum- another very good reason to come to all your check-up appointments.
You can protect yourself by learning all the signs and symptoms and by regularly attending pre- and post-natal care visits.