Warnings signs such as increased stress could indicate that pregnancy-induced hypertension is reaching life-threatening levels, found Temple University researcher Kathleen Black, DNSc, RNC, the author of a study in the September/October issue of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing.
The condition is variable and can change quickly. We need to be aware of symptoms changing from mild to worse. A higher number of symptoms could also mean [pregnancy-induced hypertension] is getting worse, Black said.
Also known as preeclampsia and gestational hypertension, pregnancy-induced hypertension occurs at about 20 weeks in 6 percent to 8 percent of pregnancies. The exact cause is not known. Severe forms of these conditions can play a role in perinatal developmental issues of the fetus or even death for both the mother and fetus. The perinatal period is defined as the time of birth (five months before and one month after).
Women should call their physician if theyre experiencing headaches, dizziness, frequent vomiting and malaise, Black said.
Usually, the blood vessels expand during pregnancy to increase blood flow, but high blood pressure causes them to clamp down, Black explained.
Nurses currently monitor the condition on an outpatient basis by checking in regularly with their patients. They generally look for the symptoms of persistent headache, blurred vision and abdominal pain as signs that it could be getting worse. In the study, Black suggests also assessing for other symptoms such as perceived stress, vertigo, inability to concentrate and mental changes.
Women become hospitalized and could deliver early if the condition is either severe or getting worse.
Right now, the cure in severe cases is delivery, which could mean a premature baby. If it stays mild, the pregnancy can still go smoothly, Black said.
Philadelphia resident Michelle Murphy-Rosanski delivered five weeks
|Contact: Anna Nguyen|