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Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) is defined as the development of raised blood pressure in pregnancy.
Pre-eclampsia is a condition that occurs only during pregnancy or immediately after the delivery of a baby. Women suffering from pre-eclampsia develop high blood pressure, together with protein in the urine.
It is known as a multi-system disorder which means it can affect different parts of the body such as the liver, kidneys, and cardiovascular system, and how your blood clots.
How common are these conditions?
PIH occurs in approximately 5% - 8% of all pregnancies and approximately 20% of women with raised blood pressure also develop pre-eclampsia.
Pre-eclampsia usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy. It does not always need treatment. Regular check-ups on the health of you and your baby may be all that is required.
Who is at higher risk of Pre-eclampsia?
You may be more susceptible to pre-eclampsia if:
This is your first pregnancy - 1 in 30 women tend to develop pre-eclampsia in their first pregnancy
Your mother and/or sisters have had pre-eclampsia
You have had pre-eclampsia in a previous pregnancy
You are a teenager or a woman aged 40 or more
You have existing medical problems such as diabetes, kidney disease or high blood pressure
You are overweight or obese
You are expecting a multiple birth - twins, triplets, etc
Treatment of pre-eclampsia
Women with pre-eclampsia need admission to hospital and often medicines to lower their high blood pressure. Occasionally, pre-eclampsia is a reason to deliver the baby early - you may be offered induction of labour or caesarean section
Women with gestational hypertension often need regular, moderate physical activity of around 30 min/ day, such as walking, prenatal aerobics class, or swimming, to help control blood pressure.
The specific amount of physical activity that you need depends on how active you were before you were pregnant, and whether or not you have any other health concerns.
One thing you need to watch is your level of effort, called your exertion level. If you can talk easily while doing an activity, instead of gasping for air, your level of exertion is good. If you cannot talk easily, or find yourself coughing or gasping for air, you need to lower your level of exertion by slowing down or stopping for a while.
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Complete moderate and regular physical activity unless your health care provider tells you not to.
Wear loose, light clothing that won't make you sweat too much or get too hot.
Drink a lot of water before, during, and after your activity.
Eat a healthy diet and gain the right amount of weight (10-12 Kg's).
Watch your level of exertion (Can you talk easily?).
Get too tired while working out or doing physical activity.
Do sit-ups, toe touches or deep knee bends.
Do any activity while lying on your back when you are in your 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
Perform activities in very hot weather.
Perform activities that may bump or hurt your belly, or that may cause you to lose your balance.
Fast (skip meals) or do physical activity when you are hungry.