About This Condition
Gestational hypertension (GH) is high blood pressure that develops after the twentieth week of pregnancy and returns to normal after delivery, in women with previously normal blood pressure.
GH may be an early sign of either preeclampsia or chronic hypertension. If these complications do not develop, or if chronic hypertension develops but remains mild, the outcome of pregnancy is usually good for both the mother and newborn. GH has been shown to occur more frequently in women who are obese1 or in those who are glucose-intolerant.2,3,4
Symptoms, which appear after the twentieth week of pregnancy, include swelling of the face and hands, visual disturbances, headache, high blood pressure, and a yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes.
Treatment for GH includes bed rest, restriction of sodium intake, and, if necessary, hospitalization for observation. Intravenous magnesium solutions are occasionally recommended. The definitive treatment is termination of the pregnancy by induced delivery or cesarean section.