BENGALURU: In the 22nd week of her pregnancy, a woman was diagnosed with hypertension (HTN) after a rapid weight gain and swelling in her limbs. Since the mother’s condition was not conducive to the baby’s growth, it was delivered prematurely in the 28th week of pregnancy. The baby who weighed 870 grams at birth, was discharged last week, weighing 2.2kgs, after spending two months in the Newborn ICU (NICU) at Vikram's Hospital.
Around 25-30% of hypertensive mothers deliver prematurely, say doctors in city. Statistics reveal that in India, about 7.8% pregnant women have HTN, while in Karnataka, it's about 6-8%. “In our hospital alone, about 6 out of 25 hypertensive mothers have pre-term births. Once diagnosed with hypertension, medication is prescribed to control the blood pressure failing which, the baby is delivered prematurely. The earlier it is diagnosed, the higher the risk of prematurity," says Dr N Venkatesh, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Vikram Hospital.
Speaking to TNIE, Dr Kishore Kumar, Founder Chairman and Neonatologist, CloudNine Hospitals, said that there has been a paradigm shift in the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension in pregnant women. “Earlier, premature babies of hypertensive mother would rarely survive. But with the kind of technology that has come in neonatal care, it is possible for babies weighing even 500 grams to survive,” he said.
Interestingly, if a mother has hypertension during her first pregnancy, gynaecologists say that chances of hypertension occurring in later pregnancies are high. “If a mother was hypertensive in her first pregnancy, then there is a very high chance of it occurring in the following pregnancies. They become high-risk pregnancies. Even girl babies are likely to be hypertensive during their pregnancies in future," says Dr. Sowmya Lakshmi, Consultant Gynaecologist, Aster Hospital.