Preeclampsia in Pregnant Teens

An article written by Scholl et al. in 1994 stated that according to the U.S. National Hospital Discharge Survey, the incidence of pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), also called preeclampsia, is increase by twofold in pregnant adolescence in comparison to women between ages 30-34.   Although researchers have yet to find an exact physiological cause for PIH, they believe pregnant teens may be at higher risk for the condition due to non-physiological related issues, including the nulliparity and the lack of prenatal care.

PIH can lead to many serious complications in pregnancy if the condition is allowed to manifest.  Fortunately, routine prenatal care allows the physician to keep track of the patient’s blood pressure and urine levels to detect PIH early and prevent any serious complications.  Since pregnant teens are more likely to receive prenatal care only later during pregnancy, they have an increased risk for developing PIH.

In addition, nulliparity, defined as the condition of a woman who has never borne children, is a risk factor for PIH.  Some research has shown that nulliparity is also associated with higher risk of PIH in pregnant teens.  When comparing pregnant teens to adult pregnant women, the majority of the teens are experiencing pregnancy for the first time, wereas many older women may not be.  Therefore, it makes sense that the incidence of PIH in pregnant teens is significantly higher.

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