Advances in the understanding of pregnancy complications due to high blood pressure contribute directly to the NICHD's goals of ensuring that every infant is born healthy and that women suffer no harmful effects from pregnancy and from giving birth.
Complications of preeclampsia, such as kidney failure, hemorrhage, and stroke, can lead to lasting health problems, and worldwide, preeclampsia is one of the leading causes of maternal death. The NICHD aims to maintain a global perspective while pursuing a better understanding of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy in order to prevent the poor health outcomes and deaths caused by this condition.
Research supported by the NICHD specifically addresses:
- Factors that influence the growth of blood vessels in pregnancy and the function of the placenta
- Genetic factors affecting blood pressure
- Proteins and other elements in the blood that may signal the onset of preeclampsia
- The role of factors such as obesity
- Preventive measures
- Long-term effects of preeclampsia on the mother's health