Idiopathic intracranial hypertension in pregnancy



Key content

  • Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is a rare condition that usually affects overweight women.
  • It is a diagnosis of exclusion in a pregnant woman presenting with headache.
  • It is important to understand the medical and surgical treatment options in pregnancy.
  • The mode of delivery is usually decided by obstetric factors.
  • The risk of visual impairment is the same in pregnant and non-pregnant women with idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

Learning objectives

  • To identify how idiopathic intracranial hypertension presents in pregnancy.
  • To know how to monitor and manage women with this condition during pregnancy.
  • To understand the intrapartum, postpartum and long-term implications of this condition.

Ethical issues

  • What is the extent of investigation before reaching the diagnosis of idiopathic intracranial hypertension?
  • Do we need a high index of suspicion in all pregnant women presenting with headache?
  • What is the preferred mode of delivery in idiopathic intracranial hypertension – do they all need a caesarean section?