1. Capillary permeability was determined by the disappearance rate of Evans Blue dye from plasma in healthy non-pregnant women, normal third-trimester primigravidae and primigravidae with pregnancy-induced hypertension
2. Extracellular fluid volume was determined from the disappearance curves of injected mannitol in the same subjects and the plasma volume was measured by the Evans Blue dye dilution technique
3. In normal pregnancy capillary permeability was not altered from that of non-pregnant subjects. Although extracellular fluid volume and plasma volume were increased in normal pregnant compared with nonpregnant women, the distribution of fluid between plasma volume and interstitial fluid volume was unaltered
4. Women with established pregnancy-induced hypertension had a more rapid Evans Blue disappearance rate and a lower plasma volume than normal pregnant women, independent of the presence of proteinuria. Maternal plasma volume correlated positively and significantly with fetal birth weight in women with pregnancy-induced hypertension, emphasizing the important relationship between maternal plasma volume and fetal outcome
5. The increased capillary permeability in women with pregnancy-induced hypertension was associated with a reduction in the plasma volume/interstitial fluid volume ratio but a normal extracellular fluid volume, suggesting that the reduced plasma volume did not result from sodium loss but rather from a redistribution of the total extracellular fluid volume. These changes did not differ significantly in subgroups with and without oedema.