High blood pressure during pregnancy can result in unfavourable outcomes and complications for both the mother and the child. Having high blood pressure during pregnancy requires close monitoring to avoid such situations. Here’s all you need to know.

Types of High Blood Pressure during Pregnancy

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. It is a very common, yet preventable and treatable condition.

High blood pressure can develop prior to pregnancy as well as during pregnancy. This vital sign is recommended to be monitored in pregnant women with high blood pressure and should continue to monitor their blood pressure after giving birth.

There are three major types of high blood pressure developed during the course of pregnancy, these include:

  • Chronic Hypertension: Chronic hypertension is high blood pressure that you may get either before pregnancy or during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Usually, high blood pressure does not show any warning signs or symptoms. This can be hard to know when it actually begins or to do an early diagnosis. In women with chronic hypertension may develop preeclampsia in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.
  • Gestational Hypertension: Gestational hypertension is high blood pressure that you may get after 20 weeks of pregnancy or when you are closer to delivery. However, this type of hypertension usually goes away after you give birth. During gestational hypertension, there are no protein traces in the urine, and there are no other signs of organ damage. However, some women with gestational hypertension have a higher risk of developing chronic hypertension in the future.
  • Preeclampsia and Eclampsia: When women who previously had a normal blood pressure suddenly develop high blood pressure, have reports that show protein in their urine, or develop kidney-related or other organ-related damage, they can develop preeclampsia. Preeclampsia can also develop in women who had chronic hypertension during their pregnancy.

At severe stages of preeclampsia, some women go on to develop eclampsia. During eclampsia, the pregnant lady can develop seizures, which is generally considered an emergency situation.

Some symptoms of preeclampsia include changes in vision, swelling of the face and hands, pain in the upper stomach area, trouble breathing, nausea or vomiting. This condition can lead to premature labour and a low birth weight baby. Some women show no symptoms of preeclampsia; hence, it is very important to get regular health check-ups and blood pressure monitoring even when at home.

High Blood Pressure Complications during Pregnancy

The following briefly discusses some of the complications of high blood pressure during pregnancy.

  • Preeclampsia: The mother may develop conditions such as preeclampsia, which can lead to eclampsia. Eclampsia, upon manifestation, can result in the pregnant patient getting a stroke.
  • Labour induction: Prompting the uterus to start labour by artificial means (medicines) to give birth.
  • Placental abruption: This occurs when the placenta gets separated from the wall of the uterus. Placental abruption can deprive the baby of oxygen and nutrients and can cause heavy bleeding in some cases.
  • Premature birth: For the baby, high blood pressure can result in an early birth and a low birth weight at birth.

Management of Blood Pressure during Pregnancy

Consider following these tips:

  • Get regular prenatal care check-ups. Do not miss your appointments with your doctor.
  • Continuously monitor your blood pressure with a home blood pressure monitor.
  • Eat healthy foods. Avoid foods high in salt as they can trigger a raise in blood pressure.
  • Stay physically active to manage a healthy weight and prevent stress.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol.
  • Do not abuse prescription drugs.
  • Do not stop or start taking any over-the-counter drugs without first talking to your doctor.

Before pregnancy and even after childbirth, it is advised to get regular health check-ups and monitor blood pressure regularly, along with weight management and diet. Maintaining your blood pressure is crucial for your heart’s health, as high blood pressure can damage your arteries and decrease the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart, which can later on lead to various heart conditions/diseases, such as chest pain (a symptom of a heart attack).

If you or your loved ones have any heart-related queries or are looking for the best and most affordable treatment for your heart, visit the Dr. K. G. Deshpande Memorial Centre. It is a patient-centered and passion-driven hospital. It has a team of highly qualified and dedicated doctors who are committed to excellence and deliver compassionate care. The centre is known for its outstanding results in providing heart care with the best of medical facilities.

References:

  1. High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/pregnancy.htm
  2. High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/highbloodpressureinpregnancy.html
  3. High blood pressure during pregnancy. March of dimes. https://www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/pregnancy/high-blood-pressure-during-pregnancy
  4. High blood pressure (hypertension) and pregnancy. NHS Services. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/complications/high-blood-pressure/
  5. High blood pressure and pregnancy: Know the facts. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20046098
Pregnancy and Blood Pressure

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