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Understand High Blood Pressure during Pregnancy

By  , Expert Content
May 10, 2011
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)
Quick Bites

  • High blood pressure affects both the baby and the mother.
  • There are three types of hypertensions involved.
  • A lot of complications can arise due to high blood pressure.
  • Consult a doctor for safe and proper care.

More

It is very important to get your check ups done regularly, high blood pressure could be on the prowl. High blood pressure during pregnancy not only affects the mother but also the baby.

 

High Blood Pressure during Pregnancy

High blood pressure or hypertension can be especially significant problem during pregnancy as - it does not affect the pregnant woman only but can affect the baby as well. About 8 percent of women can develop problems of high blood pressure during pregnancy. But the good part is that proper prenatal care can decrease the risk for both the mother and baby.

 

What causes high blood pressure during pregnancy?

Problem of high blood pressure in pregnancy may start before pregnancy, or during pregnancy. The types of high blood pressure that can affect pregnant women are:

  • Chronic hypertension: This type of hypertension starts before the 20th week of pregnancy or before the woman becomes pregnant.
  • Gestational hypertension: In this type of hypertension the blood pressure increases near the end of pregnancy. But these women do not have any other associated symptoms.
  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) or toxemia or preeclampsia: This is a serious condition as it can affect both the mother and the baby if not treated properly.

 

Remember that all types of high blood pressure if not treated appropriately increase the risk of complications both for the mother and the baby. But the good part is that proper prenatal care and treatment for high blood pressure can decrease the risk for both the mother and baby.

 

Why is high blood pressure during pregnancy a problem?

High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause complications both for the mother and the baby.

 

Chronic hypertension: If you have chronic high blood pressure which is not well controlled it can result in slow or delayed intrauterine growth of the baby (as the unborn baby doe not get sufficient nutrients and oxygen through the placenta).

Other possible problems in the baby due to chronic hypertension include preterm birth (or birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy), stillbirth (or intrauterine death) and placental abruption (that is detachment of the placenta from the uterus before the baby is born). The risk of PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension) is increased in women with chronic hypertension.

 

Gestational hypertension: If you have gestational hypertension your risk of developing high blood pressure later in life is increased. In some women gestational hypertension can develop into PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension).

 

PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension): Effects of pregnancy-induced hypertension in the mother include:

  • Swelling of the body (edema) and weight gain
  • Shortness of breath due to collection of fluid in the lungs
  • Swelling and liver damage
  • Blurred vision, vision loss,
  • Abdominal pain and dizziness
  • Seizures

Effects of pregnancy-induced hypertension in the baby are:

  • Preterm birth (or birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy)
  • slow or delayed intrauterine growth of the baby
  • stillbirth (or intrauterine death)

 

How is high blood pressure treated in pregnant women?

 

Treatment of chronic or gestational hypertension during pregnancy includes:

  • Limited salt intake
  • Hypertension medications (your doctor will give you medications which are considered safe in pregnancy)
  • Bed rest (can decrease blood pressure in some pregnant women)

If the blood pressure is very high or the pregnancy is near term or the risk of complications for you or your baby are increased your doctor may advise to deliver the baby as soon as possible. At times the baby may need to be delivered premature.

 

Read more articles on Problems During Pregnancy



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