What You Should Know About High Blood Pressure and Pregnancy

Whether you’ve developed high blood pressure while you’re pregnant or previously had it before getting pregnant, regular monitoring and treatment are vital for you and your unborn baby’s overall health. There’s a chance that some women who haven’t had hypertension in their life may suddenly develop it while they’re pregnant. When this occurs at around the 20-week mark, it is referred to as gestational hypertension. Basically, it’s a type of secondary hypertension due to pregnancy and will resolve itself following the birth of the baby.

Possible Complications of Gestational High Blood Pressure

Hypertension during pregnancy if not treated could be harmful, and even fatal for you and your baby. Although plenty of women with gestational hypertension go on to birth healthy babies, it could negatively impact the kidneys of the mother and raise her risk of developing stroke, kidney problems, and heart disease. Other complications also include the following:

  • Low Birth Weight – Because hypertension can reduce the nutrient flow from the placenta to the baby, there’s a chance that the baby will be born lighter than expected.
  • Placental Abruption – This happens when the placenta gets separated from the uterus wall prematurely and requires emergency attention.
  • Preterm Delivery – In the event that the placenta isn’t giving the baby sufficient oxygen and nutrients, the doctor might advise early delivery.
  • Cesarean Delivery – Pregnant women who have high blood pressure have an increased risk of having a cesarean delivery.
  • Preeclampsia – Also known as toxemia of pregnancy, this very serious condition could be fatal to the baby and the mother. Warning signs include high blood pressure and indications of organ damage, usually in the kidneys and the liver.
  • Future Cardiovascular Problems – Having gestational hypertension might raise a woman’s risk of developing cardiovascular problems later on. The risk of developing cardiovascular issues is even higher if a woman had a previous preterm birth because of gestational hypertension during pregnancy or if a woman has experienced multiple instances of preeclampsia.
  • HELLP Syndrome – Also known as “Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low Platelet count” is a potentially fatal condition that’s considered to be a more severe type of preeclampsia. Warning signs include headache, vomiting, nausea, and pain in the upper right section of the abdomen.

Take note that in the event that you have hypertension prior to conceiving, you have an increased risk of developing complications while you’re pregnant. In addition, if you develop high blood pressure while carrying your baby, you have an increased risk for complications as well.

How to Lower Your Risk of Developing Complication

Caring for yourself is the best defense against high blood pressure when you’re pregnant. To start, you should visit your OB-GYN in Provo on a regular basis, every month if possible, to make certain that you’re as healthy as can be. If you were prescribed prenatal vitamins and hypertension meds, take them as directed. Never take other medications or supplements until your OB-GYN says it’s safe to do so. You should also keep working out, but not as vigorously as you used to, and cut out the jumps. Lastly, make sure to eat healthy foods.


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