High blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension during pregnancy is a severe condition that can have significant health risks for both the mother and the baby. Expectant mothers need to understand the causes, symptoms, and potential complications of high blood pressure during pregnancy and the treatment options available. This blog will provide an overview of what pregnant women should know about high blood pressure, including the different types of hypertension that can occur during pregnancy, the risks associated with HBP, and the steps that can be taken to manage and prevent the condition.
What Are the Types of High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy?
There are several types of high blood pressure (HBP) that can occur during pregnancy, including:
Chronic hypertension: When a woman has persistent hypertension, their blood pressure goes up during pregnancy within the first 20 weeks of being pregnant or before becoming pregnant. Since high blood pressure typically has no symptoms, it may be challenging to pinpoint its exact origin.
Gestational hypertension is when a woman develops HBP after 20 weeks of pregnancy, but her blood pressure returns to normal within 12 weeks of giving birth.
Preeclampsia is a severe condition when a woman develops HBP and protein in her urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia can lead to severe complications for the mother and baby if left untreated.
Preeclampsia superimposed on chronic hypertension: This condition is when a woman has chronic hypertension and develops preeclampsia during pregnancy.
It is important to note that hypertension during pregnancy may be classified differently based on blood pressure measurements and protein in the urine. It is essential to get regular checkups and follow the recommendations of a pregnancy special doctor regarding monitoring blood pressure during pregnancy.
Why is High Blood Pressure a Problem During Pregnancy?
Many risks associated with high blood pressure in pregnancy should be addressed as soon as possible.
Reduced Blood Flow to the Placenta: The placenta provides the baby with oxygen and nutrients. When blood flow is restricted, the baby may not receive enough oxygen and nutrients to grow and develop properly. This can lead to poor fetal growth and development, resulting in a low birth weight baby.
Premature Birth: High blood pressure can cause the uterus to contract prematurely, leading to preterm labor and delivery. This is particularly concerning because premature babies are at a higher risk of health problems, such as respiratory and neurological issues.
Placental Abruption: This occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus prematurely, and it can lead to severe bleeding and other complications for the mother, such as hypovolemic shock, a condition caused by severe blood loss and can be life-threatening.
Preeclampsia is a severe condition that can occur when a woman develops HBP and protein in her urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia can lead to severe complications for the mother and baby, such as kidney damage, stroke, and even death if left untreated.
Cesarean Delivery: High blood pressure can lead to complications during delivery, such as placental abruption, non-reassuring fetal heart rate patterns, or slow progression of labor which may result in a higher risk of cesarean delivery.
In addition to these complications, hypertension during pregnancy can increase the risk of postpartum complications such as gestational diabetes, postpartum depression, and postpartum hemorrhage.
Preventing High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
There are several steps you can take to prevent high blood pressure (HBP) during pregnancy:
Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing hypertension during pregnancy. Maintaining a healthy weight before pregnancy can help lower your risk of developing HBP.
Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars can help to prevent hypertension during pregnancy.
Get regular exercise: Regular physical activity can help to lower your risk of developing hypertension during pregnancy. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, on most days of the week.
Quit smoking: Smoking can increase your risk of developing hypertension during pregnancy. Quitting smoking can help to lower your risk of developing HBP.
Limit caffeine intake: Consuming too much caffeine can increase your blood pressure. It is recommended to limit caffeine intake during pregnancy.
Manage stress: High levels of stress can increase your blood pressure. Finding ways to manage stress, such as through yoga, meditation, or therapy, can help to prevent hypertension during pregnancy.
Follow up with your healthcare provider: If you have a history of hypertension or any other underlying health condition, it’s essential to discuss the possibility of developing hypertension during pregnancy with your healthcare provider and to have regular checkups, so they can monitor your blood pressure and provide early detection and treatment.
Why Choose Ankura?
Ankura Hospital is one of the leading healthcare institutions specializing in providing maternity-related issues. We aim to provide publicly accessible, quality, affordable healthcare services. We have a team of highly experienced doctors that will provide you with complete assistance until normal delivery. Every professional working at Ankura hospital, from doctors to assistants, is united in the endeavor to achieve our vision of providing the best quality health care.
High blood pressure or gestational hypertension during pregnancy might cause severe complications for both mother and baby. However, the good news is that it usually goes away post-birth. The treatment of these health disorders consists of more medications, more blood pressure readings, and a lifestyle change. If high blood pressure is well managed, it does not cause any problems, but if left unmanaged, it might lead to placental abruption, premature birth, or other complications.