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High Blood Pressure during pregnancy - Complication and Treatment


High Blood Pressure during pregnancy - Types, Signs, Risks, Complications, and Treatment

Monitoring blood pressure during pregnancy is an essential part of prenatal care. If a pregnant woman has high blood pressure during pregnancy then it requires close monitoring to ensure the well being of both the mother and her baby. High Blood Pressure is also known as Hypertension. Hypertension can put the mother and her baby at risk of various complications during pregnancy. So, getting treatment for high blood pressure is essential during pregnancy.



High Blood Pressure (BP) during pregnancy - Complication and Treatment



What is High Blood Pressure?

The force of blood that pushes the blood against the walls of your arteries is known as Blood Pressure. The arteries are the blood vessels that convey the blood from the heart to all the other parts of the body such as tissues, lungs, etc. The condition of high blood pressure occurs when the pressure in the arteries becomes too high. High Blood Pressure puts stress on the body organs such as heart and kidney and it may lead to many severe complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. That's why high blood pressure is not considered good. 




Blood Pressure Reading

Blood  Pressure is recorded as two numbers: Top number and Bottom number. 

Systolic Blood Pressure

The top number of BP readings is called Systolic. It indicates the amount of pressure in the arteries during the contraction of the heart muscle.


Diastolic Blood Pressure

The bottom number of BP readings is called Diastolic. It indicates the amount of pressure in the arteries when the heart muscle rests between beats.

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Blood Pressure Categories

The blood pressure is divided into 5 categories which are as follows:


1. Normal Blood Pressure

BP which ranges between 90/60 mm Hg to 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal blood pressure.


2. Elevated Blood Pressure

When systolic ranges from 120-129 mm Hg and Diastolic is below 80 mm Hg then it is considered as Elevated Blood Pressure.

3. Hypertension Stage 1

When systolic ranges from 130-139 mm Hg and Diastolic ranges from 80-89 mm Hg then it is considered Hypertension Stage 1.



4. Hypertension Stage 2

When blood pressure consistently ranges higher than 140/90 mm Hg then it is considered Hypertension Stage 2.


5. Hypertension Crisis

Hypertension Crisis is the severe condition of high blood pressure when blood pressure ranges at 180/120 mm Hg. This condition needs immediate medical attention. 


What is considered normal blood pressure during pregnancy?

Normal blood pressure ranges from 90/60 mm Hg to 120/80 mm Hg.




Types of High Blood Pressure during pregnancy

In some cases, high blood pressure is present before conceiving while in other cases it develops during pregnancy. The types of high blood pressure during pregnancy are described below:


Chronic Hypertension

Chronic Hypertension means having high blood pressure before getting pregnant or before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Pregnant women who have chronic hypertension can also develop Preeclampsia in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.

Gestational Hypertension

The high blood pressure which develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy is known as Gestational Hypertension. It occurs when you develop high blood pressure during pregnancy and do not have protein in your urine or any other kidney or heart problems. This type of hypertension usually goes away after delivery.


Preeclampsia

This condition of hypertension develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It usually occurs when a woman previously had normal blood pressure but suddenly she develops high blood pressure and also has protein in her urine. Untreated preeclampsia can lead to severe complications for both the mother and her baby. 


Eclampsia

The onset of seizures in a pregnant woman with preeclampsia is known as Eclampsia. It is a serious complication during pregnancy due to severe preeclampsia.




High Blood Pressure signs & symptoms during pregnancy

The signs & symptoms of high blood pressure may include:

  • Edema (Swelling in face and hands)
  • Blurred vision or seeing spots
  • Rapid and sudden weight gain
  • Pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Headaches that don't go away

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High Blood Pressure during pregnancy causes


The causes of high blood pressure during pregnancy include:

  • Overweight or Obese
  • Age over 35
  • Smoking 
  • Multiple Pregnancy
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Having Diabetes
  • Taking illicit drugs
  • Not staying physically active
  • First-time pregnancy



Complications from High Blood Pressure during pregnancy

High Blood Pressure can cause complications for both the mother and her baby. In some severe cases, it can be life-threatening also. The complications due to hypertension during pregnancy for the mother and her baby include the following: 


Complications for a pregnant woman due to hypertension

The complications which occur in a pregnant woman due to hypertension are described below:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Eclampsia
  • Preterm Delivery
  • Placental abruption (it occurs when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus too early)
  • Stroke
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Complications for a baby due to hypertension

The complications for an unborn baby due to the mother's high blood pressure are:

Preterm Birth

When a baby is born early before 37 weeks of pregnancy it is known as Preterm Birth. The babies who born prematurely may have several health problems such as breathing problems, vision problems, hearing problems, or cerebral palsy.  

Low Birth Weight

If the mother has the problem of high blood pressure then in such condition placenta does not get enough oxygen due to which baby gets less oxygen and fewer nutrients to grow. In such a condition, a baby may be born prematurely with low birth weight.




High Blood Pressure during pregnancy risks

The risks of high blood pressure during pregnancy are the following:


Intrauterine Growth Restriction

Intrauterine Growth Restriction occurs when your baby's growth slowed down or decreased due to hypertension during pregnancy. 


Decreased Blood Flow to the Placenta

Sometimes the placenta does not get enough blood due to high blood pressure during pregnancy, as a result, your baby gets less supply of oxygen and few nutrients that may lead to intrauterine growth restriction, premature delivery or low birth weight. 


Premature Delivery

In some cases, premature delivery is needed to prevent life-threatening complications which occurs due to high blood pressure during pregnancy. 


Injury to the organs

Uncontrolled or Untreated Hypertension may lead injury to your organs such as the brain, kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. It can also be life-threatening in severe cases. 




Preeclampsia signs and symptoms in pregnancy

The signs & symptoms of preeclampsia in pregnancy are given below:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Excess Protein in Urine
  • Rapid Weight Gain
  • Edema
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Upper Abdominal Pain
  • Decreased level of platelets in the blood 

Weight Gain and Edema also occur in normal pregnancies. So, they both are not the reliable signs of preeclampsia but yes they also accompanied the condition of Preeclampsia.  


How to manage high blood pressure during pregnancy?

Follow these tips to manage your high blood pressure during pregnancy:

  • Eat a healthy, nutritious & balanced diet.
  • Go to prenatal care check-ups. Don't skip them even if you are feeling fine.
  • If your doctor prescribed medications for you to control your blood pressure then take it every day.
  • Don't gain too much weight.
  • Avoid eating foods that have high salts in it.
  • Stay physically active.
  • Don't smoke and don't consume alcohol.

If you have high blood pressure don't take too much stress and talk with your health care provider about your concerns. Try to manage your high blood pressure. Have a happy, safe and healthy pregnancy. 



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Disclaimer: This content is intended for general information only and it should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment or any diagnosis. Always consult a doctor for more information. Our website doesn't claim responsibility for this information.

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