High Blood Pressure during Pregnancy

Hypertension and High Blood Pressure during Pregnancy…do you know if you are at risk?

Well here’s something all women must know about!

When a woman becomes pregnant, the risk of her blood pressure rising is substantial. This commonly happens because during pregnancy, the body is put under a tremendous amount of strain that it does not normally endure.

There are many women who suffer from hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, before they ever become pregnant, but do not become aware until diagnosed during pregnancy.

Approximately 5 percent of women suffer with high blood pressure before they decide to become pregnant and another 5-8 percent develop hypertension after they get pregnant. 

When high blood pressure is developed during pregnancy, it is known as gestational hypertension, and will usually resolve itself after the baby arrives.  However, pregnant women who develop gestational hypertension should be monitored closely after delivery, as there is an increased risk of developing it again.

Chronic hypertension

Chronic hypertension in pregnant women means they had high blood pressure before getting pregnant, or was diagnosed before reaching 20 weeks. This type of high blood pressure problem does not resolve once the baby is born, and the mother will often need treatment for the condition. 

Doctors have no definite answers as to why young women are affected by chronic hypertension, but feel heredity, diet, and lifestyle all play a major role. If chronic hypertension is left untreated, it can cause serious health problems, such as heart attack and stroke. 

Since many women are unaware they have chronic hypertension, they do not realize the risks they are running. However, if a woman knows she has high blood pressure before becoming pregnant, she should consult with a doctor before she conceives.

pre-eclampsia

There is no reason why a woman with chronic hypertension should be prevented from having children, as most women with hypertension will go on to have trouble free pregnancies while being regularly monitored. However, there are a percentage of women with hypertension prior to pregnancy that develops a dangerous gestational hypertension known as pre-eclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia is a very serious condition caused by gestational hypertension that can sometimes be fatal to both mother and child. 

Some of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia include:

  • severe headaches
  • dizziness
  • intense pain in the stomach
  • excessive swelling in face and hands
  • rapid weight gain in short time frame

It is very important that pre-eclampsia does not go undetected and untreated.

Because of all the risk factors, doctors will normally check a pregnant woman’s blood pressure at each one of her doctor visits. This helps with early detection, before the hypertension elevates to dangerous levels.

So to all the ladies out there please make sure you have regular check-ups with your family doctor so you can be sure that you are within a normal blood pressure range.