- Gestational hypertension develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy and goes away after childbirth.
- High blood pressure during pregnancy is defined as systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher and diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher.
- Timely diagnosis and management can prevent development of grave complications in mother and baby.
High blood pressure during pregnancy
Hypertension during pregnancy is defined as blood pressure greater than or equal to 140/90 mm Hg. The condition might become serious for some pregnant women if left unattended.
What are the causes of high blood pressure during pregnancy?
The causes of high blood pressure during pregnancy include:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- alcohol consumption
- history of hypertension in previous pregnancies
- family history hypertension
- carrying more than one child
- age over 35 years
- IVF pregnancies
- having diabetes or other autoimmune diseases
What are the risk factors for high blood pressure during pregnancy?
The presence of these risk factors makes high blood pressure more likely during pregnancy.
Sedentary life leads to obesity and is amongst the major risk factors for high blood pressure.
2. Type of pregnancy
Carrying your first baby, multiple pregnancies and IVF pregnancies are at high risk for developing hypertension.
Pregnant women older than 35 years are at higher risk for developing hypertension.
What are the complications of high blood pressure during pregnancy?
High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause certain complications like:
When your blood pressure is more than 140/90 mm of Hg along with presence of proteins in urine, it is known as preeclampsia. This condition can cause serious damage to your organs such as brain and kidneys. Preeclampsia is also known as toxemia of pregnancy. Severe cases of preeclampsia may be fatal and women may present with convulsions, it is then known as eclampsia.
Symptoms of preeclampsia include:
- swelling over hands, face, legs and other parts of body
- blurring of vision
- upper abdominal pain
- nausea or vomiting later in pregnancy
- difficulty in breathing
Preeclampsia can be dangerous for you and your baby both. You should contact your doctor if you have any of these signs and symptoms.
2. HELLP syndrome
It is a severe and life-threatening complication of preeclampsia. HELLP is an acronym that stands for hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count. Symptoms are same as that of severe preeclampsia.
- upper belly pain
In HELLP syndrome, there is risk of-
- Preterm birth
- Placental abruption
- Low birth weight babies
- Multi organ failure
What is the treatment for high blood pressure during pregnancy?
It is important to understand the complications associated with high blood pressure during pregnancy. When left untreated, it can lead to grave consequences both for the mother and baby. During routine ante natal visits, your blood pressure is checked and when found high, your doctor will prescribe you some oral medicines to lower your blood pressure.
Labetalol is most commonly used drug and is absolutely safe to use during pregnancy.