High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy

Why is High Blood Pressure important?

High blood pressure is a serious problem during pregnancy. Especially in women who suffer from chronic hypertension. Chronic hypertension refers to high blood pressure that is already present before pregnancy. It also includes high blood pressure that develops before 20 weeks of pregnancy or lasts more than 12 weeks after delivery.

The beginning of elevated blood pressure during pregnancy may be a sign of preeclampsia. Although, both high blood pressure and preeclampsia can be linked but they are different. Are you diagnosed of a high blood pressure before your pregnancy? You may be wondering how this will affect your pregnancy. Or if you should become pregnant at all.

How common is high blood pressure during pregnancy?

  • High blood pressure (hypertension) during pregnancy is quite a common problem.
  • One in 10 pregnant women has high blood pressure problems
  • Up to 3 in 100 pregnant women already have high blood pressure.
  • About 4 to 8 in 100 pregnant women have high blood pressure during pregnancy and do not develop pre-eclampsia.
  • Between 2 and 8 out of 100 pregnant women develop pre-eclampsia.
  • For every 100 women who have already developed pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. 16 will develop it again in future pregnancy.
  • Up to half of these women will develop gestational hypertension in future pregnancies.
  • High blood pressure problems are more common during the first pregnancy.

Can I Have Healthy Pregnancy With High Blood Pressure?

It is ideal to see your doctor before your pregnancy. This gives your health worker an opportunity to see if your high blood pressure is under control. And to review your medications. Some medications are not safe during pregnancy and can harm your child.

During pregnancy, chronic hypertension may worsen. Especially if you develop preeclampsia with chronic hypertension. If this occurs, you may develop complications. Such as congestive heart failure, changes in shape, stroke, seizures, kidney or liver problems.

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Are you predisposed to developing preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is hypertension occurring mainy during pregnancy. Even if your chronic high blood pressure is under control before pregnancy, you will finally develop preeclampsia.

If you have chronic hypertension, you may  develop preeclampsia, but that does not  mean that you will.

Additionally, if you develop preeclampsia, your doctor may recomiend induction of your labor before your due date.  This is done to prevent further complications of pregnancy. If preeclampsia is severe, your doctor may recommend a cesarean section.


Is my pregnancy classified  as high risk?

A high-risk pregnancy indicator includes some chronic medical conditions. This includes high blood pressure. So hypertension in pregnancy is within the range of high risk.



How can high blood pressure affect your baby during pregnancy?

It is possible to have chronic hypertension and have a baby in good health. But, chronic hypertension has the potential for many adverse effects on your developing baby.

These potential problems include:

  1. Decreased the growth of the child
  2. Increased risk of breathing problems before or during work
  3. Increased risk of placental abruption (separation of placenta from uterus before labor)
  4. Possible side effects of the medicines you are taking.

How Can I Manage High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy?

Although there is no cure for chronic hypertension, yet there are ways to effectively manage this condition. Caring for yourself is the best way to take care of your developing baby.

Here are some examples:

  • Eat healthy and specifically limit your sodium consumption
  • Get high blood pressure medications the way you should
  • Keep all your prenatal responsibilities
  • Stay physically active even though your doctor may prescribe rest in bed if you develop pre-eclampsia
  • Do not smoke, drink alcohol or take illegal drugs
  • Take care of body weight – do not gain too much weight.
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