What Are The Treatments For Preeclampsia
Delivering the baby can often cure preeclampsia. When making a decision about treatment, your provider take into account several factors. They include how severe it is, how many weeks pregnant you are, and what the potential risks to you and your baby are:
- If you are more than 37 weeks pregnant, your provider will likely want to deliver the baby.
- If you are less than 37 weeks pregnant, your health care provider will closely monitor you and your baby. This includes blood and urine tests for you. Monitoring for the baby often involves ultrasound, heart rate monitoring, and checking on the baby’s growth. You may need to take medicines, to control your blood pressure and to prevent seizures. Some women also get steroid injections, to help the baby’s lungs mature faster. If the preeclampsia is severe, you provider may want you to deliver the baby early.
The symptoms usually go away within 6 weeks of delivery. In rare cases, symptoms may not go away, or they may not start until after delivery . This can be very serious, and it needs to be treated right away.
Normal Bp Changes In Pregnancy
Your heart, blood vessels, and blood volume change a lot during pregnancy. Why? To nourish and grow your unborn baby. The amount of blood in your body doubles, and so does the work of your heart muscle. To accommodate the extra blood and keep your blood pressure normal, your blood vessels relax.
These changes happen at slightly different stages. Blood pressure drops a little in the second trimester as the blood vessels relax. By the third trimester, most pregnant women see a slight and normal increase in blood pressure.
What Pregnancy Complications Can High Blood Pressure Cause
High blood pressure can cause problems for you and your baby during pregnancy, including:
Problems for moms include:
If you have high blood pressure during pregnancy, youre also more likely have a cesarean birth . This is surgery in which your baby is born through a cut that your doctor makes in your belly and uterus.
Problems for babies include:
- Premature birth. This is birth that happens too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Even with treatment, a pregnant woman with severe high blood pressure or preeclampsia may need to give birth early to avoid serious health problems for her and her baby.
- Fetal growth restriction. High blood pressure can narrow blood vessels in the umbilical cord. This is the cord that connects the baby to the placenta. It carries food and oxygen from the placenta to the baby. If you have high blood pressure, your baby may not get enough oxygen and nutrients, causing him to grow slowly.
- Low birthweight. This is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
- Fetal death. When a baby dies spontaneously in the womb at any time during pregnancy.
- Neonatal death. This is when a baby dies in the first 28 days of life.
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Eclampsia And Hellp Syndrome
Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and preeclampsia can lead to serious and life-threatening conditions like eclampsia and HELLP syndrome.
Eclampsia: This is when blood pressure in pregnancy rises so high that it causes seizures or coma in the mother. Sixty percent of eclampsia comes on during pregnancy, 20% during delivery, and 20% after delivery.
HELLP syndrome: This acronym stands for hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count. In this condition, your body destroys its own red blood cells, liver cells are damaged, and you may bleed too easily. Seventy percent of cases happen during pregnancy and 30% after delivery.
The terms preeclampsia and eclampsia sound like you need to have preeclampsia before getting eclampsia. But thats not always true. Some women with eclampsia dont have any symptoms of high blood pressure or preeclampsia before they start experiencing seizures. The same thing goes for HELLP syndrome. It can appear without warning.
Luckily, these conditions are rare. Eclampsia happens in less than 0.1% of pregnancies in the United States, while HELLP happens in 0.1-0.2 % of all pregnancies. Rates are higher for black and some latino women, as well as women who have pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and preeclampsia.
How Do You Treat Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Your doctor may not need to treat your low blood pressure unless it is really low or you have symptoms like fainting or falling, which can increase the risk of injury for you and your baby. Generally, treatment involves rest, taking care when sitting up or standing, drinking more water, and making changes to your diet.
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High Blood Pressure Symptoms In Pregnancy
In some cases the symptoms of high blood pressure during pregnancy may be subtle or go unnoticed. Because many changes take place when pregnant, it is important to know the symptoms of high blood pressure.
A blood pressure during pregnancy of 140/90 is considered high during pregnancy and a diagnosis of gestational hypertension is given. Severe high blood pressure in pregnancy is 160/110. A typical blood pressure is around 120/80.
Some signs of high blood pressure in pregnancy include:
- Severe headaches
- Excess protein in urine
- Changes in vision
- Upper abdominal pain
Am I Predisposed To Develop Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is high blood pressure that occurs exclusively in pregnancy. Therefore, even if your chronic high blood pressure is under control before you are pregnant, you may later develop preeclampsia, as well. If you have chronic hypertension, you are more likely to develop preeclampsia, but it does not necessarily mean you will. Also, should you develop preeclampsia, your doctor may recommend inducing labor before your due date to prevent further pregnancy complications. If the preeclampsia is severe, your doctor may recommend a cesarean birth.
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Elevated Blood Pressure In First Trimester Increases Risk For Blood Pressure Disorder Later In Pregnancy
Elevated blood pressure in the first trimester of pregnancy, or an increase in blood pressure between the first and second trimesters, raises the chances of a high blood pressure disorder of pregnancy, according to a study funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development , part of the National Institutes of Health.
The study was led by Alisse Hauspurg, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and appears in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The researchers sought to determine how revisions in guidelines for blood pressure in non-pregnant adults might apply to pregnant women. The results suggest that blood pressure readings lower than those traditionally used to identify women as having high blood pressure may indicate a higher risk for a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy, such as gestational high blood pressure, which develops after the 20th week of pregnancy, and preeclampsia, or high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Both conditions increase the risk for stroke in the mother and for stillbirth, preterm birth and low birth weight. Preeclampsia also increases the risk for eclampsialife-threatening seizures for the mother.
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Tips For Tracking Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
There are ways to track your blood pressure between doctor visits.
You can buy a blood pressure monitor from a pharmacy or online medical goods store. Many of these devices will go on your wrist or upper arm. To check the monitors accuracy, take it to your doctors office and compare the readings on the monitor to those from your doctor.
Visit a grocery store, pharmacy, or other store that has a machine that takes blood pressure readings.
For the most accurate readings, take your blood pressure at the same time every day. Take it while seated with your legs uncrossed. Use the same arm each time.
Notify your doctor immediately if you have repeated high blood pressure readings that are four hours apart or symptoms of high blood pressure.
If you have high blood pressure during pregnancy, there can be complications.
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High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Some women have high blood pressure during pregnancy. This can put the mother and her baby at risk for problems during the pregnancy. High blood pressure can also cause problems during and after delivery.1,2 The good news is that high blood pressure is preventable and treatable.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is very common. In the United States, high blood pressure happens in 1 in every 12 to 17 pregnancies among women ages 20 to 44.3
High blood pressure in pregnancy has become more common. However, with good blood pressure control, you and your baby are more likely to stay healthy.
The most important thing to do is talk with your health care team about any blood pressure problems so you can get the right treatment and control your blood pressurebefore you get pregnant. Getting treatment for high blood pressure is important before, during, and after pregnancy.
Can High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Be Prevented
Since the cause of high blood pressure during pregnancy is not known, it is not a condition that can usually be prevented. In some women at high risk for developing high blood pressure, healthcare providers often recommend daily baby aspirin for prevention. High blood pressure during pregnancy can sometimes be managed and controlled with the help of a healthcare provider. However, this may often require delivery of the baby. Your blood pressure will be checked regularly during prenatal appointments. If you have any concerns about your blood pressure, speak with your healthcare provider.
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What Steps Can I Take To Have A Safe Delivery With High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Steps that patients with high blood pressure during pregnancy can take to help the chances of having a safe and healthy delivery include:
- Taking any blood pressure medication as prescribed
- Going to all of your prenatal visits
- Having an early delivery if it is needed
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Following your healthcare providers instructions regarding activity and exercise
How Is High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Different From High Blood Pressure At Other Times
High blood pressure during pregnancy can impact the body in different ways than it normally would. Mothers with high blood pressure during pregnancy are at a higher risk of complications before, during and after the birth. Not only is the mothers health in danger, but the baby can be impacted by high blood pressure during pregnancy.
High blood pressure during pregnancy can affect the development of the placenta, causing the nutrient and oxygen supply to the baby to be limited. This can lead to an early delivery, low birth weight, placental separation and other complications for the baby.
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Managing High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Taking care of yourself when you have a case of high blood pressure in pregnancy usually involves taking medication such as low-dose aspirin to help prevent preeclampsia. Medications used for treating high blood pressure in pregnancy have been widely studied and are considered safe for your baby.
Your doctor may also recommend that you try to sleep on your left side to keep the pressure off of your inferior vena cava, the vein that carries blood from your lower extremities to your heart.
Close contact with your doctor or midwife is critical for women with high blood pressure problems, since lifestyle changes such as weight loss and salt management cant help with a high reading the way they can when youre not pregnant. In fact, high blood pressure in pregnancy is rarely lifestyle related and should always involve regular medical check-ins.
Moms-to-be with elevated blood pressure will usually need to be delivered early, around 37 or 38 weeks, or when diagnosed if it is past that point. If you are preeclamptic, waiting on labor could lead to worsening blood pressure, worsening labs or seizures.
High blood pressure during pregnancy isnt that unusual and fortunately its very treatable. If you attend all of your prenatal care visits and follow your doctors advice, your case of gestational hypertension should ease up after you deliver your bundle of joy.
Preeclampsia: Spot High Blood Pressure Symptoms During Or After Pregnancy
High blood pressure is a serious healthconcern. In the U.S., cardiologists and family practice doctors regularly checkfor high blood pressure and discuss it with patients. Obstetricians check bloodpressure in their patients weekly at the end of pregnancy. But women who haverecently given birth arent as likely to get the recommended follow-up theyneed.
High blood pressure that occurs duringpregnancy is called preeclampsia. While the exact number of women who develop preeclampsia isunknown, some estimates suggest that it affects approximately 3.4 percent of pregnancies in the U.S. When bloodpressure reaches greater than 160/110, its considered a medical emergency thatrequires treatment to prevent severe complications, such as stroke or bleedingin the brain. In fact, severe hypertension is among the leading causes of maternal death in Texas and across thecountry.
In the field of obstetrics, theres been anincreased focus on how health care providers should address treatment of highblood pressure during pregnancy and following delivery. A large part of thediscussion is doing a better job of educating patients about the symptoms ofpreeclampsia. But information on the subject is sparsely distributed and tendsto be shuffled into the stacks of literature we send home with pregnant womenand new mothers who often are focused more on their babies health than theirown.
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Treating Low Blood Pressure
The main goal in treating low blood pressure during pregnancy is symptom reduction, especially if you are experiencing dizziness and fainting. For the most part, many people can manage symptoms of low blood pressure with lifestyle modifications, such as:
- Staying hydrated
- Consuming enough calories to support you and your baby
- Avoiding standing for long periods of time
- Moving slowly from a supine or prone position to a standing position
Blood pressure tends to be lower when a person is at rest and can cause blood to pool in the legs, so it’s important to move positions or get up from a seated or reclining position slowly to avoid the onset of symptoms, such as dizziness or fainting.
If a patient is on a medication that may cause low blood pressure, we would recommend discontinuing the medication, explains Atlas. Like high blood pressure, treating low blood pressure with medication during pregnancy is only recommended when absolutely necessaryand only with medications known to be safe during pregnancy.
Things You Can Try Yourself To Reduce High Blood Pressure
Keeping active and doing some physical activity each day, such as walking or swimming, can help keep your blood pressure in the normal range. Eating a balanced diet and keeping your salt intake low can help to reduce blood pressure.
There isn’t enough evidence to show that dietary supplements such as magnesium, folic acid or fish oils are effective at preventing high blood pressure.
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What Are The Different Types Of Hypertension
There are two types of hypertension:
- Primary hypertension or essential hypertension is the most common type, and there is no known cause for it. This type of high blood pressure usually takes many years to develop is often the result of lifestyle, environment and older age.
- Secondary hypertension is caused by another health problem or medication:
- Kidney problems
- Thyroid or adrenal gland problems
- Side effects of some medications
What You Can Expect
Finding the information you need, when you need it, is easier than ever. Along with the addition of HealthyFamilies BC content, we also updated the look and feel of the HealthLinkBC.ca site. Youll find featured topics and healthy living articles on the main page. The site menu received a refresh that makes for easier navigation. Topics include:
- Healthy Eating & Physical Activity
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What Are Types Of High Blood Pressure Conditions Before During And After Pregnancy
Your doctor or nurse should look for these conditions before, during, and after pregnancy:1,11
Chronic hypertension means having high blood pressure* before you get pregnant or before 20 weeks of pregnancy.1 Women who have chronic hypertension can also get preeclampsia in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.1
This condition happens when you only have high blood pressure* during pregnancy and do not have protein in your urine or other heart or kidney problems. It is typically diagnosed after 20 weeks of pregnancy or close to delivery. Gestational hypertension usually goes away after you give birth. However, some women with gestational hypertension have a higher risk of developing chronic hypertension in the future.1,12
Preeclampsia happens when a woman who previously had normal blood pressure suddenly develops high blood pressure* and protein in her urine or other problems after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Women who have chronic hypertension can also get preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia happens in about 1 in 25 pregnancies in the United States.1,13 Some women with preeclampsia can develop seizures. This is called eclampsia, which is a medical emergency.1,11
Symptoms of preeclampsia include:
Some women have no symptoms of preeclampsia, which is why it is important to visit your health care team regularly, especially during pregnancy.
You are more at risk for preeclampsia if:1
What Are The Symptoms Of Preeclampsia
Possible symptoms of preeclampsia include:
- High blood pressure
- Too much protein in your urine
- Swelling in your face and hands. Your feet may also swell, but many women have swollen feet during pregnancy. So swollen feet by themselves may not be a sign of a problem.
- Headache that does not go away
- Vision problems, including blurred vision or seeing spots
- Pain in your upper right abdomen
- Trouble breathing
Eclampsia can also cause seizures, nausea and/or vomiting, and low urine output. If you go on to develop HELLP syndrome, you may also have bleeding or bruising easily, extreme fatigue, and liver failure.
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