What Causes High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
It’s not clear what’s behind every case of high blood pressure during pregnancy, but there are some risk factors, including a history of long-term high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease. You might also be more at risk if you’re Black, you’re carrying multiple babies, you have type 1 or 2 diabetes, you’re younger than 20 years of age or older than 40, or you’re obese.
Another cause of an above-normal blood pressure reading may be a case of “white-coat hypertension” a pretty common phenomenon , where blood pressure temporarily spikes because you get nervous or worried in medical settings.
Still, if your doctor notices your blood pressure is above 140/90 on two separate visits, whether you’re just anxious when that cuff is placed on your arm or you have one of the above-mentioned risk factors, he or she will likely diagnose you with gestational hypertension.
What Are The Risk Factors For High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Anyone can develop high blood pressure during their pregnancy, but you are at increased risk if:
- you have had pre-eclampsia before
- your close relatives have had pre-eclampsia
- you have a medical condition such as kidney disease, diabetes or chronic hypertension
- you are older than 40 years of age
- you are having more than one baby
How Is High Blood Pressure In Pregnancy Diagnosed
High blood pressure usually doesnt cause symptoms until your blood pressure is very high, so it is usually found during an antenatal visit when you have your blood pressure checked.
At each antenatal visit, your midwife or LMC will check your blood pressure and test your urine for protein. An increase in these are warning signs of pre-eclampsia.High blood pressure in pregnancy can be diagnosed if your blood pressure is consistently high on 2 occasions. A sudden increase in blood pressure is often the first sign of a problem. Your midwife will also check if you have any of the symptoms listed above.
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If High Blood Pressure Remains Mild And Pre
There is usually little risk. You will be advised to take 75-150 mg aspirin daily from 12 weeks of pregnancy. Regular checks of your blood pressure and your urine for protein, as well as checks to see how your pregnancy is progressing, may be all that is needed until the natural time of birth. Checks may include blood tests and an ultrasound scan to look at how your baby is growing and to check the blood flow from the afterbirth to the baby. You may be followed up by an obstetrician. You may need medicines to control your blood pressure during your pregnancy. You may be offered a placental growth factor blood test to help rule out pre-eclampsia between 20 weeks and up to 35 weeks of pregnancy, if you are suspected of developing pre-eclampsia.
Severe High Blood Pressure Or Pre
Severe high blood pressure, especially with pre-eclampsia, is serious.
- The risks to you as the mother include:
- An increased chance of having a stroke.
- Damage to your kidneys and liver.
- An increased risk of blood clotting problems.
- An increased risk of severe bleeding from your placenta.
- Having fits if you go on to develop eclampsia.
- The risks to your baby include:
- An increased chance of poor growth.
- An increased chance of premature birth.
- An increased chance of stillbirth.
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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 its 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.
Low Blood Pressure Complications
While many women who have low blood pressure prior and during pregnancy do not have any related issues, there are some complications to be aware of.
Some symptoms of low blood pressure include:
- Rapid or shallow breathing
One of the most concerning complications is dizziness because it can lead to fainting, falling, and injury, secondary to the fall. Additionally, research has shown a link between low blood pressure and increased symptoms of morning sickness.
Questions For Your Doctor
- Im pregnant and have high blood pressure. How great is my risk of developing gestational hypertension or preeclampsia?
- Is there anything I can do to reduce my risk?
- Will medicines help me?
- How often will I need to see you for appointments?
- What are my treatment options?
- Will I need bed rest?
- Will I need a C-section? Or can I have a vaginal birth?
What Can You Do To Take Care Of Yourself
To help control your blood pressure and have a healthy pregnancy:
- Dont smoke. This is one of the best things you can do to help your baby be healthy. If you need help to quit smoking, talk to your doctor.
- Be sure to go to all of your prenatal checkups so your doctor or midwife can check your blood pressure. You may also want to check your blood pressure at home.
- Gain an amount of weight that is healthy for you. Your doctor or midwife can help you set a pregnancy weight goal.
- If your doctor says its okay, get regular exercise during pregnancy. Walking or swimming several times a week can help lower blood pressure. And its good for you and your baby.
- Try to keep your stress level low. This may be hard to do, especially if you continue to work, have young children, or have a hectic schedule. But try to find some time to relax.
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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.
Signs Of High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
High blood pressure is called the silent killer because often there are no symptoms, however, signs and symptoms of high blood pressure and accompanying conditions include:
- Kidney problems, such as excess protein seen on urinalysis
- Liver problems, like increased liver enzymes seen on blood work
- Moderate to severe headaches
Unfortunately, high blood pressure can happen without feeling any abnormal symptoms, says Dr. Duke, so its especially important to keep up with prenatal appointments and obtain lab work as ordered to better make your medical team aware of impending problems. The goal is to make sure you and your fetus are healthy.
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Cmo Puedo Controlar Mi Hipertensin Arterial Durante El Embarazo
Aunque no existe una cura para la hipertensión crónica, hay maneras de manejar con éxito su condición durante el embarazo. El cuidar de sí mismo es la mejor manera de cuidar de su bebé en desarrollo.A continuación se presentan algunos ejemplos:
- Consuma una dieta saludable, y especialmente limitar su consumo de sodio
- Tome sus medicamentos para la presión arterial de la manera que se supone
- Mantenga todas sus citas prenatales
- Mantenerse físicamente activo, aunque su médico le puede recetar reposo en cama si desarrolla preeclampsia
- No fumar, beber alcohol o tomar drogas ilícitas
- Controle su aumento de peso no subír demasiado
Compilado usando información de las siguientes fuentes:Harms, R. W., Johnson, R. V., & Murray, M. M. . Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.Mayo Clinic Staff. . Preeclampsia. Recuperado de The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. . Your Pregnancy and Childbirth: Month to Month, Fifth Edition. Washington, DC: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Tracking Your Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
In addition to keeping all of your prenatal care appointments so your doctor can track your blood pressure readings, you might want to turn to home blood pressure technology, which has become quite good and should be considered fairly reliable.
In fact, for women with high blood pressure concerns, a home monitor is a nice way of taking ownership of one’s care and being an active participant. Ask your physician which device he or she’d recommend and then get a quick lesson on how to use it at home.
What Is High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
A small percentage of pregnant women in the U.S. have high blood pressure at some point during their pregnancy. Some cases are mild other cases are severe. Treatment varies depending on the type you have and how far along you are in your pregnancy.
There are three main types of high blood pressure during pregnancy:
In some cases, high blood pressure during pregnancy can cause harm to you and your baby.
- You may develop gestational diabetes.
- You may experience problems with your heart or kidneys. Youre also at greater risk for a stroke.
- High blood pressure may prevent the placenta from getting enough blood. If the placenta doesnt get enough blood, your baby doesnt get enough oxygen and food. This can cause low birth weight and premature birth.
- High blood pressure can lead to placental abruption. This is when the placenta becomes unattached to the uterus. This can be a life threatening situation to both you and your baby.
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High Blood Pressure In Pregnancy Linked To Later Health Risks
By Kathryn Doyle, Reuters Health
3 Min Read
Women with slightly elevated blood pressure during pregnancy could be more likely to develop so-called metabolic syndrome later, Chinese researchers say.
Metabolic syndrome a combination of traits and symptoms such as abdominal fat and high blood sugar is a strong predictor of heart disease and diabetes. So blood pressure at the high end of normal in pregnancy could be an early warning sign, according to the study authors.
The optimal blood pressure levels in pregnant women remain an open question, said lead author Dr. Jian-Min Niu of Guangdong Women and Children Hospital in Guangzhou.
In general, healthy blood pressure usually falls at or below 120/80 mmHg, Niu said. The threshold for high blood pressure, or hypertension, is 140/90 or greater. The range between healthy and high blood pressure is sometimes called prehypertension because readings at the high end of normal may be a stage on the way to full-fledged hypertension.
In many countries, every pregnant woman has at least 10 routine checkups, Niu told Reuters Health by email. However, they will not be informed of risk unless the blood pressure level is at or greater than 140/90 mmHg.
The researchers studied 506 pregnant women with no history of high blood pressure or symptoms of diabetes, measuring their blood pressure, weight and other health metrics several times during pregnancy and for up to a year and a half after they gave birth.
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Will I Still Have High Blood Pressure After My Baby Is Delivered
High blood pressure during pregnancy typically goes away after your babys delivered. However, it increases your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease in the future. If you had a severe form of preeclampsia or gestational hypertension, you may need medication for a few weeks after delivery. Its important to see your provider within 10 days postpartum if you had a severe form of high blood pressure at delivery.
People with chronic hypertension before pregnancy will usually still have the condition after delivery. Sometimes, blood pressure can remain high after delivery, requiring treatment with medication. Your healthcare provider will work with you after your pregnancy to manage your blood pressure.
How Do Doctors Diagnose High Blood Pressure In Pregnancy
Doctors diagnose hypertension by measuring blood pressure using a blood pressure monitor and testing the levels of protein in the urine. Elevated blood pressure and protein levels in the urine indicate a preeclampsia diagnosis. However, high blood pressure without elevated urine protein levels suggests a gestational hypertension diagnosis.
ACOG notes the following blood pressure guidelines:
- normal blood pressure: 120/80 mm Hg
- elevated blood pressure: 120129/less than 80 mm Hg
- stage 1 hypertension: 130139/8089 mm Hg
- stage 2 hypertension: 140/90 mm Hg or higher
However, the journal of the American Heart Association notes that most worldwide guidelines define hypertension during pregnancy as 140/90 mm Hg.
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What To Know About High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
When most people think about high blood pressure and pregnancy, one of the first things that might come to mind is preeclampsia. And while preeclampsia is a blood pressure condition that affects pregnant and sometimes postpartum women, theres actually a lot more to having high blood pressure than you might think.
Weve rounded up all the need-to-knows about this commonand highly treatablecondition that affects 5% to 8% of all pregnancies in women ages 20 to 44 across the U.S.
Whats Considered High Blood Pressure In Adults
Healthy blood pressure in adults is a reading of 120/80 mm Hg or below. But, what does it mean if your blood pressure numbers are higher than this?
A blood pressure of 120 to 129 mm Hg systolic and under 80 mm Hg diastolic is considered elevated. Elevated blood pressure means you have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure later on.
Your doctor may suggest eating less salt, eating a heart healthy diet, or living a more active lifestyle.
If your blood pressure reading falls into any of the following ranges, its important to talk with your doctor about medication or other lifestyle changes that may help keep your hypertension under control.
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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.
Gestational High Blood Pressure
Some women can develop new high blood pressure during their pregnancy. This is called gestational high blood pressure or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure .
Gestational high blood pressure is high blood pressure that develops for the first time after the 20th week of pregnancy. Doctors can confirm this type of high blood pressure if you do not go on to develop pre-eclampsia during your pregnancy and if your blood pressure has returned to normal within six weeks of giving birth. If you have gestational high blood pressure, you do not have protein in your urine when it is tested by your midwife or doctor during your pregnancy.
Note: some women may be found to have new high blood pressure after 20 weeks of pregnancy. At first, they may not have any protein in their urine on testing. However, they may later develop protein in their urine and so be diagnosed with pre-eclampsia . You are only said to have gestational hypertension if you do not go on to develop pre-eclampsia during your pregnancy.
Risk Factors For High Blood Pressure In Pregnancy
There are many factors that can put you at risk for developing high blood pressure during pregnancy. Knowing these risk factors ahead of time can help you and your provider develop a treatment plan or prevention plan for high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Some risk factors for high blood pressure in pregnancy include:
- Being overweight
When To See A Doctor
Any pregnant woman who has any concerns over their health or the developing fetus should talk to or see their doctor or midwife.
People who have high blood pressure or are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure might want to monitor their blood pressure at home.
A healthcare provider can likely recommend the best blood pressure cuffs to use.
If home monitoring indicates that blood pressure is too high or too low, contact a healthcare provider.
Any pregnant woman who experiences signs or symptoms of preeclampsia must seek immediate medical assistance.
There are several ways for a pregnant woman to manage blood pressure safely.
According to March of Dimes, a person can take the following steps:
- take approved blood pressure medication daily
- monitor blood pressure at home
- eat foods rich in nutrients and avoid salt, processed foods, and added sugars
- go to all medical checkups
- avoid drinking, smoking, and recreational drug use
- stay active through walking or other exercises unless otherwise instructed
Women who have high blood pressure during pregnancy should follow all instructions from their healthcare provider. They should notify their doctor or midwife if they have any changes in their blood pressure or feelings.
It is not always possible to prevent high blood pressure, but a person can take steps to keep their blood pressure at normal levels before and during pregnancy.
The recommend a person take the following measures to prevent high blood pressure:
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