Worried about hypertension in pregnancy? Learn why high blood pressure is more common in pregnant women and how to prevent the mother and the baby from it.
- High blood pressure is a growing concern for pregnant women and can have serious complications for both the mother and the baby.
- Blood pressure medications can be used during pregnancy, but their usage is limited and should be addressed with a healthcare physician.
- Infants delivered to women with gestational hypertension have a higher risk of developing serious health problems later in life.
The prevalence of high blood pressure during pregnancy has been increasing in recent years, with rates of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia, a severe form of high blood pressure.
This trend may be due to a variety of factors, including the increasing age of first-time mothers, the increasing prevalence of obesity, and a rise in other risk factors such as stress and sedentary lifestyles.
Therefore, understanding the causes and risk factors for high blood pressure during pregnancy is essential for preventing and managing this condition, as well as improving the outcomes for both the mother and the baby. Keep reading to learn more.
What Are The Types Of High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy?
There are three major types of high blood pressure during pregnancy:
Chronic hypertension during pregnancy refers to elevated blood pressure present before conception or diagnosed in the early stages of pregnancy (usually 20 weeks) and persists beyond delivery.
This condition increases the risk of pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia, premature delivery, and low birth weight. Women with chronic hypertension require close monitoring and management by their healthcare provider to ensure a healthy pregnancy outcome.
Gestational hypertension, also known as pregnancy-induced hypertension, is a condition in which a woman develops high blood pressure during pregnancy after 20 weeks or close to delivery.
Unlike preeclampsia, gestational hypertension does not have any symptoms or signs of organ damage and is not accompanied by protein in the urine. This condition typically resolves after delivery, but some women with gestational hypertension may be at a higher risk of developing chronic hypertension in the future.
Preeclampsia is a serious condition that occurs during pregnancy and is characterised by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It can also have other symptoms, such as swelling, rapid weight gain, headache, visual changes, and decreased urine output.
Preeclampsia can lead to serious health problems for the mother and the baby, such as premature delivery, low birth weight, placental abruption, and maternal seizures (eclampsia). It is diagnosed after 20 weeks of pregnancy and can occur in women with either normal or chronic hypertension.
Why Are Blood Pressure Rates On The Rise During Pregnancy?
Rising blood pressure in pregnant women is a growing concern due to various factors such as unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity, stress, pre-existing medical conditions and increasing maternal age.
Additionally, women with obesity, gestational diabetes and a family history of hypertension are also at higher risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy. The rise of these risk factors in the general population is also contributing to the increase in blood pressure rates in pregnant women.
It is important for pregnant women to monitor their blood pressure regularly and adopt a healthy lifestyle to minimise the risk of complications for both the mother and the foetus. Thus, it is crucial to keep your blood pressure levels in check through natural supplements to lower blood pressure.
Signs Of High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
High blood pressure during pregnancy may not always cause any noticeable symptoms, which is why it is often referred to as the “silent killer.” However, some women may experience the following signs and symptoms:
- Headaches: Frequent or severe headaches may be a sign of high blood pressure during pregnancy.
- Visual changes: Such as temporary vision loss or blurred vision, can signify preeclampsia, a severe complication of high blood pressure.
- Rapid weight gain: Sudden weight gain can indicate fluid buildup, which can be a sign of high blood pressure.
- Upper abdominal pain: Pain in the upper right side of the abdomen can be a sign of HELLP syndrome, a severe form of preeclampsia.
- Decreased urine output: A decrease in the amount of urine can be a sign of high blood pressure and damage to the kidneys.
It is crucial to note that other factors and conditions can also cause these symptoms. So, if you experience any of these symptoms during pregnancy, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Can You Take Blood Pressure Medications During Pregnancy?
Blood pressure medications can be taken during pregnancy, but the use of specific medications may be limited and should be discussed with a healthcare provider.
Some blood pressure medications are considered safe for use during pregnancy, while others may be associated with adverse effects for the mother and the baby.
The choice of medication will depend on several factors, including the severity of high blood pressure, the presence of other health conditions, and the stage of pregnancy.
In some cases, lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, may be enough to manage high blood pressure without medications during pregnancy.
It is important to always consult with a healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medication during pregnancy. They will be able to guide the safe and effective use of medications to manage high blood pressure and minimise the risk of adverse effects for both the mother and the baby.
In conclusion, the rising rates of high blood pressure during pregnancy are a growing concern and highlight the need for increased awareness and management of this condition.
Monitor blood pressure regularly, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and work with a healthcare provider to manage risk factors and help prevent and effectively manage high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Moreover, improving the outcomes for pregnant women with high blood pressure is essential for promoting the health and well-being of both the mother and the baby. By addressing this trend, one can work towards improving the health of future generations.
Mayo Clinic, “High blood pressure and pregnancy: Know the facts” Published on July 23, 2022 https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20046098
Citroner, George “Here’s Why High Blood Pressure Rates Are on the Rise for Pregnant Women in the U.S.” on September 10, 2019 https://www.healthline.com/health-news/hypertension-in-women-spikes-70-in-40-years#There-are-long-term-health-risks-
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy” on December 13, 2022 https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/pregnancy.htm