Research shows that approximately one in ten women will develop high blood pressure (hypertension) during pregnancy. Not only can out-of-control blood pressure be dangerous to the mother, but also to the unborn child.
A person is considered to have hypertension when their blood pressure measures greater than 140/90 twice, at least six hours apart. Hypertension can greatly increase the risk of heart disease, heart failure, kidney issues and strokes.
Taking care of yourself is always important, but even more so when you are pregnant. Making healthy food choices, taking your prenatal vitamin, exercising, and no drinking or smoking while you are carrying your child are all part of managing your health. Monitoring your cholesterol levels and blood pressure is essential as well.
Types & Symptoms of Hypertension
- Chronic – The type of hypertension a woman has prior to pregnancy or develops within her first 20 weeks.
- Gestational – When a woman does not have protein in her urine and develops high blood pressure after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. This type of hypertension generally ends once the baby is delivered but the mother may be prone to high blood pressure later in life.
- Preeclampsia – The most serious form of hypertension during pregnancy and typically does not occur until after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The only way this type of high blood pressure is controlled is to deliver the baby which can be dangerous.
Sever hypertension (mainly preeclampsia) can come with a variety of symptoms including headaches that will not subside, swelling in hands and feet and vision changes. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your obstetrician or midwife immediately.
Risks and Prevention of Hypertension
Some women suffer from hypertension and experience no great risks. However, a woman’s kidneys, as well as other organs, can be negatively affected. The baby could also be born prematurely and with a low birth rate. Anyone can experience preeclampsia, but very young mothers, older mothers and mothers pregnant with multiple children are at a higher risk.
Here are some ways you can be proactive in helping to manage your blood pressure:
- Monitor your salt intake
- Exercise regularly
- Watch the type of medications you take while pregnant that could spike your blood pressure
- No smoking or drinking while pregnant
- Get a prenatal checkup
- Know your blood pressure levels before you get pregnant
For more information regarding hypertension in pregnancy, read our knowledge center article.
Are you pregnant or considering pregnancy and looking for an experienced obstetrician or midwife who you can trust? With offices located in Gainesville and Lake City, the compassionate women’s care providers can help guide you through every step of your pregnancy. Schedule an appointment with one of our compassionate pregnancy care physicians today, or browse our site to learn more about our practice.