High Blood Pressure And Pregnancy

Blood pressure is the extra force exerted on the blood vessel walls to make the blood flow past the blockage or resistance. A high blood pressure reading is mainly 140mmHg or more in systolic and 9mmHg or more in diastolic. High blood pressure is a silent killer; it hardly shows any symptoms till it reaches the final stages and attacks the vital organs of the body.

High blood pressure can also have some effects on the fetus of the pregnant women, although many pregnant women do bear healthy babies despite the disease. But as it’s a dangerous condition, the best option is timely diagnosis and immediate treatment. Women who have pre-existing high blood pressure, also known as chronic high blood pressure, suffer from more complications during pregnancy than the women with normal blood pressure. A few women develop hypertension during pregnancy which is often known as gestational hypertension.

The side effects of this disease can be mild or severe, depending on the women and their high blood pressure condition. It can harm the pregnant woman’s kidneys and also plays a part in low weight of the child at the time of birth and early delivery. Some mothers also develop preeclampsia which occurs in the most severe cases and is highly perilous as it puts the life of both mother and fetus in jeopardy.

Preeclampsia is a hypertension disorder which generally starts in the pregnancy’s 20th week. This condition arises because of increased blood pressure in the mother as well as high protein amount in the urine which is caused due to malfunctioning of kidneys. Preeclampsia has severe effects on the placenta which can later damage the liver, kidneys and even the brain. Some symptoms of this disease are seizures.

Preeclampsia seizures, often known as eclampsia, are the second leading reason for maternal deaths in the United States. High blood pressure problems occur in almost 70% women who are pregnant. In 1998 alone, almost 146,320 cases of preeclampsia were reported.

What Causes High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy?

There are various causes of high blood pressure in pregnant women. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute states that the most possible causes of this issue are being overweight or obese, alcohol consumption, smoking, less body activity, a history of chronic hypertension, kidney diseases and preeclampsia in family, assistive technology like IVF, possibility of twins, first time of pregnancy and aging (usually targeting women above 40).

High blood pressure is also caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and poor diet. Such risks during pregnancy can have disastrous effects on the fetus as well as the mother. Staying fit and smart and doing daily exercises or yoga, helps regulate the high blood pressure effects, immensely.

A lot of women who are going through their first pregnancy also have a relatively high chance of hypertension. If you are in a steady relationship and are bearing child with the same partner in future, the chances will fortunately decrease in the rest of the pregnancies.

Some women who are bearing more than one child are also a target of hypertension which is related to the extra stress that their body deals with. Aging is also an important factor that triggers high blood pressure issues among women who are above 40.

American Society for Reproductive Medicine states that the use of assistive technologies like IVF, during the processes of conception also increases the chances of high blood pressure problems among pregnant women.

It has been observed that women who have a history of high blood pressure or suffer from chronic high blood pressure are at a higher risk of this disease during pregnancy. This gives rise to severe complications during the 9 month time period for the fetus. After a period of 20 weeks, preeclampsia develops in the majority of these women, which is one of the most dangerous pregnancy complications pertaining to high blood pressure. With timely treatment, the baby and mother both can be steered away from harm’s way.

Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

Although high blood pressure itself has no major symptoms, there are some huge side effects and risks associated with hypertension in pregnant women.

Pregnant women suffering from hypertension suffer from decreased blood flow to the placenta. The fetus’s life depends on the mother’s placenta and through this tract the baby receives oxygen and essential nutrients. If the placenta receives less blood, then it affects the fetus and it won’t be able to get enough nutrients and oxygen. This might result in the slow growth of the baby, low weight at the time of birth and even premature birth. Premature delivery can cause breathing issues for the baby.

Preeclampsia, causes placental abruptions where the placenta separates from the inner wall of the woman’s uterus. This happens before the delivery and thus, causes heavy bleeding and severely damages the placenta. This situation can be life threatening for both the mother and the baby.

Among many pregnant women, high blood pressure causes cardiovascular diseases in the future. If you have had an episode of preeclampsia the risk is huge. Premature birth also plays a vital role in the development of cardiovascular diseases. The best way to minimize these risks is to maintain a healthy diet, enriched with important nutrients, fruits and vegetables and following a good lifestyle. Daily exercising and abstinence from smoking and drinking alcohol also helps in reducing the risk of heart related problems.

High blood pressure issues among women case nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath which is followed by lungs filling up with fluid, a decrease in the amount of platelets in blood, blurred vision and temporary loss of vision, light headedness causing dizziness, increased level of protein in urine, kidney issues, decreased urine output, abdominal pains and pain under the ribs, malfunctioning of the liver and light sensitivity.

How To Prevent High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

A lot of women suffering from high blood pressure during pregnancy are given drugs to keep the blood pressure in check and within the normal range. If the blood pressure drops for a consistent period of time, these drugs can be stopped for a while.

In some cases, these anti-hypertensive drugs are not prescribed by the doctors during the days of pregnancy. Therefore it is strictly advised to all pregnant women that the use of such drugs without the doctors’ permission can put the life of your baby at risk. If you are taking these medicines for your blood pressure and you become pregnant during your course, you should inform your doctor about it. They might switch you to a different medication. Otherwise, these medicines can damage the placenta, the most important route for the fetus through which it gains nutrients and oxygen. The blood supply to the placenta can be affected and it can cause harm to both you and the baby. For this purpose, it is important for the antenatal team to check you and your baby on regular intervals so that there are no complications of any sort.

The types of treatment depend on the type of high blood pressure. Healthy pregnancy greatly depends on normal blood pressure. Physical activity and regular exercises or yoga routines can immensely benefit you in keeping your blood pressure under control. A balanced diet is extremely essential and ensures that you keep the salt intake to a minimum. Various supplements that are known to reduce blood pressure like magnesium, fish capsules, antioxidants and folic acids. But in truth, there is no significant evidence to scientifically prove this theory as yet.

One of the most dangerous high blood pressure diseases is preeclampsia. To avoid this risk, maintain a diet plan which is rich in important nutrients and make fruits and vegetables a part of your daily meals. Keep your weight as low as possible. In some cases your doctor might recommend you to take low doses of aspirin to ensure you do not face the peril of preeclampsia.

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