High blood pressure can create complications for all of us, especially more so for pregnant moms. It is not uncommon for a woman to develop high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension anytime during her pregnancy. Today, more and more pregnant women are affected by hypertension. The figures released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention are quite alarming. One in every 12 to 17 pregnant moms are affected by high blood pressure. However, the good news is that high blood pressure can be easily controlled by consulting your doctor and following her advice.
Just remember, if left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to other severe complications that can affect the mother and baby. Let’s now take a look at the types of hypertension pregnant moms can develop and the risk factors therein.
Types of hypertension during pregnancy
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention a blood pressure reading of 140/90 is considered high.
Hypertension is classified as chronic hypertension (pre-existing), gestational hypertension (pregnancy induced) and preeclampsia. While a pregnant woman with hypertension even before she gets pregnant is known as a case of chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension is witnessed only during pregnancy, though it may extend after pregnancy and become chronic.
A pregnant mom could have had chronic hypertension due to high blood pressure even before she gets pregnant. While being overweight could be one of the reasons, hereditary factors are also cited as a cause. It is likely that a pregnant mom can develop high blood pressure during the first 20 weeks of her pregnancy even if she did not have it before she became pregnant. Another type of chronic hypertension is known as preeclampsia. It is common for moms who develop preeclampsia to have an unusually high amount of protein present in their urine, which is known as proteinuria. Such a condition may lead to kidney problems and affect the functioning of the liver as well.
This condition appears only during pregnancy and there is no marked increase of protein in the urine, nor is there any change in the functioning of the liver. Most moms develop this condition in the second half of their pregnancy (after the first 20 weeks). The good news is that this condition is temporary and will go away by itself after delivery. However, doctors don’t rule out the chances of gestational hypertension turning into chronic hypertension later in life.
Preeclampsia is a condition where pregnant moms develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. In some cases, the condition can extend even after giving birth. Doctors are of the opinion that this can be a serious condition leading to severe complications. This condition is common during the third trimester but is generally not detected until after childbirth.
Doctors confirm preeclampsia not by just getting the blood pressure readings, they also recommend certain blood and urine tests before confirming. The problem is that pregnant moms with a mild form of preeclampsia do not exhibit any symptoms whatsoever.
The common symptoms of Preeclampsia include:
- Very High Blood Pressure
- Swelling in the legs and face
- Abnormal weight gain
- Fluid retention
- Irritability Syndrome
- Breathing difficulties (shortness)
- Abdominal Pain
- Blurred vision
- Sensitive to light
Complications due to high blood pressure
Untreated and uncontrolled high blood pressure can often lead to severe complications. Especially when pregnant moms develop high blood pressure, it can affect the baby as well. Gestational hypertension is known to cause heart-related ailments later on in life. If high blood pressure is not controlled with medication it can lead to Preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. High blood pressure is also known to be the cause for strokes, placenta abruption and can even lead to preterm delivery. Hence, it is important to consult your doctor and follow the medication she prescribes. Following a low-salt diet helps in keeping high blood pressure under control.