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High Blood Pressure during Pregnancy



Blood pressure refers to the pressure created by the blood in the arteries and when the pressure is more than 140 mm Hg systolic, it is called high blood pressure. There are many health conditions which can cause high blood pressure such as heart problems, kidney problems and stroke. During pregnancy many women may suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension, which is called gestational hypertension. In certain cases, it can be dangerous to the baby and the mother.

There are three conditions of high blood pressure during pregnancy. Chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension and pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) that is called toxemia or preeclampsia.

Women who have high blood pressure before the twentieth week suffer from chronic hypertension and gestational hypertension may be seen in the last few months of pregnancy. Preeclampsia is a serious condition, which is caused due to high blood pressure and it causes many health hazards to the pregnant woman.

Risks of hypertension

1. Damage kidney: Hypertension can damage mother's kidney or affect the other parts of the body such as liver or heart. It increases the content of protein in the urine of mother, which indicates a problem in kidney.

2. Low birth weight: High blood pressure can have an impact on the growth of the baby and it may reduce baby's weight. The baby gets a low amount of oxygen and the condition can get serious.

3. Cause preeclampsia or toxemia: Preeclampsia symptoms can be seen in pregnant women during the twentieth week. The women may suffer from vision loss, abdominal pain and headaches and it causes an increase in blood pressure of the mother. Preeclampsia may develop into a fatal condition called eclampsia, which can result in death of the mother and the baby. It can also cause pre-term labour and low birth weight.

Women at high risk of developing preeclampsia

1. Women who are below twenty years or above forty years during pregnancy.

2. Women who are obese.

3. Women carrying multiple babies.

4. Women suffering from diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and kidney problem.



Precautions

1. Reduce intake of salt to keep a control on blood pressure.

2. Try to control your weight by regularly exercising. Consult a medical practitioner to keep a check on weight.

3. Avoid tobacco and alcohol.

4. Do not continue the medications you are taking for hypertension in pregnancy without consulting the doctor.

Risk of gestational hypertension

1. Women who suffer from gestational hypertension may not have any effect on their health if it develops before the twentieth week and mild gestational hypertension can go away in six weeks of baby birth. It can happen due to pre-existing hypertension condition and it resolves after pregnancy.

2. But if the woman suffers from preeclampsia in the last three months of pregnancy, it can cause swelling called edema and it may result in eclampsia convulsion, which requires immediate medical attention but for treatment the doctor may have to first deliver the baby.

3. Women may suffer from long term effect of increased blood pressure that can cause heart disease later in life.

It is very important for the women to take prenatal care to prevent complications.





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