First of all, when we talk about pregnancy hypertension, we must remember that this condition does not prevent a woman from having a healthy, full-term baby. Having said that, it is also a fact that high blood pressure or hypertension during pregnancy could prove to be risky both for the mother and the baby.
It is also a fact that women who are genetically prone to HBP or who are patients of chronic hypertension are more likely to have a more complicated pregnancy when compared to normal healthy women.
How often do we find cases of pregnancy hypertension?
According to official estimation, in the US, 6 to 8% pregnancies have high blood pressure problems and 65% of these problematic pregnancies occur with women who are pregnant for the first time. The ill effects of high blood pressure during pregnancy include damage to the kidneys of the mother, premature delivery and low birth weight of the baby and a condition called pre-eclampsia which is basically a toxemia during pregnancy, which can be dangerous for both the mother and the baby.
While pregnancy is a condition that fills any woman with endless joy, it is also the time when your doctor would monitor your blood pressure, including several other aspects of your health. Blood pressure monitoring is important because of a condition called pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) that raises the blood pressure of a would-be mother.
During the last half of your term, if your blood pressure were above 140/90 mmHg, then your doctor would diagnose you as a patient of pregnancy-induced hypertension. This condition can be of two forms, preeclamsia and exclampsia both of which are major reasons for infant and maternal mortality in the US.
This condition is found in about 5 to 10% of all pregnancies in this country, and till now there are no pregnancy hypertension causes known. It is considered that this condition could have its root during early pregnancy during the time when the embryo is getting implanted. While during normal pregnancy the uterine blood vessels are relaxed, pregnancy hypertension women have unusually constricted blood vessels, which could be a plausible explanation for pregnancy hypertension.
Some of the pre-disposing risk factors for HBP during pregnancy are: when the mother’s age is below 20 or above 35; when the mother has a history of diabetes; is already a patient of HBP or hypertension before pregnancy.
There are several types of pregnancy hypertension, of which the three main are:
- Gestational hypertension: The most common pregnancy hypertension when the woman has a blood pressure of 140/90 during the last half of her term. No pregnancy hypertension symptoms are visible in this type of condition.
- Preeclampsia: A more serious type of pregnancy disorder, this is diagnosed when the blood pressure reading is more than 140/90 in the last 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- Eclampsia: One of the most dangerous forms of pregnancy hypertension where it may cause the woman to go into a coma.
Some of the common pregnancy hypertension symptoms include blood pressure readings above 140/90; protein found in the urine (caused by damaged kidney); swelling of face and neck; blurred vision; headache; nausea; vomiting; abdominal pain, etc. Patient education for hypertension in pregnancy is an extremely important point for consideration for all would-be mothers.
Take time off to scan through the Internet and visit forums that deal exclusively with pregnancy and possible complications, which may arise during this critical phase of your life.
Be that as it may, there is no known pregnancy hypertension cure or treatment. If pregnancy hypertension is detected towards late during the period, doctors usually advise complete bed rest and regular blood pressure monitoring. Doctor may also decide to prescribe some drug for hypertension but the best pregnancy hypertension treatment is the birth of the baby.
Once the newborn arrives, most problems simply disappear. In case pregnancy hypertension is detected during the early part of the pregnancy, your doctor would ask you to decide whether to carry the pregnancy full term or opt for an early c-section.