High Blood Pressure Complications
While many women who have hypertension prior to pregnancy do very well, there are some potential complications to be aware of. You and your doctor will come up with a plan to manage your symptoms. Additionally, women who have chronic or gestational hypertension are at risk of developing preeclampsia in their second or third trimesters.
Physiologically, the effects of progesterone typically lower blood pressure during the first and second trimester of pregnancy, according to Robert Atlas, MD, an OB/GYN who specializes in high-risk pregnancy issues at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. Blood pressure will return back to pre-pregnancy levels in the third trimester.
Additionally, he says the following are some of the more common complications associated with high blood pressure in pregnancy:
- 20% to 30% chance of developing superimposed preeclampsia, if you have hypertension prior to pregnancy
- Increased risk of preterm birth
- Increased risk of fetal growth problems, which may result in low birth weight
- Women who have underlying kidney problems have an even higher risk of blood pressure complications in pregnancy
Can High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Be Prevented
Since the cause of high blood pressure during pregnancy is unknown, its hard to prevent it. The best thing you can do to prevent high blood pressure during pregnancy is:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Walk, ride a bike, practice yoga or do some other form of exercise several times per week.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol-containing beverages.
- Get plenty of rest.
If youre at risk for developing high blood pressure, your pregnancy care provider may recommend taking a baby aspirin each day. Understanding your risk of developing high blood pressure and knowing the warning signs may prevent serious complications of the disease.
Talk to your provider about any concerns you have about your blood pressure or risk for developing hypertension.
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What Are The Different Forms Of High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
High blood pressure complicates about 10 percent of all pregnancies. There are several different types of high blood pressure during pregnancy. These types vary in severity and impact on the body. The forms of high blood pressure during pregnancy include:
- Chronic hypertension: High blood pressure which is present prior to pregnancy.
- Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia: Preeclampsia, which develops in someone who has chronic hypertension .
- Gestational hypertension: High blood pressure is noted in the latter part of pregnancy, but no other signs or symptoms of preeclampsia are present. Some women will later develop preeclampsia, while others probably have high blood pressure before the pregnancy.
- Preeclampsia: A condition only found in the latter half of pregnancy and results in hypertension, protein in the urine, and generalized swelling in the mother. It can impact other organs in the body and also cause seizures .
What Is Considered High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
A blood pressure that is greater than 130/90 mm Hg or that is 15 degrees higher on the top number from where you started before pregnancy may be cause for concern.
High blood pressure during pregnancy is defined as 140 mm Hg or higher systolic, with diastolic 90 mm Hg or higher.
Early in pregnancy, usually from 5 weeks to the middle of the second trimester, a pregnant womans blood pressure may actually decrease. This is because pregnancy hormones can stimulate blood vessels to widen. As a result, the resistance to blood flow isnt as high.
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Treatments For High Blood Pressure
Your doctor or midwife will check your blood pressure regularly. If you have high blood pressure, it is important to:
If high blood pressure is caused by a medical condition such as kidney disease, its important to talk to your doctor about what medications are safe to take during pregnancy.
Pre-eclampsia can be managed with medication and close monitoring of both you and the baby. However, it can become worse very quickly. If this happens, you may need to go to hospital or have the baby delivered early.
What Steps Can I Take To Have A Safe Delivery With High Blood Pressure
Steps that you can take to help the chances of having a safe and healthy delivery include:
- Taking any blood pressure medication as prescribed.
- Checking your blood pressure at home.
- Going to all of your prenatal visits.
- Having an early delivery if needed.
- Maintaining a healthy diet and consuming less salt.
- Following your healthcare providers instructions regarding activity and exercise.
Its important to note that most people with hypertension dont have serious complications during pregnancy and delivery if their blood pressure is well-managed.
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Who Is At Risk For Preeclampsia
You are at higher risk of preeclampsia if you:
- Had chronic high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease before pregnancy
- Had high blood pressure or preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy
- Damage to your kidneys, liver, brain, and other organ and blood systems
- A higher risk of heart disease for you
- Eclampsia, which happens when preeclampsia is severe enough to affect brain function, causing seizures or coma
- HELLP syndrome, which happens when a woman with preeclampsia or eclampsia has damage to the liver and blood cells. It is rare, but very serious.
Will I Still Have High Blood Pressure After My Baby Is Delivered
High blood pressure during pregnancy typically goes away after your babys delivered. However, it increases your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease in the future. If you had a severe form of preeclampsia or gestational hypertension, you may need medication for a few weeks after delivery. Its important to see your provider within 10 days postpartum if you had a severe form of high blood pressure at delivery.
People with chronic hypertension before pregnancy will usually still have the condition after delivery. Sometimes, blood pressure can remain high after delivery, requiring treatment with medication. Your healthcare provider will work with you after your pregnancy to manage your blood pressure.
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Heart Rate Vs Blood Pressure
Blood pressure measures the force that moves blood through your blood vessels while your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. They are both important health indicators, but they are measured independently and dont necessarily increase or decrease synchronously.
A temporary increase in heart rate, such as during exercise, is not considered problematic. In fact, your heart is expected to rise during a bout of activity and return to its resting rate afterward. And the more intense you work, the more you should expect your heart rate to rise during exercise. Your heart rate can safely double during activity so long as it returns to its resting rate relatively soon after you finish your workout.
Significant increases in blood pressure, on the other hand, are not normal and should be monitored and shared with your health care provider.
What Are High Blood Pressure Complications During Pregnancy
Complications from high blood pressure for the mother and infant can include the following:
- For the mother:preeclampsiaexternal icon, eclampsiaexternal icon, stroke, the need for labor induction , and placental abruption .1,4,5
- For the baby:preterm delivery and low birth weight .1,6 The mothers high blood pressure makes it more difficult for the baby to get enough oxygen and nutrients to grow, so the mother may have to deliver the baby early.
Discuss blood pressure problems with your health care team before, during, and after pregnancy.
What Causes High Blood Pressure
The cause of high blood pressure, or hypertension, is often unknown. It develops over time and often happens as a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Occasionally, some people have hypertension caused by an underlying condition, such as kidney disease, adrenal gland tumors or thyroid disorders, says Dr. Wong. Other conditions like pregnancy, diabetes and obesity can also increase your risk.
Some people are susceptible to high blood pressure from certain medications, such as birth control pills, some decongestants and even some over-the-counter pain relievers, says Wong. Illicit drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines may also raise blood pressure.
High blood pressure is extremely common. A 2017 to 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics found 45.5% of U.S. adults have hypertensionOstchega Y, et al. Hypertension prevalence among adults aged 18 and over: United States, 2017-2018. National Center for Health Statistics. Accessed 7/16/2021. .
Tracking Your Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
In addition to keeping all of your prenatal care appointments so your doctor can track your blood pressure readings, you might want to turn to home blood pressure technology, which has become quite good and should be considered fairly reliable.
In fact, for women with high blood pressure concerns, a home monitor is a nice way of taking ownership of one’s care and being an active participant. Ask your physician which device he or she’d recommend and then get a quick lesson on how to use it at home.
Can Low Blood Pressure Harm Your Baby
We know a lot less about the effects of low blood pressure on babies than the effects of high pressure. Some research suggests that it may lead to stillbirth and low birth weight, but this correlation is difficult to establish because there are so many other variables and risk factors involved during pregnancy. In the vast majority of cases, low blood pressure at this time is nothing to worry about.
Does Normal Blood Pressure Change With Age
Just as our blood pressure readings change according to our posture, sleep time, and stress levels throughout the day, our blood pressure changes as we age. Despite the fluctuating or changing measurements, we should maintain a normal range. As we age, we can expect changes in our cardiovascular health, including our blood pressure and cholesterol levels. There are several factors that reflect our blood pressure levels over the years, including normal blood pressure for seniors.
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Things To Know About High Blood Pressure And Pregnancy
High blood pressure also called hypertension in pregnancy may not be a common condition, but it can be a concerning one.
Women are considered to have chronic hypertension in pregnancy if they had a preexisting hypertensive condition before getting pregnant or developed high blood pressure within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. This type of hypertension should not be confused with gestational hypertension, which is high blood pressure identified after 20 weeks of pregnancy paired with normal blood pressure before pregnancy.
For women with chronic hypertension who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, there are a few things to know.
Know the risksWhile many women with chronic hypertension do well in pregnancy, it is important to know the risks associated with the condition. New research shows mortality rates have increased for pregnant women with chronic hypertension, especially among Black women. Obesity and advanced age contribute to even greater risk of hypertension-related maternal deaths.
Women who are pregnant and have chronic hypertension are also at increased risk for possible pregnancy complications, including:
It’s important for women to know the risks of chronic hypertension to help prepare for additional surveillance before and after pregnancy, as well as to modify lifestyle choices prior to conception, says Dr. Sara Junya, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group.
Preventing High Blood Pressure
To keep your blood pressure in the normal range, your daily habits are key. These things help:
Donât smoke. Among the many health problems that smoking causes, it raises your blood pressure.
Make physical activity a habit. Most experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five or more times a week. Or you could do a harder activity for a shorter period of time per session.
Eat right. Read food labels to see how much sodium is in a serving. Check with your doctor to find out what your daily limit should be. Include a lot of vegetables and fruits, along with whatever else you choose to put on your plate.
Stick to a healthy weight. Extra pounds raise your blood pressure. If youâre not sure what a healthy weight would be for you, ask your doctor.
If you drink alcohol, limit it to no more than one drink a day if youâre a woman and up to two drinks a day if youâre a man.
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Normal Blood Pressure In Pregnancy
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists state that a pregnant womans blood pressure should also be within the healthy range of less than 120/80 mm Hg.
If blood pressure readings are higher, a pregnant woman may have elevated or high blood pressure. If high blood pressure occurs during pregnancy, it may indicate serious complications such as preeclampsia.
It is important to track and manage blood pressure throughout pregnancy.
If You Are Already Taking Medicine For High Blood Pressure
If you’re already taking medicine to lower your blood pressure and want to try for a baby, talk to your GP or specialist first. They may want to switch you to a different medicine before you get pregnant.
If you find out you’re already pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. They may need to change your medicine as soon as possible.
This is because some medicines that treat high blood pressure may not be safe to take when you’re pregnant. They can reduce the blood flow to the placenta and your baby, or affect your baby in other ways.
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Signs Of High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
High blood pressure is called the silent killer because often there are no symptoms, however, signs and symptoms of high blood pressure and accompanying conditions include:
- Kidney problems, such as excess protein seen on urinalysis
- Liver problems, like increased liver enzymes seen on blood work
- Moderate to severe headaches
Unfortunately, high blood pressure can happen without feeling any abnormal symptoms, says Dr. Duke, so its especially important to keep up with prenatal appointments and obtain lab work as ordered to better make your medical team aware of impending problems. The goal is to make sure you and your fetus are healthy.
Normal Blood Pressure For Pregnant Women
Normal Blood Pressure for Pregnant Women When we are pregnant, of course, we must always take care of our health. Because during pregnancy we must take good care of the baby in the womb so that later the baby born will be healthy according to our expectations as parents.
This time we will discuss one of the problems that pregnant women often experience, that is the problem of blood pressure.
There are pregnant women who experience high blood pressure or hypertension and there are also those who experience low blood pressure or hypotension.
So that mothers no longer experience it, this time we will thoroughly discuss the normal blood pressure of pregnant women in each trimester and treatment. Heres the full review:
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Reference Ranges In Subgroups Of Normal Pregnancies
The reference ranges of SBP and DBP across gestation in the low-risk group and in the high-risk group of women who had normal pregnancies are shown in Fig. Fig.2.2. Supplementary Table 2 summarizes the predicted values and 95% reference ranges of SBP and DBP at 12, 20 and 37 weeks gestation. Reference ranges in the high-risk group were generally around 4mmHg higher than in the low-risk group across pregnancy for both nulliparous and multiparous women. SBP for nulliparous women in the high-risk group did not show a mid-pregnancy dip, but increased throughout pregnancy.
Reference ranges for systolic and diastolic blood pressure between 12 and 40 weeks gestation in low-risk and high-risk normal pregnancies. Centiles are labelled. The low-risk group included women who had a normal prepregnancy BMI and did not smoke either immediately prior to or during pregnancy. The high-risk group included overweight or obese women who smoked either immediately prior to pregnancy, in the first trimester or throughout pregnancy.
Reference ranges for SBP and DBP by maternal prepregnancy BMI category for nulliparous nonsmokers with normal pregnancies . Centiles are labelled.
Reference ranges for SBP and DBP by maternal smoking during pregnancy for nulliparous normal-weight women with normal pregnancies . Centiles are labelled.