Some women may experience high blood pressure during pregnancy. That is why it is important to always monitor the blood pressure of an expectant mom as this can put her and the baby at risk.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, high blood pressure happens in 1 in every 12 to 17 pregnancies among women ages 20 to 44. High blood pressure, or commonly known as hypertension, may also cause problems during and after delivery.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this to ensure the health of the mother and child.
What are the types of complications related to high blood pressure during pregnancy?
The following are high blood pressure complications that may occur before, during, and after pregnancy:
- Chronic hypertension. This means that a woman experiences high blood pressure even before pregnancy. This may also cause preeclampsia during pregnancy.
- Gestational hypertension. This is when a woman only experiences high blood pressure during pregnancy and lacks protein in urine, or has other heart and kidney problems. This condition usually goes away after giving birth. However, women who experienced gestational hypertension have a higher risk of developing hypertension after pregnancy.
- Preeclampsia. This happens when a woman who has normal blood pressure suddenly develops high blood pressure during pregnancy. Severe preeclampsia can cause damage to many organs in the pregnant woman and lead to poor baby growth and stillbirth. If not properly managed, it can lead to eclampsia, where the mother is severely affected and seizures occur.
The symptoms of preeclampsia include:
- Severe headaches
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Visual disturbances
- Swelling of face, feet, and hands
- Increase in urine protein
- Sudden weight gain
- Trouble breathing
Women who are below 18 and those who are over the age of 35 are more susceptible to preeclampsia. But this does not exclude those who are not within that age range, that is why it is important to always monitor your blood pressure if you are pregnant.
Learn more about preeclampsia and who are more susceptible to this condition.
Treatments and drugs of high blood pressure during pregnancy
Having high blood pressure or hypertension while you are pregnant can be alarming. But there are ways to control this with the help of some prescribed medications.
- Oral blood pressure medication. Doctors can prescribe medications such as Methyldopa and Nifedipine to control blood pressure. This is applicable if the condition is not severe preeclampsia.
- Corticosteroids. This medication can help the liver and platelets to better function, which can lead to a better chance of bringing your pregnancy closer to full term.
- Aspirin. For women who have had preeclampsia, doctors can prescribe aspirin to help improve blood flow to the placenta.
Always ask your doctor before taking any medication to ensure your and your baby’s health and safety.
How to manage blood pressure before, during, and after pregnancy
Like any health condition, prevention is the best way to avoid hypertension during pregnancy. Here are some suggestions about maintaining a good blood pressure before pregnancy:
- Avoid unnecessary stress. Before going to bed, try to relax with aromatherapy or relieve stress with a home massage using herbal oil.
- Follow a healthy diet. Take salt in moderation and start adding food like oatmeal, celery, blueberry, papaya, yoghurt, carrots, salmon and spinach to maintain a healthy blood pressure. It may also help to add some prenatal vitamins to your diet.
- Stay away from alcohol and cigarettes. These are not only a no-no in pregnancy, they also have harmful effects on your blood pressure.
- Exercise regularly. Go out and try to do simple exercises such as walking and stretching to reduce your blood pressure.
During pregnancy, always make sure to:
- Visit your doctor regularly.
- Always monitor your blood pressure.
- Consult with your gynaecologist in case you experience preeclampsia.
- Eat healthy foods and keep a healthy weight.
- Manage stress and relax by having a massage with pregnancy-safe oils.
- End your day with a warm bath or shower, using pregnancy-safe shampoo.
- Pay attention to how you feel after giving birth.
- Take note that blood pressure is expected to return to normal 12 weeks after giving birth.
Thinking about high blood pressure or hypertension during pregnancy can be a little alarming. But like any medical condition, always keep in mind that you can control this when you have a better understanding about it. Of course, it is best to always take care of yourself to make sure you have a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.
Original Publisher: theAsianparent