High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a serious problem all on its own. It can cause potentially fatal issues such as heart attacks or strokes.
That is why it is recommended that people get regularly screened in order to determine whether their blood pressure is elevated or not. However, when you combine it with a pregnancy it starts to pose several distinct problems for the women that have it.
Why Is It Dangerous?
If a woman has hypertension, whether it developed before or after conception, there is the possibility for her pregnancy to suffer from certain complications. The blood flow to the fetus is decreased which also limits the amount of nutrients the baby receives.
This can stunt their growth and increase the chances of a low weight at birth which itself comes with several increased risks and medical problems.
High blood pressure in pregnancy can also cause the placenta to separate from the uterus. This can deprive the baby of regular oxygen levels and also cause bleeding for the mother.
The combination of high blood pressure and pregnancy can lead to preeclampsia, a condition which has the potential to cause serious cardiovascular problems for the women later in life, even if their hypertension problem is treated. Oftentimes pregnant mothers with high blood pressure are required to deliver the baby early in order to prevent serious medical complications.
Types of High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy
Based on the time when hypertension was developed as well as its seriousness there are several types of this condition which pregnant women can experience:
Chronic hypertension. This occurs when the condition was already present in the mother before conception. Chronic hypertension can also develop within the first two trimesters of the pregnancy or when the high blood pressure lasts for several months after the birth.
Gestational hypertension. This condition occurs when the high blood pressure develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Usually, this problem goes away after the birth.
Preeclampsia. Both previous versions of hypertension can lead to preeclampsia a more serious condition caused by high blood pressure and protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This form of hypertension must be treated immediately, otherwise the consequences can be potentially fatal.
The doctor who is treating the pregnant woman should be aware if she has high blood pressure or not and he will be able to prescribe the right kind of medication that will not interfere with the pregnancy whatsoever.
He can also advise the mother on what she can do in order to lower her blood pressure before, during and after the pregnancy. Besides medication, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle are usually sufficient to deal with the problem.
High blood pressure and pregnancy can each come with their own sets of medical issues and complications which are then increased when the two are combined.
Every pregnant woman should take the condition of hypertension very seriously because it could potentially cause a lot of harm to them and their babies.