Even the healthiest of women can develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. When caught early and monitored, most women go on to deliver healthy babies without issue. In fact, in many cases of gestational hypertension, once the baby is born, mom’s blood pressure returns to normal.
In some cases, hypertension that develops during pregnancy can be dangerous, especially if it’s due to an underlying condition.
Here’s what you should know about hypertension during pregnancy.
Types of Hypertension
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. Women can develop different types of hypertension when they’re pregnant.
If a woman had high blood pressure prior to conceiving or develops high blood pressure before 20 weeks of pregnancy, they’re then diagnosed with chronic hypertension.
Similar to gestational diabetes, another condition that only occurs with pregnancy, gestational hypertension is high blood pressure that develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy. There is usually no sign of protein or ketones in the urine. However, if not detected and managed appropriately, some women may go on to develop preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a very serious condition, which can be fatal to mother and baby.
Signs of preeclampsia include high blood pressure and signs of possible organ damage, usually diagnosed with blood tests and urine sample. If severe, induction of labor may be warranted.
There are many things that can cause high blood pressure in pregnancy. Some of the most common include:
- Lack of physical activity
- Family history of high blood pressure in pregnancy
- Multiple births
If diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor will treat accordingly. If you don’t have a previous history of high blood pressure and it’s only borderline elevated, they might watch and wait, monitoring your blood pressure more often.
They may ask you to make certain lifestyle changes such as increasing exercised, avoiding salt and eating a balanced diet. Stress can also increase your blood pressure, so your doctor may also recommend you find ways to minimize the amount of stress in your life.
If blood pressure levels are high on repeated checks, you might be started on an oral medication. Both labetolol and Aldomet are safe to take during pregnancy.
Since high blood pressure in pregnancy can lead to serious complications for both mom and baby, it’s important to follow doctor’s orders and report any red-flag symptoms immediately.