Hypertension or high blood pressure developed before or during pregnancy needs special care. It poses great risks to your pregnancy by depriving the placenta of oxygen and nutrients thus resulting in low birth weight of your baby. It could also cause premature delivery of your baby.
The different types of high blood pressure found during pregnancy are
- Chronic Hypertension- this type of hypertension is present before you are pregnant or before 20 weeks of gestation. It does not go away with delivery. Your blood pressure needs to be monitored and kept under control. Your gynecologist may prescribe medications which are safe for the baby to keep blood pressure under control. You might require an early delivery if your condition worsens or you develop preeclampsia.
- Preeclampsia this is a condition in pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and presence of protein in urine. It is generally observed after 20 weeks of gestation and goes away after delivery. Preeclampsia may become serious in some cases causing seizures called eclampsia. So you need regular monitoring by your health care specialist.
- Gestational Hypertension This type of hypertension is observed in pregnant women after 20 weeks of gestation. There is no protein in urine and this hypertension goes away after delivery.
Symptoms of Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia can be life threatening. The following symptoms may be noticed either gradually or at once.
- Persistent headaches
- Upper abdominal(usually on the right side) pain
- Changes in vision like blurred vision, loss of vision.
- Sudden weight gain
- Swelling particularly in the face and eyes
If prior to conception you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor or cardiologist who can prescribe treatment changes. In case you are overweight, you might be asked to shed a few kilograms.
During pregnancy, your weight and blood pressure is checked at each visit. Frequent blood, urine and ultrasound test would be recommended to monitor you and your babys health.
Apart from that you can take good care of yourself by staying active, taking medications as prescribed, eating a healthy low sodium diet, gaining only a healthy amount of weight, avoiding alcohol and smoking.
Labor may be induced a few days before your due date to avoid complications. Induction may be recommended even earlier in case you develop preeclampsia or other complications.