High blood pressure during pregnancy / Preeclampsia.

Blood pressure equal to or greater than 130/80 mm Hg signifies high blood pressure or hypertension.
During pregnancy, high blood pressure if not well managed, might arise to more complications on the mother and the developing baby.    
A 6-8 percent estimate of pregnant woman in United States of ages between 20-40, according to The Center for Disease Control (CDC), experience this condition.

The following are what might lead to high blood pressure during pregnancy.

High blood pressure during pregnancy, is caused by several causes which include:

– age (over 35).
– being overweight or obese.
– pregnancy-related hypertension family history.
– first-time pregnancy.
– not getting enough  physical activity
– more than one child pregnancy.
– smoking.
– drinking alcohol.
– vitro fertilization (IVF) assistive technology.
– diabetes or other autoimmune disorders .

Risks that can be brought by high blood pressure during pregnancy. 

High blood pressure during pregnancy might be likely more due to a few risk factors that include:

Type of pregnancy:

Women undergoing their first pregnancy are more likely to have high blood pressure. Fortunately, the chances of these conditions might diminish in their subsequent pregnancies.

Pregnancy type – Pregnancy being experienced for the first time, is always associated with high blood pressure since the body system is being triggered by this new condition. And so the body has to take time to adjust to this new condition.
Fortunately, in the subsequent pregnancies, there is a lower chance of high blood pressure risks. Since the body system will be when it has got used to the conditions.

Carrying multiples:
This overloads the body’s system inorder to nourish more than one baby making it easier for a woman to develop hypertension.

Lifestyle:
Choices made towards your lifestyle, have a big impact to your health. Some choices might lead to unhealthy lifestyle that results into overweight or obese which can increase blood pressure.

Use of additive technologies (IVF):
During the conception process, there are increased chances on the woman to experience increase high blood pressure.

Age:
At 35 and above for pregnant women, there are higher risks of experiencing high blood pressure due to aging.

NOTE:
Most women who have previous records of high blood pressure, are more vulnerable to experiencing more complications during pregnancy.

Pregnancy-related types of blood pressure conditions.
It can be divided into different conditions:

Chronic hypertension:
This follows a pre-existing high blood pressure or hypertension condition before getting pregnant. This being chronic hypertension, it’s normally treated with blood pressure medication.
If you experience high blood pressure before 20th week of pregnancy, it will be declared chronic by the doctors.

Gestational hypertension:
This normally develops after the 20th week of pregnancy which is usually resolved after delivery. It’s chances are higher to progress to preeclampsia if diagnosed before 30 weeks.

Superimposed preeclampsia on chronic hypertension:
Women with chronic hypertension records before pregnancy, have chances and are more vulnerable to developing preeclampsia. This occurs when they go through additional complications and having protein in their urine.

Blood pressure tracking/analysing during pregnancy:

Systolic pressure – is the top number which takes the records of your heart beat, while squeezing blood forward through your arteries in the body system.

Diastolic pressure is the lower number, which stipulates blood pressure readings of your arteries at the time your heart is at rest.

Anything less than 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal blood pressure during pregnancy. This is taken regularly by your doctor at every visit paid inorder to assess your health during pregnancy.

A pregnant woman is considered to have high blood pressure if there is :
A 15ยฐ( degrees) higher on the top number from her pressure readings before pregnancy, or having 130/90 mm Hg or greater blood pressure reading.

Systolic (140 mm Hg) or higher with diastolic (90 mm Hg) or higher, is considered as high blood pressure during pregnancy.

At 5 weeks to the middle of second trimester, there might be a reduction in pregnant woman blood pressure. This is due to the widening up of the blood vessels by the pregnancy hormones. At this stage, the blood flow is less resistant.

Consideration of low blood pressure during pregnancy.
This is considered through symptoms because there isn’t a definitive number that is too low. These symptoms are:

cold, clammy skin
feeling faint
nausea
dizziness
headache

There is random alterations in the blood pressure readings for a pregnant woman.
Her blood pressure often change or return to pre-pregnancy levels as she progresses in her pregnancy levels.
There is a 45 percent increase in blood volume during pregnancy which gives an extra blood for the heart to pump.
Due to the raised volume of blood, the left ventricle (which does substantial amount of pumping blood through the body’s system) becomes larger and thick. This affects for a short time by helping the heart to support the increased volume of blood in the body.

An intensified amount of hormones that leads to increased water retention (vasopressin), is discharged by the kidneys.
After delivery in most cases, the blood pressure always falls or reduces. Incase it stays elevated, it will be got to normal by the doctor’s prescribed medication.

Tips for tracking/analysing your blood pressure during pregnancy.
You are free to purchase a blood pressure monitor from online medical goods store. Before using the device, first take it to your doctor for synchronisation so that two can have the same reading detection for accuracy.

While taking readings, do the following for accuracy.

– take readings with your legs wide open.
– take readings from the same arm daily.
– take the blood pressure readings at a fixed time interval every day.

If you generate symptoms of high blood pressure, like noticing high blood pressure reading changes within four hours, notify your doctor immediately.

Complications of high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Preeclampsia/toxemia
Under this condition, serious damages can occur in your brain and kidneys including other organs.
It can cause eclampsia and it can be fatal if not treated.

Preeclampsia/toxemia symptoms include:
– upper abdominal pain.
– face and hands abnormal swellings.
– visibility or vision changes.
– persistent headaches.
– difficulty in breathing.
– nausea.
– vomiting.

If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor as preeclampsia can be dangerous to both your baby and your own health.

Having regular visits and noticing any changes, can help in finding and treating preeclampsia earlier.

HELLP syndrome (Hemolysis Elevated Liver enzymes and Low Platelet count).
This can be a complication of preeclampsia which is severely life-threatening. It’s symptoms include:

– upper abdominal pain
– nausea
– headache
– vomiting

In this case, a premature delivery is made to safeguard the life of the baby and the mother. This emergency is carried out with an aim to reduce the mother’s and the baby’s blood pressure.

The birth growth rate of the baby, can be affected by high blood pressure complications being experienced by the mother, resulting to low birth weight.
Other complications include the following, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecology.

Preterm delivery:
Defined as delivery before 38 weeks elapses or prior to 38 weeks.
Placental abruption:
Premature detachment of the placenta from the uterus.
Cesarean delivery/C-section: It’s the delivery made through surgery operation.

Preventing adverse high blood pressure while pregnant.

Through diet and exercise, several risk factors of high blood pressure such as overweight/obesity, can be minimized.

There is always some weight gain during pregnancy which is normal. Consult your doctor about a target weight gain and which ways you should adopt. Inorder to stay within the range that is healthy for you.

Dietary guidelines differ from one another for pregnant women. Following your specific height and weight, a nutritionist can design or create a meal plan that suits you.
During pregnancy, avoid drinking alcohol and smoking. As it’s complications are more on the pregnancy.

During pregnancy, salt is important and shouldn’t be limited even on women with high blood pressure. If salt is restricted, it can influence the pregnant woman condition also the  fetal growth and it’s development.

Physical and psychological changes are experienced during pregnancy due to hormones shift. This can make high blood pressure harder to manage by bringing more stress due to the changes in the body’s system. But you can minimize stress by trying out stress reduction techniques such as deep meditation and yoga.

High blood pressure medication during pregnancy.

Be careful when using traditional blood pressure medication. They can be harmful to your health by causing more complications.

Avoid these medications during pregnancy for lowering blood pressure:

angiotensin receptor blockers
renin inhibitors
ACE inhibitors

These drugs mostly will pass to the baby through the bloodstream negatively affecting it’s health.
The only drugs considered safe to use are:
– labetalol and
– methyldopa

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