Hypertension also known as high blood pressure is caused when the blood pressure reading is more than 140/90 mm Hg. Blood pressure refers to the pressure exerted by the blood against the artery walls. Hypertension usually causes a number of health problems including coronary attacks and strokes. Hypertension in pregnancy can be a cause of concern for the mother as well as the child. It is often considered to be one of the major causes of miscarriages, premature delivery and in certain cases even maternal death. An estimated one to five percent of women suffer from chronic hypertension while some women develop high blood pressure in pregnancy.
Hypertension In Pregnancy: Types And Causes
Hypertension that is induced by pregnancy is often referred to as gestational hypertension. It occurs in women after twenty weeks of gestation period. Apart from gestational hypertension, a woman can also suffer from preeclampsia or eclampsia during pregnancy. Preeclampsia is a serious health condition that is caused by the increase in the blood pressure along with the protein in the urine. This condition affects the pregnant woman’s placenta and even causes damage to the lungs, liver and brain. This condition is one of the major reasons for complications in fetal growth thus resulting in low birth weight and premature births. It can also lead to fetal death or stillbirth.
Chronic hypertension, obesity, twin pregnancy or certain illnesses like kidney disease, arthritis or diabetes can trigger off this health problem. Women who have previously suffered from hypertension in previous pregnancies or who are under age of twenty or over the age of forty can also be at a risk of suffering from this problem. Persistent and severe headache along with vision blurring, vomiting and swelling of hands and legs are some of the common signs of preeclampsia in pregnancy.
Treatment For Hypertension During Pregnancy
Treatment of hypertension is essential to reduce the chances of various risks such as placental abruption, low birth weight of baby, premature delivery or certain cardiovascular diseases after pregnancy. The normal drugs for hypertension such as Ace inhibitors or rennin inhibitors are to be avoided as they can cause problems for the fetus. If you suffer from chronic high blood pressure then check with your doctor before taking any medication for hypertension during pregnancy. For treating hypertension the best course of action is to monitor the blood pressure of the patient carefully and check the proteinuria regularly.
Ideally the BP should not be more than 150/100. Along with monitoring the BP the doctor would check for protein in urine and also advise blood tests to check the renal function, electrolytes and FBC. For severe gestational hypertension the patient may be admitted to hospital and the doctor may prescribe certain medication such as labetalol to keep the BP in control. Along with the treatment measures a pregnant woman with hypertension is often advised a low sodium diet. Regular physical activity to keep the weight in control and avoiding alcohol and tobacco can reduce the chances of high blood pressure.