High blood pressure is a dangerous condition that can result in heart problems and even lead to heart disease. When hypertension is combined with pregnancy, the risks involved are much greater than you may have thought. Hypertension in pregnancy, often referred to as gestational hypertension, is a condition where the mother of the unborn child experiences high blood pressure.
Gestational hypertension begins during the second half of pregnancy and is not common prior to the 20 week mark. There are many risks involved with gestational hypertension.
Hypertension and Pregnancy
If you do have high blood pressure during your pregnancy, you and your doctor must be thoroughly prepared. Often, the only way to stop the high blood pressure is to deliver the baby and this can mean preterm birth.
Problems Associated with Hypertension and Pregnancy
There are a number of problems that can occur. For instance, depending on how severe the hypertension is, your unborn baby may not be able to grow as quickly as he or she should. High blood pressure can often place extra stress on you and your unborn baby resulting in a decrease of nutrients to the baby.
Another problem that may occur is preeclampsia. This is a serious condition that can claim the life of mom or baby if it is not monitored and handled quickly. Preeclampsia is often first recognized when the pregnant mother experiences blurry vision and constant headaches.
Treatment for Hypertension during Pregnancy
If it is discovered that you have high blood pressure during pregnancy, your doctor will closely monitor you, and you may have to go in to the doctor's office for multiple blood pressure checkups. Sometimes, your doctor may request that you complete a 24-hour urine test so that he or she can check to make sure there are no proteins in the urine.
If it is found that your blood pressure is too high, your doctor may refer you to the hospital where you and your baby will be constantly monitored. Since gestational hypertension is only relieved through childbirth, you may need to deliver your baby much quicker than you thought.
Statistics on Hypertension during Pregnancy
Hypertension during pregnancy is quite common, especially in first-time pregnancies and in women who are over 45 years of age. According to the National Institutes of Health, high blood pressure occurs in about 6 to 8 percent of all pregnancies in the United States.
If you suffer from chronic high blood pressure or you believe that you may have hypertension, consult your physician immediately. Being able to tackle high blood pressure during pregnancy in the early stages can help ensure a healthy pregnancy for you and baby.