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High blood pressure during pregnancy: Things you need to keep in mind

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High blood pressure during pregnancy: Things you need to keep in mind
Pregnancy is a delicate time for any woman. Keeping a check on the health of the mother and the foetus is crucial. Not taking care and not following the measures suggested by the doctor can lead to serious complications.

Keeping track of blood sugar and blood pressure is very important for a healthy delivery and a healthy baby. Hypertension during pregnancy is not that common but can lead to serious complications, if not taken care of.

Hypertension during pregnancy can lead to less blood flow to the placenta leading to slow growth of the foetus, premature delivery and low birth weight. Hence, following a healthy lifestyle, a good diet and getting regular check-ups is vital during pregnancy.

High blood pressure can be present before the onset of the pregnancy or can be experienced during pregnancy. Various causes of hypertension during pregnancy include the following.

– Obesity

– Family history of pregnancy-related hypertension

– First pregnancy

– Pregnancy after the age of 35 years

– IVF

– Diabetes

– Smoking and alcohol consumption

– Autoimmune diseases

– Being physically inactive

Symptoms of high blood pressure during pregnancy


– Nausea and vomiting

– Headache and fatigue

– Sudden weight gain or swelling

– Pain in the upper abdomen

– Decreased output of urine

– Shortness of breath

– Excess of protein in the urine

There are different types of hypertension that affect women during pregnancy. Recognising the symptoms and managing them in the initial stages is important for both mother and the baby. Here are four types of hypertension related to pregnancy.

Chronic hypertension


High blood pressure before the onset of the pregnancy that occurs 20 weeks before pregnancy is chronic hypertension. This type is hard to detect as there are no visible symptoms during the initial stages of the pregnancy.

Gestational hypertension


Some women might develop hypertension after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Women suffering from gestational hypertension eventually develop preeclampsia (high blood pressure). There is no excess protein in the urine or other signs of organ damage in this type of hypertension.

Preeclampsia


High blood pressure developed after 20 weeks of pregnancy is called preeclampsia. It can damage vital organs like the kidney, liver and brain. If not taken care of, it can lead to other serious health complications. In such cases, both the mother and the foetus may need an intensive care unit.

Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia


Women who are diagnosed with chronic hypertension before pregnancy are said to have superimposed preeclampsia. These women develop worsening high blood pressure, the presence of an excess of protein in the urine and other complications during pregnancy.

How can hypertension affect pregnancy?


Decreased blood flow to the placenta


When the placenta doesn’t get enough blood, the oxygen and nutrients supply to the baby is reduced. It can lead to premature birth, low birth weight and other complications.

Placenta abruption


Placental abruption is a medical emergency where the placenta detaches from the uterus prematurely. Due to this, early delivery might be needed in some cases to overcome life-threatening conditions. It can also lead to retarded growth of the baby.

Cardiovascular disease and damage to other organs


Preeclampsia increases your chances of developing cardiovascular problems in future. High blood pressure can also damage other organs, which can be life-threatening in some cases.

What you can do to reduce your risk?

Stay active


Following a fitness routine can help you maintain your weight and reduce the risk of hypertension.

Eating a healthy diet


Having a nutritious diet helps the mother and growing baby stay healthy.

Saying no to smoking and alcohol

Both smoking and alcohol can have a negative effect on your pregnancy. Thus, say no to smoking and drinking when pregnant.

Managing stress


Pregnancy leads to physical and psychological changes, which can lead to stress in many mothers. Meditating and trying other relaxation techniques can help lower stress and reduce the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Visiting the doctor regularly


Many times you might feel absolutely fit and might want to skip your routine check-up, which is not right. Regular visits to the doctor can help in identifying any unexpected changes in the body. Blood pressure, blood sugar and weight should be monitored regularly.

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