An unmanaged high blood pressure during pregnancy can cause troublesome consequences. It can put both the mother and baby at threat. Not well-maintained high blood pressure in pregnancy can cause significant stress on the heart and kidneys of the mother, while in baby’s case, it can lead to preterm birth, placental abruption, low birth weight and more serious effects. So, it needs to be controlled by any means whatsoever.
However, the good fact is, high blood pressure can be managed and treated with a little effort along with proper attention. And thankfully, it is preventable as well.
Ergo, neglecting any type of further linger, lets learn more about hypertension during pregnancy and the measure to keep it under control.
WHAT DOES HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE DURING PREGNANCY MEAN?
Blood pressure means the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels or arteries. But high blood pressure is considered as the condition where the force of blood against the artery walls is overly high.
According to ACOG, blood pressure within the range of 120/80 mm Hg is referred as safe and normal for pregnant women. Nonetheless, having this bodily factor greater than 130/90 mm Hg while expecting can be a matter of concern.
In pregnancy, there are multiple factors that can possibly contribute to this hazard while gestating.
Disclimer: We are partner with good companies that offer products that help you achieve your goals. If you purchase through our partner links, we get paid at no cost to you. *
These factors include: being overweight, lesser physical activity, higher blood volume in the body and more.
TYPES OF HIGH BP IN PREGNANCY
In general speaking, high blood pressure can be different with corresponds to the time or period they occur. Blood pressure in pregnancy, oftentimes, are differentiated into various types such as:
- Chronic hypertension
- Gestational hypertension
- Chronic hypertension with underlying preeclampsia
It’s necessary to get clear understanding on each type of high blood pressure. So, let’s start over with chronic hypertension.
Chronic hypertension is referred as the high blood pressure that was present prior to pregnancy or that occurs in between the 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Women who have chronic hypertension are more likely to develop into preeclampsia in the second or third trimester.
However, as because hypertension typically does not illustrate visible symptoms, so it could be hard to identify the exact time of when it begins.
High blood pressure during pregnancy and tips to manage it. Know its types, causes and effects
Photo courtesy: Pregarlyboody Official
Gestational hypertension is a form of high blood pressure that appears after the 20th week of being expectant. It does occur in about 6% of all pregnancies, and exceeds the BP of 140/90mm Hg.
In this condition, there is no excess protein in the urine and no signs of organ damage.
However, women who experience this condition, are more probable in developing into preeclampsia later in pregnancy.
CHRONIC HYPERTENSION WITH SUPERIMPOSED PREECLAMPSIA
Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia is a condition where chronic hypertension gradually worsening high blood pressure in expectant women.
In this condition, there is a higher protein level in urine along with other blood pressure related symptoms.
Unmanaged high blood pressure after the 20 weeks of pregnancy is mentioned as preeclampsia.
It is the most thretful condition that concludes the signs of damage to organs including kidneys, brain, blood and liver.
Preeclampsia can put serious impacts on pregnancy. For example: placental abruption, preterm birth or worse, stillbirth.
In addition, women having preeclampsia can experience seizures or eclampsia which is a vicious medical emergency.
SYMPTOMS OF PREECLAMPSIA
Preeclampsia in pregnancies, at times, develops without any symptoms. But when symptomatic, it may include symptoms holding,
- Severe headache that don’t do away
- Trouble in breathing
- Swelling of face or hands
- Blurry vision with seeing spots
- Changes in eyesight
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain in upper stomach region
- Unexpected weight gain
As you got aware, preeclampsia can occur without any symptoms. Thus, it’s important to monitor your blood pressure levels regularly, especially in pregnancy.
However, women having the below risk factor carry a greater possibility to run into preeclampsia during pregnancy.
RISK FACTORS OF PREECLAMPSIA IN PREGNANCY
These following ones are the danger aspects that may cause preeclampsia in expectant women.
- Carrying multiple babies such as twins or triplets
- A family history of preeclampsia
- Having autoimmune disease such as lupus
- Being older than 40
- Got pregnant by using in vitro fertilization
- A family history of thrombophilia-a condition that causes blood clots in the vessels
- Having chronic high blood pressure
- Having kidney related diseases
- A first time mother
- Had preeclampsia in previous pregnancy
- Struggling through type-1 or type-2 diabetes
WHAT CAUSES HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE DURING PREGNANCY
It’s accepted to experience mild changes in blood pressure during pregnancy because of increased blood volume.
But there are other causes who significantly boost the risk of toxic BP in pregnancy. These factors are,
- Smoking during pregnancy
- Alcohol consumption
- Being overweight or obese
- Lesser physical activity
- Carrying multiple babies
- Older than 35
- Autoimmune disease
- First time pregnancy
- A family history of hypertension in pregnancy
Let’s discover together how each of the causes contributes to high blood pressure while pregnant.
SMOKING DURING PREGNANCY
Smoking vastly adds to the ill consequences in pregnancy, especially high blood pressure.
Nicotine- a substance present in cigarette smoke narrows your blood vessels and raises the heart beat.
This factor results in your BP getting higher.
It also hardens the walls of the arteries that make your blood more likely to clot, raising the amount of problems.
Following smoking, alcohol consumption also leads to high BP in pregnancy.
This happens because it increases the secretion of hormone renin.
This hormone is highly responsible for the constriction of blood vessels. That means that it lessens the diameter of the vessels.
Rennin decreases the elimination of fluid via urine as well.
The combination of smaller blood vessels and higher fluids in the body can lead to high blood pressure during pregnancy.
BEING OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE
Having body mass unit (BMI) or weight more than requirement can certainly contribute to high blood pressure.
As in case of obesity, fat produced leptin and angiotensinogen can significantly boost the chances of high BP.
This occurs because these two components interfere with the natural process of sodium excretion. And the more sodium content in the body influences blood pressure as the final result.
LESSER PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES
Lesser physical activity leads to higher calories in the body. And toxic weight gain, furthermore results with high blood pressure while expecting.
CARRYING MULTIPLE BABIES
The pub Med’s study reveals that women who carry twins or triplets or more babies in the womb are at greater risk of both high blood pressure and preeclampsia in pregnancy.
BEING OLDER THAN 35
The possibility of having high blood pressure increases as you gradually get older.
This issue takes place because, as you age, the vascular system of your body concluding the heart and blood vessels also change.
Thus, there’s a significant reduction of elastic tissue in the arteries, letting them become stiff. As a result of this process, the blood pressure increases.
So, women who are pregnant and aging over 35 are at greater danger to face high BP in pregnancy.
Women who conceive by the help of IVF or in vitro fertilization are at 27% greater risk of developing high blood pressure in comparison to those who conceive naturally.
Having autoimmune diseases cause various problems in pregnancy, including unmanaged hypertension.
It has been observed that autoimmune diseases holding systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis can spike up the risks of high blood pressure while expecting.
When affected with diabetes, especially type-2 diabetes, one can suffer through high blood pressure in pregnancy.
This occurs because; being diabetic can damage the arteries and make them less functional or even stiff.
This change in blood vessels is called atherosclerosis. This condition consequently leads to severe hypertension.
FIRST TIME PREGNANCY
Women who are at their first pregnancy are more likely to face high BP.
However, there’s a lower chance of experiencing high BP in subsequent pregnancies.
A FAMILY HISTORY OF HYPERTENSION
High Bp is tending to run in families.
A family history of high BP can play a great role in causing hypertension in you.
The chances of getting into this condition get more probable if both of your parents are affected by high BP.
So, this is how smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, lesser body movements, IVF and other factors become the root causes of high blood pressure during pregnancy.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE DURING PREGNANCY: SYMPTOMS
High blood [pressure is often referred to as the silent disease, because its symptoms typically are not noticeable.
But when symptomatic, hypertension includes symptoms including:
- Changes in vision
- Abdominal pain
- Constant headaches
- Feeling nauseous
- Swelling of hands and face
- A little urine
These above mentioned ones are the signs of high blood pressure while pregnant.
Hypertension in pregnancy, for fortune’s sake, is manageable.
It usually arises by rapid hormonal changes as well as increased blood volume in the body.
Thus, at early stages of gestation, the blood pressure shoots up and then gradually in the later period it drops.
However, when it gets unmanaged or lacks proper attention, it can possibly bring a host of complications in the prenatal period.
CAN HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE DURING PREGNANCY AFFECT BABY?
Hypertension is considered to hamper the blood flow through placenta, which is crucial for the development of the baby according to the plan.
Placenta, in fact, is the only deliverer of the vital elements like nutrients and oxygen from the mother to baby.,
It helps deliver these important things through the mother’s blood.
So, the lesser blood flows through the placenta, the increased risks of slow growth of the baby and vice versa.
High BP in more is responsible for causing low birth weight and premature birth of the fetus.
But that’s not all. Not at all!!
Hypertension in pregnancy is linked with plenty of terrible consequences like that.
WHY IS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE BAD DURING PREGNANCY?
Poorly managed high blood pressure while pregnant can be fatal for both the mother and her baby.
It can possibly result in damages including preterm labor, low birth weight infant, placental abruption, and intrauterine growth restriction as well as affecting the mother’s vital organs.
You should keep reading in order to know what high blood pressure causes exactly to the foetus.
Preeclampsia is often blamed for causing placental abruption or separation.
In this condition the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus causing heavy bleeding in between the placenta and the uterine wall.
It is a life threatening condition that requires immediate medical action. And if not treated frequently, it can lead to hemorrhage and blood clotting conditions in both the mother and baby.
Placental abruption occurs in about 44% of the expectant women who are hypersensitive.
Hypersensitive women are at risk to give birth prematurely.
This occurs because; having poorly controlled blood pressure hampers the enough oxygen and nutrient flow to the baby.
This factor consequently results in early childbirth.
Moreover, prematurely delivered babies are exposed to various complications including breathing, heart, blood, immune system and plenty other problems.
High blood pressure is intensely responsible for causing underweight babies.
This happens for the reason that being hypersensitive can hinder the blood flow to the baby.
After all, blood is the carrier of both oxygen and nutrients from the mother to baby.
So, the fewer supply of these elements to the developing foetus, eventually results in slow growth of the baby in the womb and birth of a low birth weight baby.
Hypertension also causes intrauterine growth restriction of the baby, which answers with slowed development of the baby as well.
INJURY TO YOUR VITAL ORGANS
Poorly managed high blood pressure carries a greater potential in affecting the body’s vital organs.
It can cause severe injuries to organs including your brain, heart, lungs, liver etc.
So, apart from only impacts on your baby, having high BP can also cause notable damages on your body.
CAN LEAD TO CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
Last but not the least, having an unmanaged high blood pressure can influence your cardiovascular system.
Evidently, hypertension damages the arteries by making them less elastic than they should.
This factor can bring about lesser blood flow to the heart, letting it to be less efficient. And that in further answers with heart diseases.
In this way giving negligible attention to your rising blood pressure levels will consequently lead to future cardiovascular diseases.
So, why is high blood pressure in pregnancy dangerous?
Well, because it causes fatal consequences in pregnancy including:
- Placental abruption
- Premature delivery
- Underweight babies
- Injury to your vital organs
- Causing cardiovascular diseases
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE DURING PREGNANCY: TREATMENTS
The treatment of hypertension is completely based on the type of BP you are struggling with.
Thereupon, the following treatments will be provided to you depending on your current health condition. For example:
IF YOU HAVE CHRONIC HYPERTENSION
In this state, your doctor may prescribe you for continuing blood pressure medication in pregnancy.
IF YOU HAVE GESTATIONAL HYPERTENSION
In case you have gestational hypertension, your doctor is more probable to recommend you appropriate self care strategies to manage it.
Certain medicines will be provided too.
Check for preeclampsia and mentoring will continue.
IF YOU HAVE PREECLAMPSIA
It is the most threatful circumstance of high blood pressure during pregnancy. Thus, regular checks are required.
Your healthcare team will closely monitor your inch-by-inch condition.
They are also likely to recommend your early child birth, in case any certain damage is about to happen.
However, both oral and IV medications are often used to manage preeclampsia in pregnancy.
ARE BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATIONS SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?
The majority of blood pressure drugs are considered as safe to take during pregnancy.
But for angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE), renin inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers are not considered.
These drugs are unsafe to have while expecting.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE DURING PREGNANCY TREATMENT
As hypertension puts a variety of risks along with heart attack, stroke, chronic kidney diseases and more, treatment is however necessary.
Your OB-GYN is certain to prescribe you the safest medicine in maternity also with an appropriate dose.
So all you have to do is to take pills as exactly as prescribed.
Besides, never try to skip the medication or adjust the intake on your own. The result could be fatal if you do so.
HOW TO CONTROL HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE DURING PREGNANCY?
Below are the major tips to prevent or control high blood pressure especially in pregnancy.
ACQUIRE A HEALTHY WEIGHT
Blood pressure increases as the weight increases.
It’s more likely to promote insulin resistance and leptin resistance-both of which cause hypertension. Hence maintaining a healthy weight is mandatory.
But don’t get into the track to lose weight instead.
Weight gain is a sign of healthy pregnancy. So, get well informed about weight management that will help you to be in charge of hypertension as well as a fine pregnancy.
Choose a healthy diet plan for managing your hypertension.
BE ACTIVE MORE OFTEN
Being physically active can help your blood pressure to get down to a safer level. But being inactive can only give a spike to it.
Anyways, as you are expecting, doing intense physical activity can result in fatal consequences.
So instead of doing unsafe exercises, you can instead do some safer physical activities.
SAFE EXERCISES TO DO IN PREGNANCY
- Swimming or water workouts
- Yoga and Pilate classes
- Riding a stationary cycle
- Low impact aerobic
GET REGULAR PRENATAL CHECKUPS
When it’s about pregnancy, prenatal checkups are the must.
Having regular prenatal visits can assist you to get a better learning about your pregnancy.
They can help you monitor foetal development as well as any complications.
As in case of high blood pressure prenatal visits will provide you ways to track and govern the rising levels of it.
AVOID AND EAT CERTAIN BENEFICIAL FOODS
The foods you eat hold the power to promote or prevent the chances of hypertension. Hence, be well assured to choose the right foods.
Consider a healthy pregnancy diet to acquire a safe pregnancy. Include more fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products and whole grains.
But more importantly cut off eating too much salt based and junk foods.
Despite that, prefer a food diary to put light on your eating habits.
STAY WELL HYDRATED
Staying well hydrated has its own marvelous benefits. But more than anything else, it can keep your blood pressure on a steady and safe level.
Hydration does well to your body as it helps the heart to pump with more force that distributes the blood throughout the body.
It also lowers the blood volume which makes both the blood pressure and heart rate to not shoot up unexpectedly.
REDUCE SODIUM INTAKE
Although it is a beneficial factor for pregnancy, still the intake of sodium while dealing with high blood pressure can make things worse.
In fact, a small reduction of sodium in your diet can improve your heart health and BP levels.
So, aiming to reduce the consumption of unnecessarily, consider the below mentioned tips
- Don’t cut back your sodium intake all of a sudden. Instead of doing that, do it gradually. Let your plate adjust over time.
- Don’t add more salt to the foods.
- Cut off eating processed foods as they require a vast amount of sodium while processing.
- Be a sharp buyer and avoid the foods along with beverages holding high sodium content. Go through the label manually.
One of the main elements while preventing high blood pressure is to cut back on caffeine.
But the debates on caffeine and high BP are still in conflict.
Besides that, caffeine already holds a negative image when consumed in pregnancy.
It can lead to various problems including inhibit in foetus’s growth, miscarriage, low birth weight and more when consumed in unlimited amount.
So, whether it can cause high blood pressure or not, cut back on caffeine.
DO NOT SMOKE
Resembling caffeine, smoking also bears an evil character when it comes to the case of hypertension.
It can sharply increase the risk of hypertension.
Avoiding smoking lets your BP levels back to normal.
QUIT ALCOHOL INTAKE TOO
Alcohol intake can cause miserable outcomes, mainly in pregnancy.
It can cause miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and of course can be a booster to your blood pressure as well.
Along with these consequences it can minimize the effectiveness of the blood pressure medications during pregnancy.
REDUCE YOUR STRESS
Unexpectedly enough, stress can influence the blood pressure.
A sudden reaction to stress by eating unhealthy foods, drinking alcohol or smoking can cause it.
Although it’s okay to get a little stressed out by the weird pregnancy symptoms, don’t let them rule over you.
There are plentiful resources like meditation, exercises, having proper sleep, listening to soft music, eating healthy pregnancy friendly foods, doing yoga etc. Can help you get relaxed.
In summary, the below is the list of things to do to drag your blood pressure level down to a steady pace.
How to prevent high blood pressure in pregnancy: checklist
These are the things you have to undertake for the sake of preventing high blood pressure
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Be physically active
- Get regular prenatal checkups
- Consider a healthy diet
- Stay well hydrated
- Reduce high sodium intake
- Cut back on caffeine
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid alcohol
All is said and all is done here. So all in all this article ends here.
I appreciate that you’re still tuning in with this piece of informative content.
I genuinely hope, you came to know a lot about BLOOD PRESSURE during pregnancy and its cons.
Did I miss something ?
Feel free to share your point of view.
All at the end PREGARLYBODY wishes you a delicate pregnancy ahead.