- Gestational hypertension– high blood pressure(BP) that develops after week 20 in pregnancy and goes away after delivery.
- Preeclampsia – gestational hypertension can lead to this severe condition after week 20 of pregnancy. Protein appears in the urine in addition to high BP
During my pregnancy am I at risk for developing gestational hypertension?
The following moms may be at an increased risk of developing gestational hypertension during their pregnancy
- First-time moms
- Women whose sisters and mothers had pregnancy induced hypertension(PIH)
- Women carrying twins or triplets or more
- Women younger than age 20 or older than age 40
- Women who had high blood pressure or kidney disease prior to pregnancy
How will my pregnancy be managed?
If you have mild hypertension and your baby is not fully developed, your doctor will probably recommend the following:
- Rest, lying on your left side to take the weight of the baby off your major blood vessels.
- Increase prenatal checkups.
- Consume less salt.
If you have severe hypertension, your doctor may try to treat you with blood pressure medication until you are far enough along to deliver safely.
How does gestational hypertension affect my baby?
Placenta supplies oxygen and nutrients to the baby from the mother. in gestational hypertension the blood vessels of the placenta start to constrict so the baby gets less oxygen and food and it affects its growth. This results in reduced intrauterine growth and low birth weight babies. This is not the case in every women with gestational hypertension. If adequately controlled and it is mild gestational hypertension, then the pregnant mom delivers a healthy normal baby.
If your hypertension is severe, it can lead to a condition known as preeclmapsia, which can have much more serious affects on mom and baby.
How does my health get affected in gestational hypertension?
Especially if your bp is uncontrolled or severe it can affect your
- Kidneys leading to medical renal disease
- Cause convulsions called eclampsia
- Retinal haemorrhage in the eyes
- Liver dysfunction
- Blood clotting mechanism can be altered leading to failure of clotting of blood (the HELLP syndrome)
- Lungs filling up with fluids called pulmonary edema causing breathlessness
How can I prevent gestational hypertension:
Currently, there is no sure way to prevent this condition. Some contributing factors to high blood pressure can be controlled, while others cannot. Some ways you can help prevent gestational hypertension is by
- Get enough rest.
- exercise regularly.
- avoid drinking alcohol.
- avoid beverages containing caffeine.
- Your doctor may suggest you take prescribed medicines if there is an indication that you are at risk for developing gestational hypertension in the current pregnancy.