What Steps Can I Take To Have A Safe Delivery With High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Steps that patients with high blood pressure during pregnancy can take to help the chances of having a safe and healthy delivery include:
- Taking any blood pressure medication as prescribed
- Going to all of your prenatal visits
- Having an early delivery if it is needed
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Following your healthcare providers instructions regarding activity and exercise
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Will I Still Have High Blood Pressure After The Baby Is Delivered
High blood pressure during pregnancy typically goes away after the baby is delivered but increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease in the future. Women who had chronic hypertension before pregnancy will usually still have the condition after delivery. Sometimes, blood pressure can remain high after delivery, requiring treatment with medication. Your healthcare provider will work with you after your pregnancy to manage your blood pressure.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/21/2019.
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Whats Your Normal Blood Pressure
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High Blood Pressure Treatment In Pregnancy Is Safe And Could Reduce Mother’s Risks
Treating high blood pressure during pregnancy is safe and may be helpful at lower thresholds than previously thought, a new scientific report says.
“For decades, the benefits of blood pressure treatment for pregnant women were unclear,” Dr. Vesna D. Garovic said in a news release. She led a committee of experts that reviewed and analyzed existing research. “And there were concerns about fetal well-being from exposure to antihypertensive medications.”
But the report, published Wednesday as a scientific statement from the American Heart Association in its journal Hypertension, said treatment may reduce a woman’s risk for severe high blood pressure without endangering her child.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, during pregnancy is a major cause of complications and death for mothers and their babies, and it increases women’s short- and long-term risks for cardiovascular disease. It also increases the risk for preterm delivery and low birthweight.
Among high-income countries, the U.S. has one of the highest maternal mortality rates for high blood pressure-related problems. Cardiovascular disease, including stroke and heart failure, now accounts for up to half of all maternal deaths in the U.S., where pregnancy-related stroke hospitalizations increased more than 60% from 1994 to 2011.
In the U.S., high blood pressure during pregnancy disproportionately affects women who are Black, American Indian or Alaska Native.
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How Is My Blood Pressure Measured
Your midwife will use a small monitor to measure and tape-record your blood pressure at every antenatal check-up.
Prior to your midwife measures your blood pressure, shell ask you to take a seat and get rid of any tight clothing from your arm. Then she will wrap a cuff around your arm above your elbow and pump air into it.
The cuff pumps up and briefly stops the blood flow in the primary blood vessel in your arm. It will feel tight, but it should not harm. Then, the air in the cuff is slowly released. The cuff is connected to the display, which calculates your blood pressure and shows a reading to your midwife.
The reading will show two figures that resemble a fraction, for example, 110/70. The first, or top, number informs your midwife about your blood pressure as your heart presses the blood round your body . The 2nd, or bottom, number is your blood pressure when your heart unwinds in between beats .
Whats normal for you might be various from other mums-to-be, so its best not to compare results. The average blood pressure variety if youre healthy is between 110/70 and 120/80, although this differs a lot in pregnancy.
As soon as she has your numbers, your midwife will tell you if they are high. Your midwife will detect high blood pressure if:
High blood pressure has different names, depending on what stage in your pregnancy you develop it:
Commonly Prescribed Antihypertensives In Pregnancy
Commonly used blood pressure medicines during pregnancy include:
When deciding whether or not to take antihypertensives during pregnancy, your doctor will discuss with you how necessary the medication is to your health against the possible risks to you or your baby, some of which will depend on how many weeks pregnant you are.
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Severe High Blood Pressure Or Pre
Severe high blood pressure, especially with pre-eclampsia, is serious.
- The risks to you as the mother include:
- An increased chance of having a stroke.
- Damage to your kidneys and liver.
- An increased risk of blood clotting problems.
- An increased risk of severe bleeding from your placenta.
- Having fits if you go on to develop eclampsia.
- The risks to your baby include:
- An increased chance of poor growth.
- An increased chance of premature birth.
- An increased chance of stillbirth.
Why Is My Blood Pressure Determined
Measuring your blood pressure is a method of informing how well your pregnancy is going. Your midwife will be looking for signs of a possibly major problem called pre-eclampsia, particularly later in your pregnancy.
Pre-eclampsia isnt totally comprehended, but its thought it to happen when the placenta is not working along with it should. This can lead to high blood pressure and other problems. Your midwife will test your urine in addition to taking your blood pressure. Protein in your urine and high blood pressure are both signs of pre-eclampsia.
Having either pre-existing hypertension or gestational hypertension does suggest you are more likely to establish pre-eclampsia. Although it does not indicate you will absolutely get it. However the earlier gestational hypertension sets in, the greater your chance of establishing pre-eclampsia.
You might develop gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia without realizing it. In reality, you might feel perfectly well. Thats why its important to go to all your antenatal appointments so your midwife can routinely examine your blood pressure and urine.
You might also ask your midwife to describe to you the symptoms to look out for. And if you feel weak or odd for no obvious reason in between antenatal consultations, contact your midwife or doctor. Occasionally, pre-eclampsia can develop fast and its essential to get medical help quickly.
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Prevalence Of High Blood Pressure
- In Australia in 201415 , 22% of adult women had measured high blood pressure, excluding those taking medication.
- Among Indigenous adults, 18% of women had measured high blood pressure .
- A substantial number of pregnancies are complicated by pre-existing hypertension .
- Pre-eclampsia in the second half of pregnancy occurs in about 22% of women with chronic hypertension .
Severe Hypertension Or If Pre
If your blood pressure becomes severely high or you develop pre-eclampsia, you may be referred to an obstetrician or a specialist for treatment or monitoring and may need admission to hospital. You will need much closer supervision and will probably need to have your baby early.
The treatment and monitoring aim to keep you and your baby safe while your baby grows and develops as much as possible. If your baby does need to be delivered early there are treatments available to decrease the complications of being born prematurely.Read more about pre-eclampsia.
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When Should I Call The Doctor About High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
If you’re checking your blood pressure at home, contact your provider if your blood pressure is above a certain level. Your provider can tell you what those levels should be and what to do if you go above them.
Let your provider know immediately if you notice any changes in your baby’s movements. If your baby seems less active than usual, you may need to do kick counts.
Also call your provider right away if you have any signs of severe preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome:
- A headache that’s severe or doesn’t go away
- Vision changes, including double vision, blurriness, seeing spots or flashing lights, light sensitivity, or temporary loss of vision
- Intense pain or tenderness in the upper abdomen or shoulder
- Chest pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty breathing
Treating Low Blood Pressure
The main goal in treating low blood pressure during pregnancy is symptom reduction, especially if you are experiencing dizziness and fainting. For the most part, many people can manage symptoms of low blood pressure with lifestyle modifications, such as:
- Staying hydrated
- Consuming enough calories to support you and your baby
- Avoiding standing for long periods of time
- Moving slowly from a supine or prone position to a standing position
Blood pressure tends to be lower when a person is at rest and can cause blood to pool in the legs, so it’s important to move positions or get up from a seated or reclining position slowly to avoid the onset of symptoms, such as dizziness or fainting.
If a patient is on a medication that may cause low blood pressure, we would recommend discontinuing the medication, explains Atlas. Like high blood pressure, treating low blood pressure with medication during pregnancy is only recommended when absolutely necessaryand only with medications known to be safe during pregnancy.
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What Is Normal Blood Pressure In Pregnancy
- Posted onAugust 22, 2022
When youre pregnant your blood pressure will be checked on your prenatal visits, but its important for you to monitor your blood pressure at home. In fact, its a good idea to know what your blood pressure is before you get pregnant, so you have a baseline to refer to as you track your blood pressure in pregnancy.
I strongly recommend you purchase a wrist blood pressure cuff and keep it handy during your pregnancy. Take your blood pressure about the same time at least once a day. These wrist cuffs may not be as accurate as a cuff that wraps around your upper arm, but they are accurate enough to watch the increases and decreases in your blood pressure.
What Do the Numbers in a Blood Pressure Reading Mean?
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. The blood pumped into your arteries moves at a certain rate depending upon whether your heart beating or resting between beats. The beat is always the same length. What changes is the time between beats when your heart muscle is nourished by blood and oxygen. Thats why a rapid heartbeat is so dangerous
Blood pressure is recorded in a set of two numbers separated by a slash mark, such as 90/110. The first number, the systolic pressure, indicates the pressure in your arteries as your heart beats. The second number, the diastolic pressure, indicates the pressure in your arteries between each heartbeat during the time y our heart muscle relaxes.
High Blood Pressure In Pregnancy Linked To Later Health Risks
By Kathryn Doyle, Reuters Health
3 Min Read
Women with slightly elevated blood pressure during pregnancy could be more likely to develop so-called metabolic syndrome later, Chinese researchers say.
Metabolic syndrome a combination of traits and symptoms such as abdominal fat and high blood sugar is a strong predictor of heart disease and diabetes. So blood pressure at the high end of normal in pregnancy could be an early warning sign, according to the study authors.
The optimal blood pressure levels in pregnant women remain an open question, said lead author Dr. Jian-Min Niu of Guangdong Women and Children Hospital in Guangzhou.
In general, healthy blood pressure usually falls at or below 120/80 mmHg, Niu said. The threshold for high blood pressure, or hypertension, is 140/90 or greater. The range between healthy and high blood pressure is sometimes called prehypertension because readings at the high end of normal may be a stage on the way to full-fledged hypertension.
In many countries, every pregnant woman has at least 10 routine checkups, Niu told Reuters Health by email. However, they will not be informed of risk unless the blood pressure level is at or greater than 140/90 mmHg.
The researchers studied 506 pregnant women with no history of high blood pressure or symptoms of diabetes, measuring their blood pressure, weight and other health metrics several times during pregnancy and for up to a year and a half after they gave birth.
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How To Prevent High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Some risk factors can’t be changed, such as your genes or having certain health conditions. But you can make changes to reduce other risk factors, and these are important to know about when you’re trying to get pregnant.
Some steps you can take to reduce your high blood pressure risks:
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet. Talk to your provider about how much weight to gain during pregnancy. The DASH diet has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Ask your provider if it’s safe to exercise. In most cases you can continue to exercise, though your provider may recommend modifying the types of activities you do.
- Don’t smoke
- Manage stress, which can worsen high blood pressure
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Changes In Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
As a woman progresses in her pregnancy, her blood pressure may change or return to pre-pregnancy levels. There are a few possible reasons for this.
The amount of blood in a womans body increases. According to the journal Circulation, a womans blood volume increases by as much as 45 percent during pregnancy. This is extra blood that the heart must pump throughout the body.
The left ventricle becomes thicker and larger. This temporary effect allows the heart to work harder to support the increased blood volume.
The kidneys release increased amounts of vasopressin, a hormone that leads to increased water retention.
In most cases, high blood pressure during pregnancy will decrease after the baby is delivered. In cases where blood pressure remains elevated, your doctor may prescribe medication to get it back to normal.