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Rising Blood Pressure Can Indicate Gestational Hypertension

Rising Blood Pressure Can Indicate Gestational Hypertension

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If your blood pressure rises abruptly after 20 weeks of pregnancy, pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) or gestational hypertension may occur. It can happen due to increased volume of the blood which is quite normal in pregnancy and that eventually subsides. It doesn’t usually cause any noticeable symptom unless it’s really high. However, if you are tested positive for excess proteins in urine (proteinuria), or increased levels of liver enzymes, it must be monitored carefully and treated early, as it may prove to be dangerous for you and your baby.

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Complications of hypertension in pregnancy can be :

Gestational hypertension. This is usually defined when the BP is over 140/90 without the presence of protein in the urine.

Preeclampsia. When proteinuria (>300 mg of protein in a 24-hour urine sample) accompanies gestational hypertension (BP > 140/90), it is called Preeclampsia. Severe preeclampsia involves a BP over 160/110 (with additional signs).

Eclampsia. If Preeclampsia remains untreated it can progress to Eclampsia. This is a more serious state in which seizures develop in a preeclamptic mother.

HELLP syndrome. This is another serious condition in which there is Hemolytic anaemia (abnormal breakdown of red blood cells (RBCs) leading to anemia), elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count. Acute fatty liver is also seen during pregnancy in some cases.

Effects of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension.

The effects of high blood pressure range from mild to severe. High blood pressure can harm your kidneys leading to decreased / absent urine output. It may affect your lever, It can also cause low birth weight and early delivery. In the most serious cases, you may develop preeclampsia, or ‘toxemia of pregnancy’, which can be life threatening for both you and the foetus. It may lead to dimness of vision or even blindness. It may cause accidental hemorrhage. Cerebral edema or seizures or brain hemorrhage have been seen in severe PIH. Don’t get scared though. Many expecting mothers with high blood pressure have healthy babies without serious problems.

Sudden rise in blood pressure, excessive swelling etc. If you are experiencing these symptoms, along with the presence of proteins in urine, you may be having pre-eclampsia. Don’t worry though. Only about 8% of expecting mothers are detected having pre-eclampsia.

Possible causes of preeclampsia. These may include genetic predisposition. You may be prone to this if you have had chronic hypertension, i.e. high blood pressure before becoming pregnant. You also stand the chance of developing preeclampsia if you have had encountered either this or high blood pressure during a previous pregnancy, especially in its early stages. If you are pregnant with twins, then also you may encounter this problem. Finally, if you have had diseases like diabetes, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma, potentially you become just a bit more susceptible to pre-eclampsia. Elderly women with first pregnancies are more susceptible to preeclampsia.

Symptoms of preeclampsia. The symptoms of preeclampsia can range from swelling of certain body parts, to blurred vision, and even increased reflexes. Following is a list of these symptoms.

  • Severe swelling of hands, face and ankles
  • Sudden and excessive weight gain that is unrelated to your eating habits
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Rise in BP
  • Protein in urine
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Scanty urine
  • Abnormal kidney function
  • Increased reflexes

How to prevent it?

Be a bit more careful if you have had problems with obesity prior to pregnancy. Conceptions below 23 and above the age of 40 should be avoided. . There are many ways to prevent it both before and after pregnancy.

Keep BP in control before becoming pregnant. Ensure your blood pressure is under control. Lifestyle changes such as limiting your salt intake, participation in regular physical activities, and losing weight if you are overweight can be helpful. And finally, take and follow the advice of your doctor.

take care while you are pregnant. Obtain regular prenatal medical care. Be cautious. Talk to your doctor about any over-the-counter medications you are taking or are planning to take.

You may even be able to avoid it altogether if you start the lifestyle changes a bit early.

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