‘Mom to be’ is a special and delicate time for a woman. It is equally important for a pregnant lady to keep track of their physical and mental health. Even a small carelessness can lead to severe complications. Regular check-ups, keeping track of the blood pressure and blood sugar of the pregnant woman should be done to have a healthy delivery and a healthy baby. Here are a few facts on hypertension and pregnancy:
For a majority pregnant women, high blood pressure or hypertension is a matter of concern. Specially in a hectic world. struck hard by pandemic, a pregnant woman is sure to have hypertension. This will lead to reduced flow of blood to the placenta leading to slow growth of the foetus. It will also pave way for low birth weight and premature delivery. A lifestyle with a good diet and regular check-up is vital during pregnancy to avoid hypertension and its consequences. High blood pressure can be there either before pregnancy or can be experienced during pregnancy. Keep in mind that any tension during pregnancy will also affect the small life inside you. Let’s understand the possible causes of hypertension during pregnancy.
Age over 35 years
Being lethargic without any physical activity
Having a history of pregnancy-related hypertension
Assistive reproductive technology like IVF
These are some of the causes which can increase the possibility of hypertension. Among these, the lack of physical activity during pregnancy, age, first-time pregnancy and multiple pregnancies are the major risk factors for hypertension.
Increased blood pressure is one of the major symptoms of hypertension. Other symptoms are:
Sudden weight gain or Swelling
Nausea or vomiting
Pain in the upper abdomen
Decreased urine output
Shortness of breath
Excess protein in the urine
To tackle hypertension, one must know the symptoms and manage it in the initial stages. This will help both mother and the baby. There are different types of hypertension as well. They are:
Chronic hypertension: High blood pressure present before pregnancy or that occurs before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Usually hard to detect as no symptoms are present in the initial stages.
Gestational hypertension: Some women can have hypertension that develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Those with gestational hypertension eventually develop preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia: It occurs when high blood pressure develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is associated with damage to other vital organs like liver, kidney or brain. If ignored, preeclampsia can complicate into grave conditions such as HELLP syndrome or eclampsia i.e. fits or seizures in pregnancy. In such cases, both mother and foetus may need an intensive care unit hence such cases should be consulted in tertiary care hospitals.
Chronic hypertension and superimposed preeclampsia: This condition is seen in women who are diagnosed with chronic hypertension before pregnancy. They develop high blood pressure, presence of excess protein in the urine and other health complications during pregnancy.
As we have mentioned before, hypertension leads to decreased blood flow to the placenta. When the placenta doesn’t get enough blood, the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the baby gets reduced. This can lead to premature birth or low birth weight and other complications.
Another problem caused by hypertension is the ‘Placental abruption’ and premature delivery. It is a medical emergency where the placenta detaches from the uterus prematurely. Hypertension can also lead to Intrauterine growth restrictions like retarded growth of the baby.
Cardiovascular disease and damage to other organs can also be caused by hypertension. Preeclampsia increases the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases in future.
Staying active is the best way in which one can solve the risk of hypertension. Doing easy exercises can also help. It is important to keep a healthy diet as well. Consume nutrition-rich food as it helps the mother and the growing foetus. Avoid smoking and alcohol. Manage stress. Regular check-ups are needed and timely treatment is needed when something is found to be unusual.