Gestational hypertension

When a woman is pregnant there is generally an increase in blood volume and a decrease in blood pressure. For this reason it is not normal when a woman has high blood pressure while pregnant. Gestational hypertension is a condition where a woman develops high blood pressure during the last few months of her pregnancy. Usually there are no other symptoms unless eclampsia is present also. It is thought that a woman who develops gestational hypertension during her pregnancy will also have problems with high blood pressure as she grows older. Sometimes gestational hypertension can cause the woman to have blurred vision, dizziness, and headaches, but this is not always the case. The woman may also have abdominal pain and vision loss in some instances where the blood pressure is really high. Gestational hypertension can be the cause of premature delivery and the low birth weight of the infant. This condition can also slow down the development of the fetus while in utero since the fetus is not getting an adequate blood supply. Gestational hypertension is a dangerous condition for both the mother and her child growing within. Nowadays, there are several things a woman can do to control gestational hypertension.

Only about 5 out of every 100 women who are pregnant will develop gestational hypertension. Because blood pressure is variable and can change all the time the doctor needs to have several high blood pressure readings before the determination of gestational hypertension is made. Consistent systolic readings over140 and consistent diastolic readings of 90 or higher are considered high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure problems before pregnancy is not the same thing as gestational hypertension. Gestational hypertension only occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy. Women who have chronic hypertension before they get pregnant or gestational hypertension after the 20th week should be closely monitored throughout her pregnancy.

Certain types of high blood pressure medications should not be taken when a woman is pregnant as these can harm the fetus. There are other types of medications that can be taken when a woman is pregnant. Make sure your doctor is aware of what kind of blood pressure medications you may be taking if you become pregnant while taking blood pressure medication. Extremely high blood pressure should be controlled whether you are pregnant or not. Having high blood pressure can put you at risk for a heart attack or stroke. It can also cause maternal death due to a cerebral hemorrhage.

Gestational hypertension can also be accompanied by protein in the urine when a woman is pregnant. This condition is called eclampsia and is a life-threatening condition for the pregnant woman and her fetus. If eclampsia is also present it will affect not only blood pressure but the kidney, brain, liver and blood as well Gestational hypertension can limit the amount of oxygen delivered by the blood to the fetus because it will constrict blood vessels to the uterus. As a result the baby will not grow properly because it will not be getting sufficient nutrients.

Diabetes, kidney disease, and family history of hypertension can all play a role in a woman’s risk for developing gestational hypertension. When a woman has gestational hypertension they are often told to stay in bed and rest and to make sure they take their high blood pressure medication. Most often the woman is given a prescription for blood pressure medications that have been around for a while and have been proven to be safe for the fetus. For example, such medications are methyldopa, hydralazine, labetalol, nifedipine. The newer types of high blood pressure medications like ACE inhibitors and ARB’s are generally not prescribed because they are not sure of the possible side effects they can have on the fetus yet. Diet and exercise can also play an important role in controlling gestational hypertension.

Last updated on Feb 22nd, 2011 and filed under Cardiovascular Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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