High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy - What Are the Risks?

Give your baby a good start - Learn about high blood pressure during pregnancy

High blood pressure occurs anytime your blood pressure reading is consistently higher than 140/90. And while this condition is dangerous, it can be especially dangerous if you have high blood pressure during pregnancy. Learn the causes and dangers of gestational hypertension and what you can do to control it for a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Is High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Dangerous?

Many women that have high blood pressure during pregnancy deliver healthy babies without complications. However, it's important to realize that this is a condition that you need to monitor and control.

If you have high blood pressure before becoming pregnant, you are at higher risk for having gestational hypertension. High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause your baby to have a low birth weight and early delivery. It can also cause damage to your internal organs - especially your kidneys.

In severe cases, you can develop a condition called 'preeclampsia'. Also known as 'toxemia of pregnancy' this condition can be life threatening to both you and your baby.

Understanding Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia often begins around the 20th week of your pregnancy. The doctor will notice a rise in your blood pressure and increased protein levels in your urine sample. Preeclampsia can affect several things including your kidneys, liver, and brain. If your condition worsens and you begin having seizures, the condition is then called eclampsia and is the second leading cause of death among pregnant woman and the number one cause of complications for babies.

There is no cure for preeclampsia besides delivering the baby. If you develop this condition, your doctor will monitor you and your unborn baby closely to prevent complications.

Preventing High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

If you're already pregnant, make sure you are receiving regular medical treatment and see your OB/GYN. Tell your doctor your complete medical information including any prescribed medications you take and avoid smoking and drinking alcohol during your pregnancy.

Before you become pregnant, you can take steps toward avoiding high blood pressure by making some lifestyle changes. Lower the amount of salt you eat, lose extra weight, and exercise regularly. If you already have high blood pressure, get it under control before becoming pregnant. Talk to your doctor if you're taking blood pressure medications. Some blood pressure medications are okay to take during pregnancy, some are not. Don't take chances with the health and life of your baby.

High blood pressure during pregnancy can be serious. While it's very important for you to understand this and take measures to have a healthy blood pressure during your pregnancy, you should also know that most women with high blood pressure go on to deliver healthy babies without complications. Make sure your baby has the best start in life possible. Begin improving your health and your blood pressure before becoming pregnant.

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