High blood pressure High Blood Pressure Each heart beat pushes blood through your arteries. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to your body. Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in your arteries. Without... read more (hypertension) is when the pressure of blood in your arteries is too high. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the body. Blood pressure that's too high stresses your heart and damages your blood vessels and other organs. Untreated high blood pressure can cause heart problems, kidney problems, or stroke.
What is high blood pressure during pregnancy?
A woman's blood pressure is normally lower during pregnancy. Blood pressure that's only a little high can be a sign of problems for you and your baby.
There are 3 types of high blood pressure during pregnancy:
Chronic high blood pressure: you already had high blood pressure before you got pregnant
Gestational high blood pressure: high blood pressure that starts after week 20 of your pregnancy and usually goes away a few weeks after your baby is born
Preeclampsia Preeclampsia and Eclampsia Preeclampsia is a certain type of high blood pressure that happens during pregnancy. The placenta (afterbirth) is the organ in your uterus (womb) that feeds the fetus (baby). Preeclampsia can... read more : high blood pressure late in pregnancy along with an abnormal amount of protein in your urine
You have a higher chance of getting high blood pressure during pregnancy if you:
Already have high blood pressure
Smoke or drink too much alcohol
Have a family member who had high blood pressure during pregnancy
Are having your first baby
Are pregnant with more than one baby
What are the symptoms of high blood pressure during pregnancy?
High blood pressure usually doesn't cause symptoms. You can't tell whether your blood pressure is high based on how you feel.
However, if you have preeclampsia, you can have:
Swelling in your hands and feet
How can untreated high blood pressure affect me and my baby?
High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause serious problems for you and your baby.
Problems for you include:
Kidney Acute Kidney Failure Your kidneys are 2 bean-shaped organs that produce urine. They’re about the size of your fist and are in the back of your abdomen, near your spine. Kidneys balance your body’s water and mineral... read more or heart failure Heart Failure Your heart pumps blood to carry oxygen and nutrients to the rest of your body. Heart failure is when your heart doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. It doesn’t mean your heart has stopped... read more
Problems for your baby include:
Being too small
Preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia. In eclampsia you have seizures (when your body moves and jerks out of your control) and sometimes blood and liver problems. These problems can be life-threatening to you and your baby.
How can doctors tell if I have high blood pressure during pregnancy?
Doctors will take your blood pressure (using a blood pressure cuff) at every doctor visit. You have high blood pressure if your blood pressure is at or above 140/90.
In addition, doctors will test your urine for protein to see if you have preeclampsia.
How do doctors treat high blood pressure during pregnancy?
Give you blood pressure medicine
Teach you to check your blood pressure at home
Do tests to see how well your kidneys and liver are working
Do ultrasounds to see how your baby is growing
Deliver your baby early if you have severe preeclampsia
If you have high to very high blood pressure, doctors will have you rest in bed and may deliver your baby a little early (at 37 to 39 weeks).
If you have very high blood pressure (180/110 or higher), your doctor may put you in the hospital for treatment during the last months of your pregnancy.
Although high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy may go away once your baby is born, you may get chronic high blood pressure later in life.