At every prenatal visit, a member of our South Lake team will test your blood pressure. This simple test allows our staff to monitor you for hypertension, and to help keep you and your baby healthy and safe.
Approximately seven percent of all pregnant women experience high blood pressure during pregnancy. For most women who have chronic high blood pressure, or who develop gestational hypertension or mild preeclampsia, the pregnancy will proceed safely if they get proper medical monitoring and care.
However, high blood pressure can increase the risk of complications for both mother and child. That’s why it’s important to keep up with your prenatal visits and to understand the different kind of hypertensions – and your risks.
There are three categories of hypertension in pregnancy. These include:
- Chronic hypertension: High blood pressure that occurs before pregnancy or before 20 weeks gestation.
- Gestational hypertension: High blood pressure that develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- Preeclampsia: High blood pressure that develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy accompanied by increased swelling and protein in the urine.
Chronic hypertension: It’s best to consult with our practice pre-pregnancy to discuss the best ways to manage pre-existing hypertension. See us immediately if you are pregnant and know you have high blood pressure.
- Your physician will prescribe the safest medication at the most appropriate dose.
- Take the medication exactly as prescribed.
- Don’t stop taking the medication or adjust the dose on your own.
- If you are having unwanted side effects, call us immediately.
Gestational hypertension is usually diagnosed in the third trimester of pregnancy but can also occur after delivery. Risk factors include:
- Age over 35 or under 20.
- First-time pregnancy.
- Hypertension in a previous pregnancy.
- Family history of gestational hypertension.
- Kidney disease.
The team at South Lake will carefully monitor gestational high blood pressure and may recommend activity restrictions or even bed rest. You will probably be asked to come in more frequently for prenatal visits and monitoring.
Preeclampsia is new high blood pressure after twenty weeks. While we do not fully understand what causes preeclampsia, we know it can be quite dangerous. Some risk factors include:
- Personal history of preeclampsia
- Family history of preeclampsia
- First time pregnancy
- Diabetes, including gestational diabetes
- Age over 40 or under 20
- Pregnancy involving multiples
- Prolonged interval between pregnancies
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, as well as how far along you are in pregnancy, treatment may range from bed rest to medication to delivery. The only “cure” for preeclampsia is the birth of your child. For more details, see this Mayo Clinic article or this piece from WebMd.
Contact our team IMMEDIATELY if any of the following symptoms occur, as they are signs of severe preeclampsia, which can be life-threatening:
- A sudden weight gain (two or more pounds in a few days).
- Headache, blurred vision, or spots before the eyes.
- Pain in the upper abdomen.
- Unusual swelling or puffiness in the face and/or hands.