Gestational hypertension, also referred to as pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) is a condition of high blood pressure during pregnancy. Hypertension during pregnancy affects about 6-8% of all pregnant women.
|High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy|
Different Types of Hypertension During Pregnancy
High blood pressure can present itself in a few different ways during pregnancy. There are three common types of gestational hypertension. Chronic Hypertension, seen in women who have high blood pressure (over 140/90) before pregnancy, early in pregnancy (before 20 weeks), or carry it on after delivery. Gestational Hypertension is seen when high blood pressure and goes away after delivery. Preeclampsia is a condition in which there is high blood pressure swelling due to fluid retention and protein in urine. Both chronic hypertension and gestational hypertension can lead to this severe condition after week 20 of pregnancy. Pre eclampsia can lead to serious complications for both mom and baby if not treated quickly.
Symptoms include high blood pressure and protein in the urine, rapid or sudden weight gain, swelling in hands, feet and face. Other symptoms of PIH include abdominal pain, severe headaches blurring of vision reduced urine output, dizziness and excessive vomiting and nausea.
A first-time mom, women whose sisters and mothers had PIH, woman carrying multiple babies, and those who are younger than age 20 or older than age 35 and women who exhibit high blood pressure or kidney disease prior to pregnancy a woman who has a previous history or PIH, is underweight or overweight, has pre gestational diabetes, SLE or Rheumatoid arthritis.
At each prenatal checkup your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure, your weight gain and may order urine and blood tests which may show if you have pregnancy induced hypertension. Your physician may also perform other tests that include checking kidney and blood clotting functions; ultrasound scan to check your baby's growth; and Doppler scan to measure the efficiency of blood flow to the placenta.
Treatment depends on how close you are to your due date. If you are close to your due date, and the baby is developed enough, your health care provider may want to deliver your baby as soon as possible. If you have mild hypertension and your baby has not reached full development, your doctor will probably recommended rest, lying on your left side to take the weight of the baby off your major blood vessels, increase prenatal check ups, consume less salt and drink 8 glasses of water a day. If you have severe hypertension, your doctor may try to treat you with blood pressure medication until you are far enough along to deliver safely.
Preventing Gestational Hypertension
Currently, there is no sure way to prevent hypertension. Some contributing factors to high blood pressure can be controlled and some cannot. Use salt as needed for taste, drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, increase protein intake, get enough rest, exercise regularly, elevate your feet several times during the day, avoid drinking alcohol, avoid beverages containing caffeine. Your doctor may suggest you take prescribed medicine and additional supplements.