Gestational Hypertension

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Gestational Hypertension

Gestational hypertension or pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) is a condition characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Induced High Blood Pressure

Gestational hypertension is characterized as having a blood pressure higher than 140/90 mmHg on two separate occasions at least 6 hours apart without protein in the urine diagnosed after 20 weeks of gestation.

Gestational hypertension may lead to a serious condition called preeclampsia. Hypertension during pregnancy affects 6 to 8% of pregnant women.

Gestational hypertension risk factors

Certain women may have increased risk towards gestational hypertension, they are:

  1. First time mother
  2. Mother and sister had pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH).
  3. Mother carrying multiples
  4. Younger than age 20 or older than 40.
  5. Being overweight or obese
  6. Leading sedentary life; failing to stay active.
  7. Smoking and drinking alcohol.
  8. If there is a history of diabetes, hypertension and renal disease
  9. Have donated a kidney.
  10. The family history of preeclampsia.
  11. Assistive technology such as IVF

How do I know, whether I have gestational hypertension?

If you have increased risk towards gestational hypertension, then you should be more vigilant about your blood pressure. At every prenatal checkup, your doctor’s should check your blood pressure and protein level in the urine. Additionally, your doctor may check your kidney, blood tests, ultrasound scan to check baby’s growth, and Doppler scan to check blood flow to the placenta.

How to treat gestational hypertension?

For mild hypertension with the fully developed baby, follow the below said suggestions.

  1. Increase prenatal checkups.
  2. Reduce your sodium salt consumption.
  3. Try drinking eight glasses of water.
  4. Always prefer to lie on the left side to keep baby weight off from your major blood vessels.
  5. Take more fruits and vegetables rich in potassium such as banana, papaya, prune, raisins, mango, kiwi, orange, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and pear.
  6. Exposing to morning sunlight gives you enough vitamin D, which helps to lower your BP.
  7. Do regular walking helps to lower your blood pressure.

If your hypertension is severe, then you need to treat it with medication to maintain blood pressure until you safely deliver the baby.

Symptoms of gestational hypertension

Below is the list of pregnancy-induced hypertension, consult your doctor immediately if you have these symptoms.

  1. Severe headaches
  2. Blood vomiting
  3. Too much swelling of feet and hands
  4. Reduced amounts of urine or no urine.
  5. Blood in the urine
  6. Faster heartbeat
  7. Dizziness or drowsiness
  8. Excessive nausea or vomiting
  9. Double or blurred vision
  10. Tummy pain
  11. Ringing in the ear

Does gestational hypertension affect my baby?

Yes, if your blood pressure is not in control then it affects your baby.

High blood pressure prevents the placenta from getting enough blood. Thus your baby receives less food and oxygen results in low birth weight. However, a mother who properly controlled their hypertension gives birth a healthy baby.

Severe hypertension leads to preeclampsia; a serious condition affects both mom and baby.

What is the hypertension medication consider safe during pregnancy?

Medications methyldopa and labetalol are consider to be safe for use to control blood pressure during pregnancy.

Medications ACE inhibitors, renin inhibitors, and angiotensin receptor blockers should avoid during pregnancy. These drugs can pass through the bloodstream to the developing baby, and it negatively affects the baby’s health. 

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