The Effects of Gestational Hypertension During Pregnancy?

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Gestational hypertension also known as pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) can be referred as a condition characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy. Gestational hypertension can lead to a serious condition called preeclampsia, also referred to as toxemia. It was found that hypertension during pregnancy period affects about 6-8% of pregnant women.

Different types of hypertension during pregnancy

There are different ways in which high blood pressure can be categorized during pregnancy period.

The three common types of gestational hypertension includes:

  • Chronic Hypertension:  Refers to a condition which occurs in women who have high blood pressure (over 140/90) before pregnancy, early in pregnancy (before 20 weeks), or to continue it after delivery.
  • Gestational Hypertension: High blood pressure that develops after pregnancy week 20 and goes away after the delivery comes under this category.
  • Preeclampsia: Both chronic hypertension and gestational hypertension can lead to preeclampsia which occurs after week 20 of pregnancy. Symptoms for this severe condition include high blood pressure and protein in the urine which may lead to serious complications if left untreated.

Risks for Gestational Hypertension

The following women will be at an increased risk of developing gestational hypertension:

  • First-time moms
  • Women whose sisters and mothers had pregnancy induced hypertension.
  • Women carrying multiples.
  • Women who had high blood pressure or kidney disease prior to pregnancy
  • Women younger than age 20 or older than age 40

How to detect Gestational Hypertension

The healthcare provider may check your blood pressure, urine levels and also kidney and blood-clotting functions. An ultrasound scan may be performed to check the baby’s growth, and the use of a Doppler scan can measure the efficiency of blood flow to the placenta.

How is Gestational Hypertension treated?

If you are close to your due date and the baby has developed enough, then the health care provider may want to deliver your baby as soon as possible as part of the treatment.

If you have mild hypertension and if the baby is not fully developed, your doctor may probably recommend the following:

  • Taking rest by lying on your left side in order to take the weight of the baby off your major blood vessels.
  • Consume less salt.
  • Increase prenatal checkups.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

If you have severe hypertension, your doctor may treat you with blood pressure medication until you are far enough to deliver safely.

How does Gestational Hypertension affect the baby?

Hypertension can prevent the placenta from getting enough blood. And if the placenta gets deprived of enough blood, baby gets less oxygen and food which may result in low birth weight. It is advised to detect and treat hypertension early in order to avoid complications. If the condition is severe, it can lead to preeclampsia, which can have much more serious affects on mom and baby.

How To prevent Gestational Hypertension?

Currently, there are no proper preventive measures for hypertension. Some ways that can help to prevent gestational hypertension include the following:

  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Use limited amount of salt
  • Increase the amount of protein you take and decrease the intake of fried foods and junk food you eat.
  • Get enough rest.
  • Exercise regularly
  • Elevate your feet several times during the day.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.
  • Avoid beverages containing caffeine.