Some women develop high blood pressure during pregnancy, which can affect both mother and baby during pregnancy, and even after delivery. Chronic hypertension is present before conception, diagnosed about 20 weeks before gestation. In other cases, it happens during pregnancy (gestational hypertension), occurring in about 1 in 12 and becoming increasingly more common.
The good news is that high blood pressure and pregnancy don’t have to be a scary combination and can be prevented and treated alongside your physician. By using a range of criteria and a variety of assessments, your physician can determine the severity of your condition and develop a plan based on the information.
Types of Chronic Hypertension in Pregnancy
Chronic hypertension: High blood pressure that existed before pregnancy or occurred within the first 20 weeks. This can aid in the possible development of preeclampsia.
Gestational hypertension: High blood pressure that develops after 20 weeks of being pregnant and doesn’t involve protein in the urine or organ damage.
Preeclampsia: High blood pressure developing suddenly, 20 weeks into a pregnancy in a woman who previously had normal blood pressure. It’s characterized by damage to major organs, including the kidneys, liver, and brain and can sometimes be fatal. Untreated or worsening preeclampsia can lead to a more severe complication and the development of seizures, known as eclampsia.
Risks of Chronic Hypertension in Pregnancy
Chronic hypertension during pregnancy can pose a variety of risks, such as:
- Placental abruption – This is when the inner wall of the uterus prematurely separates from the placenta, resulting in painful, heavy bleeding. This can be life-threatening for the mom and baby.
- Poor fetal growth – Caused by a lack of oxygen and nutrients, high blood pressure can result in an intrauterine growth restriction of the baby.
- Preterm birth – Early delivery may be necessary when maternal or fetal health is alarming enough to prevent further life-threatening complications during delivery.
- Damage to major organs – Damage to the kidneys, heart, brain, liver, and lungs may lead to life-threatening issues.
Gestational Hypertension Treatment in Cook County, IL
Hypertension seems scary and hard to manage, until you have the right knowledge and expertise backing you and your decisions. Partnering with your physician can help you understand your chronic hypertension and safely navigate your pregnancy with it. Taking the proper steps to lose excess weight and manage your overall health before getting pregnant is key to reaching desired outcomes.
Your healthcare provider will closely evaluate you and your baby throughout your entire pregnancy, administering frequent tests and samples along the way. Taking stellar care of yourself at home is important and includes steps like making all your appointments, eating healthy, exercising, and taking medications as prescribed by your doctor.
For more information, call Women’s HealthFirst at (847) 808-8884 or request your appointment now. We have five locations near Chicago, Illinois, to serve you. Established patients are encouraged to visit the convenient online patient portal to request an appointment, message our team, update their records, and more.