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High Blood Pressure / Hypertension

  • What is high blood pressure?
    Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood against the blood vessel walls each time the heart contracts (squeezes) to pump the blood through your body. High blood pressure also is called hypertension. Hypertension can lead to health problems. During pregnancy, severe or uncontrolled hypertension can cause complications for you and your baby.

    What is chronic hypertension?
    Chronic Hypertension is high blood pressure that was present before you became pregnant or that occurs in the first half (before 20 weeks) of your pregnancy. If you took blood pressure medication before you became pregnant - even if your blood pressure is normal - you have chronic hypertension.

    What is gestational hypertension?
    Gestational Hypertension is high blood pressure that first occurs in the second half (after 20 weeks) of pregnancy. Although gestational hypertention usually goes away after childbirth, it may increase the risk of developing hypertension in the future.

    What kind of problems can hypertension cause during pregnancy?
    High blood pressure during pregnancy can place extra stress on your heart and kidneys and can increase your risk of heart disease, kidney disease and stroke, Other possible complications include the following:
    •  Fetal growth restriction - High blood pressure can decrease the flow of nutrients to the baby through the placenta. The baby may have growth problems as a result.
    •  Preeclampsia - The condition is more likely to occur in women with chronic high blood pressure than in women with normal blood pressure.
    •  Preterm delivery - if the placenta is not providing enough nutrients and oxygen to your baby, it may be decided that early delivery is better for your baby than allowing pregnancy to continue.
    •  Placental abruption - This condition, in which the placenta prematurely detatches from the wall of the uterus, is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
    •  Cesarean delivery - Women with hypertension are more likely to have a cesarean delivery than women with normal blood pressure. A ceserean delivery carries risks of infection, injury to internal organs and bleeding.