World Hypertension Day 2019: Pregnancy is a happy experience for most women and the news of pregnancy makes the family happy. However, complications or problems could occur in some of the pregnancies. One such complication during pregnancy is hypertension or high blood pressure.
Some pre-existing medical conditions that you might have needs to be managed differently during pregnancy. Some women may already have high blood pressure before getting pregnant and they might be on medication for the same. It is advisable to go for regular check-ups to ascertain your blood pressure (BP). While most women may not develop any complications related to hypertension during their pregnancy, some of them may develop a mild blood pressure, which isn’t a cause for worry. However, it is important to keep a check on these aspects as ignoring it or being unaware could cause severe hypertension that is harmful to both the mother and the baby.
A normal blood pressure is below 140/90 mm Hg. If the BP reading is slightly above 140/90, it may be considered ‘mildly high’. If it crosses 150/100, it is ‘moderately high’, and anything above 160/110 mm Hg is ‘severely high’ blood pressure in pregnant women.
Stress and anxiety are the main causes leading to hypertension. Antenatal classes help you to relax and keep your BP under control. Specific Yoga asanas for pregnant women also help keep hypertension at bay, but they must be practised under the guidance of a qualified Yoga instructor only.
Some of the symptoms that indicate high blood pressure at the time of pregnancy are severe headaches, vision problems, abdominal pain, vomiting after pregnancy (not during early pregnancy) and breathlessness.
These are some of the types of hypertension or high blood pressure in pregnancy:
Pre-existing hypertension or high blood pressure
As the name suggests, some women already suffer from high blood pressure before becoming pregnant, which goes undetected at times. This reflects during diagnosis before they are 20 weeks pregnant. Therefore, such type of hypertension is not caused due to pregnancy even though detected after conceiving before 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is also called as chronic high blood pressure. If you are already taking medications for treatment of hypertension, then you must get it reviewed by your doctor before you plan your pregnancy.
Gestational hypertension or high blood pressure
This is a hypertension caused during pregnancy or pregnancy induced high BP. This is not pre-existing and develops for the first time after 20 weeks of pregnancy usually in your first pregnancy. This is diagnosed as lack of protein in the urine and confirmed if you do not develop pre-eclampsia during your pregnancy.
Pre-eclampsia that develops in some women who have high blood pressure during pregnancy may affect other parts of your body such as kidney, liver and brain. It is known to get better within six weeks after delivery.
Treatment for blood pressure during pregnancy is advised by a qualified obstetrician after a few tests, which includes your urine test for protein, symptoms of pre-eclampsia and so on. A regular check during your pregnancy with a specialist obstetrician can make your pregnancy experience pleasant as pregnancy is not a disease.
(Dr Sanchayan Roy is MBBS, DNB (Internal Medicine), General Physician, Apollo Cradle Royale)