Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the most common medical problems encountered by pregnant women. It is estimated that the disease affects six to eight percent of expecting mothers.
Women with a pre-existing history of chronic hypertension are likely to experience complications caused by the disease; however, women with no prior history are also at risk of developing high blood pressure or gestational hypertension. A high blood pressure rate during pregnancy is defined as a reading over 140/90, anything above that number is concerning.
Some women are more at risk for developing gestational hypertension than others. Your risk may be higher if you are:
- African American
- Carrying more than one baby
- Pregnant with your first child
- Over 40 years old
- From a family with a history of gestational hypertension or preeclampsia
High blood pressure during pregnancy poses various medical problems not only for the mother but for the developing baby as well. Some of these problems include:
- Harm to the mother’s kidneys
- Placental abruption
- Low birth weight
- Premature labor
If left untreated, high blood pressure can develop into a serious condition known as preeclampsia. This condition is most likely to occur in women with pre-existing and chronic hypertension. The disease usually develops after the 27th week of pregnancy and is characterized by high levels of protein in urine and elevated blood pressure levels. Women may experience symptoms such as headaches, nausea or vomiting, reduced urine or no urine output, swelling or shortness of breath.
If you have been informed by your doctor that your blood pressure levels are high it is important to get it under control immediately. You can do so by taking prescribed medications and managing your sodium intake. It is equally important that you maintain prenatal appointments to monitor the development of your baby.
For questions about prenatal care or to make an appointment with the Women’s Health Center of Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-291-3276.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.