High Blood Pressure and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

High Blood Pressure and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Every heartbeat pumps oxygen-rich blood from your heart throughout your body. Your blood delivers essential nutrients to your organs, muscles, and other tissues, and then depleted blood returns to your heart and lungs to be replenished.

As blood flows, it creates pressure against the walls of your veins and arteries. This pressure gets your blood where it needs to go, but blood pressure that’s too high can damage your blood vessels and your heart over time.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a serious condition that develops when blood pressure is consistently too high. High blood pressure can happen to anyone, but it poses particular risk to pregnant women.

The good news? High blood pressure can be managed to lower your risk of pregnancy complications. As a leading obstetrician, Farly Sejour, MD, provides comprehensive prenatal care alongside Natalie Gould, WHNP-BC, and our team at Solace Women’s Care.

If you’re pregnant or thinking about trying for a baby, here’s what you need to know about high blood pressure and pregnancy.

The effects of high blood pressure

Over the course of your pregnancy, the volume of blood in your body increases up to 45%. Your body needs more blood to support your growing baby, but carrying a baby can have a significant impact on your blood pressure.

Having high blood pressure can threaten the health of you and your baby, whether it develops before or during pregnancy.

Before pregnancy

About 44% of American women have high blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, heart attack, and stroke. 

If you have high blood pressure before you get pregnant, it can continue to affect your health and your baby’s throughout pregnancy. This type of high blood pressure is called chronic hypertension.

Your blood pressure may increase more throughout pregnancy if you have chronic hypertension. In fact, pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure are some of the most common causes of high-risk pregnancy.

During pregnancy

Pregnancy can cause high blood pressure, even if you had a healthy blood pressure beforehand. Gestational hypertension is high blood pressure that’s diagnosed after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and it usually doesn’t cause other symptoms.

If you have gestational hypertension, it might not cause complications for you or your baby. However, it can lead to preterm birth or low birth weight in some cases. This type of high blood pressure usually goes away within 12 weeks of birth.

Preeclampsia is a sudden, severe increase in blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy. Although having high blood pressure increases your risk, it can develop in women who don’t have chronic hypertension or gestational hypertension. Preeclampsia can be serious or life-threatening for you and your baby.

Managing your blood pressure for better health

High blood pressure poses some serious risks for pregnant women and their babies, but managing it helps both moms and babies enjoy their best possible health.

Prenatal care at Solace Women’s Care includes comprehensive evaluations of your blood pressure at every point of your pregnancy. If you have chronic hypertension, we can help you find ways to keep your blood pressure controlled.

Dr. Sejour and our team evaluate your risk of preeclampsia. The exact causes of preeclampsia aren’t well understood, but your risk of the condition may be higher if you:

If you’re diagnosed with gestational hypertension or preeclampsia at any point in your pregnancy, our team works with you to protect your health. We closely monitor both you and your baby, and we may prescribe medication or other treatment to manage your condition.

Managing your blood pressure is a critical part of your prenatal care. To find out more about blood pressure and pregnancy, schedule a consultation with Dr. Sejour and our team. Call our Conroe, Texas, office at 936-441-7100, or send us a message online.

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