Pregnancy comes with a lot of disturbances and symptoms and one of it is gestational hypertension, also known as pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH).
This is high blood pressure induced by pregnancy and if not treated, it can cause pre-eclampsia, also referred to as toxemia. 6 to 8% of pregnant women are affected by this condition.
Types of Gestational Hypertension
There are three common types of gestational hypertension:
- Gestational hypertension: This develops in pregnant women 20 weeks after conception and goes away after delivery. It takes up to six weeks after delivery for this condition to go away.
For gestational hypertension to be diagnosed, there must not be proteins in your urine or other main symptoms of preeclampsia.
- Chronic hypertension: Women who have high blood pressure before pregnancy are affected by this. Also, women who develop high blood pressure in their early pregnancy (before 20 weeks) or continue to have it after delivery fall into this class.
- Preeclampsia: Both gestational and chronic hypertension can cause this condition. If hypertension is not treated during and allowed to continue after 20 weeks of pregnancy, it can lead to toxemia.
This can cause serious complications for the mother and fetus.
Signs And Symptoms of Gestational Hypertension
- High blood pressure
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling in the hands and face
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sudden weight gain
- Double or blurred vision
- Urinating less than you typically do
- Unusual headaches
- Pain in the upper right side of the abdomen
- Start or spots in front of the eyes
- Breathing problems
- Flashing lights in eyes
- Extreme fatigue
- Rib pain
And it is possible to have no symptom at all.
Risks Factors For Gestational Hypertension
Women who have one or more of these factors are at risks of having hypertension during pregnancy:
- Women who have high blood pressure or kidney disease prior to pregnancy
- Pregnant women who are younger than 20 or older than 40
- Women having multiple babies
- Women whose mothers or sisters had gestational diabetes
- First-time mothers
- African Americans have higher risks than other races
- Have underlying medical conditions like lupus, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease
- You’ve heard pregnancy complications in the past.
- Assisted method of conception like in vitro fertilization
Tips For Preventing Gestational Diabetes
If you are at risk of this condition and wish to prevent it, the following tips can help you do so.
- Drink 8 or more glasses of water every day;2
- Consume less salt and less meat. If possible, use unrefined sea salt. Avoid table salt
- Increase your prenatal checkup
- Rest often and engage in mild exercises
- Sleep or rest on your left-hand side so that the weight of your baby won’t be on your major blood vessels.
- Reduce your intake of junks and fried foods
- Increase your intake of plant-based proteins
- Avoid caffeine and foods/drinks containing it
- Avoid alcohol and don’t smoke
- Lift up your feet several times during the day
- Make sure you get enough rest
How Gestational Hypertension Affects Babies
Hypertension prevents enough blood from getting to the placenta and when this happens, your baby can’t get enough oxygen and food.
This leads to low birth weight and other complications. If this condition is detected and treated early, you can still deliver a healthy baby.
If it not treated, it will progress into preeclampsia which can cause disastrous effects on you and your baby.
Some of the damages PIH can cause are:
- Low birth weight or premature birth
- Fetal growth restriction
- Placental abruption
- Cesarean delivery
- Damage to your kidneys and other vital organs
- Increased risks of heart disease
- Increased risk of hypertension when you get older
- Preeclampsia can affect your placenta, brain, kidneys, and liver
- If not treated, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, a rare and serious complication that can cause seizures, coma, or even death.
- HELLP syndrome. This stands for hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count. This is a rare condition induced by untreated PIH and it requires urgent medical attention.
It comes along with symptoms like upper abdomen pain, headache, nausea and vomiting.
We hope this article helps you understand why this condition is dangerous and helpful ways you can prevent it and reduce your blood pressure during pregnancy.
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