High blood pressure during pregnancy is medically known as gestational hypertension or pregnancy induced hypertension. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), approximately 6 to 8% of pregnant women have or have experienced one of the three types of gestational hypertension. In some cases, a pregnant woman may develop all three types of hypertension during pregnancy.
The Three Kinds of Gestational Hypertension
- Chronic Hypertension – With this type of hypertension, the woman may already have high blood pressure. Chronic hypertension may develop before the twenty week gestation period, or the woman may continue to have high blood pressure after the baby is born.
- Gestational Hypertension – This type of high blood pressure develops after the woman passes the 20 week gestation period, and this hypertension goes away after the baby is born.
- Preeclampsia – This type of high blood pressure is a serious life-threatening condition for the pregnant woman and her unborn baby. Preeclampsia appears after the twenty week gestation period. Often times, preeclampsia is the result of uncontrolled gestational hypertension. In some cases, preeclampsia develops in women who do not have any history of hypertension. Although rare, this condition affects 5 to 8% of pregnant women.
Two Types of Preeclampsia
- Mild – Blood pressure that is 140/90 or slightly higher with signs of protein in the urine and fluid retention.
- Severe – Blood pressure that is higher than 160/110, categorized by dizziness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, headaches, inability to tolerate light, extreme fatigue pain in the upper right abdominal area, and sparse and infrequent urination.
Risk Factors for Preeclampsia
- First pregnancy
- Female family members with a history of preeclampsia
- Pregnancy at younger than 20 years old or older than 40 years old
- Pregnancy with twins (multiples)
- Women who have or have had high blood pressure when they are not pregnant
- Obese women
If the preeclampsia is mild, treatment includes resting on a bed on your left side, to prevent further pressure on the major blood vessels. A diet that includes more lean protein and at least eight glasses of water, and minimal salt, can be beneficial.
Women with severe cases of preeclampsia may have an emergency C-Section if the baby is close to the due date and developed. If the due date is still a ways off, hospitalization is usually required with bedrest (left side), a no salt/high protein diet, at least 8 or more glasses of water a day, and close monitoring. In some cases, hypertension medication may be used.
Genesis Medical Group is located in Victorville, California provides excellent prenatal and postnatal care for their patients. They offer pregnancy tests, exams, diet and exercise routines, ultrasounds, and of course labor and delivery services.