Hypertension during pregnancy shouldn’t be taken lightly! This is true whether the health condition developed before or after the unborn baby was conceived. This still demands specialized care for both the expectant mother and her unborn baby.
Here’s the truth about high blood pressure in a pregnant woman.
Your case can fall in one of these types of pregnancy-related hypertension. Every type, however, demands specialized ob-gyne care for the mother and baby’s sake.
- Gestational hypertension refers to high blood pressure that develops after the 20th week of pregnancy. While it isn’t characterized by excess protein in urine, among other signs of organ damage, it can progress to preeclampsia, a dangerous condition.
- Chronic hypertension refers to high blood pressure that developed before pregnancy or before the 20th week of pregnancy.
- Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia refers to chronic high blood pressure with symptoms that get worse during pregnancy. The complications can include increasing high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine.
- Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that can result in serious, if not fatal, complications for mother and/or baby. The organ damage itself can lead to several health issues.
Of these types, preeclampsia is the most problematic because it can develop without symptoms, even develop so suddenly that the mother is caught unaware, so to speak.
Complications of Non-treatment
Regardless of the type of hypertension, you should follow your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. This is because there are several complications from untreated or unmanaged hypertension including:
- Reduced blood flow to the placenta, which increase the risk for the baby’s low birth weight and slow growth
- Placental abruption resulting in heavy bleeding, which has life-threatening consequences
- Premature delivery, which doctors may advise to prevent complications
Fortunately, all’s not doom and gloom with hypertension in pregnancy. Your doctor will recommend medications to decrease your blood pressure although these drugs don’t include ACE inhibitors (e.g., valsartan), renin inhibitors, and ARBs. You should be careful about following your medication dosage and telling your doctor about your symptoms.
You should never change your medication on your own, whether it’s increasing or decreasing the dose, too. Your doctor will tell you when to change your medications and when to stop. Your family may say otherwise but you have to think about the impact of your self-medication on your baby.
The dangers of hypertension during pregnancy isn’t just hype – it’s the truth! The more you know about it, the more you can be an active participant in your own treatment.