Pregnancy is a very crucial period. Not only is the health of the mother at stake, but also that of the child. There are many health conditions that can have an impact on the health of the mother and the baby during this time and one of them is gestational hypertension. This article will look into the causes of gestational hypertension, possible complications, and how it can be prevented.
What Is gestational hypertension?
The body has to undergo a lot of changes during pregnancy since it has to accommodate the growth of the baby for a few months. The blood pressure of the mother can be affected during this period.
High blood pressure during pregnancy is known as gestational hypertension. This normally starts during the 20th week of pregnancy. This condition typically goes away after giving birth.
If the mother has high blood pressure even before pregnancy (or the 20th week of pregnancy) and after giving birth, then that condition is known as chronic hypertension. Both chronic hypertension and gestational hypertension can lead to preeclampsia which is a serious condition characterized by hypertension and the presence of protein in the urine. This condition can lead to serious complications for both the mother and the baby.
What are the causes of gestational hypertension?
Unfortunately, no one knows the exact cause of gestational hypertension, though some conditions can increase the likelihood of developing it. Here are some of the conditions that can increase the chances of developing gestational hypertension:
- Pre-existing high blood pressure
- Kidney problems
- Age of the mother being younger than 20 or older than 40
- Multiple fetuses
Consult your doctor if you are at risk of developing gestational hypertension.
Who is at risk of developing this condition?
You have a higher chance of developing gestational hypertension if you:
- Are having your first baby
- You were overweight before your first pregnancy
- Are over 40 years old
- Had preeclampsia before
As mentioned earlier, women who are carrying twins or multiple fetuses also have a higher risk of developing this condition.
What are the effects of gestational hypertension?
How can gestational hypertension affect the mother and her baby? The effects actually vary widely and can range from very mild to severe. Some of the severe effects include:
- Damage to organs like the kidneys
- Reduced blood flow to the placenta in the womb
- Pre-term birth
- Increased risk of developing heart disease
When gestational hypertension leads to preeclampsia it can result in damaging crucial organs like the liver and the kidneys.
What is the treatment for gestational hypertension?
The treatment for gestational hypertension depends largely on how close you are to your due date. If the baby is developed and there seems to be no complications or problems, then the doctor may recommend that the baby be delivered right away. In turn, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, which is a rare but very serious disease which causes seizures.
In reality, gestational hypertension itself does not require on its own since it goes away after giving birth. Doctors may recommend the use of medicines that treat hypertension.
How do doctors diagnose gestational hypertension?
Pregnant women should regularly visit their doctor for check ups. The doctor will check the mother’s blood pressure during these appointments. Because gestational hypertension normally appears on the 20th week of pregnancy, your doctor will be closely monitoring that.
It’s important to take note that high blood pressure does not typically exhibit symptoms unless it is very high. Should you develop gestational hypertension, your doctor will likely monitor you closely for other changes. Your doctor will be on the lookout for signs like the presence of protein in the urine (which might indicate liver damage).
How do you prevent gestational hypertension?
What is the best way of preventing gestational hypertension? Right now, there is no definite way of preventing this condition, but there are contributing factors to hypertension that one can control. The best thing that you can do while pregnant is to work with your doctor so that your condition can be closely monitored.
Here are a few recommendations for maintaining your overall health during pregnancy and preventing gestational hypertension:
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Increase the amount of protein that you are eating.
- Get plenty of rest while exercising on a regular basis.
- Raise your feet multiple times each day. It should be elevated from the normal position.
- Stay away from alcoholic beverages.
What are the definition and causes of gestational hypertension? It refers to high blood pressure during pregnancy, though doctors do not know what exactly causes this condition. It is not necessarily serious nor dangerous and usually goes away after the mother gives birth. However, it should be closely monitored by doctors because it can lead to serious health issues.
Learn more about Heart Health here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.