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Pregnancy and High Blood Pressure

Michelle Dixon

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Every woman who is pregnant should be aware of some of the common complications that may happen during their pregnancy. One complication is high blood pressure while pregnant. Higher than normal blood pressure while pregnant, rarely causes life-threatening complications, yet there are times when it can become dangerous.

Some problems associated with pregnancy high blood pressure include decreased blood flow to the placenta. This affects the baby’s supply of nutrients and oxygen. The decreased supply could slow the baby’s growth. It can also increase the chance of early delivery.

There are three types of high blood pressure problems associated with pregnancy: essential hypertension, gestational hypertension and preclampsia.

Women who have high blood pressure before they become pregnant, have Essential Hypertension. Many women are not aware they have high blood pressure until their prenatal visits begin.

Gestational Hypertension is high blood pressure that develops while a woman is pregnant. This occurs in about 5 to 8 percent of women who become pregnant and usually disappears after the baby is born.

Preclampsia (formerly known as toxemia – it was believed a toxin was the cause of the problem) is the most dangerous type of high blood pressure in pregnant women. Sometimes gestational hypertension turns into preclampsia. It is recognized by even higher blood pressure and protein in the urine, which is also a sign of a kidney problem.

Women diagnosed with preclampsia will need vigilant monitoring by their doctor. Sometimes complete bed rest or even hospitalization may be required.

Some women are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure complications while pregnant. These include:

  • History of hypertension or high blood pressure. You or a family member previously developed high blood pressure while pregnant.

  • Your first pregnancy. If this is your first pregnancy or a pregnancy outside of 10 years, you have a higher chance of developing hypertension while pregnant.

  • Your age plays a factor. If you are 35 or older or younger than 20, you have a higher risk.

  • Your weight. If you are extremely overweight, you have a higher risk.

  • Multiple babies. If you are carrying twins or triplets (or more, oh my!), you have a higher risk.

  • Pre-existing disease. Some pre-existing diseases can lead to high blood pressure. These may include chronic hypertension, kidney disease, diabetes, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis.

All women should monitor their blood pressure closely while pregnant, no matter what their risks may be. Even though this complication is usually not life threatening, it can quickly become a dangerous problem.

By Michelle Dixon, Copyright 2007. Michelle Dixon writes about many different types of health and fitness subjects. For more information regarding A Healthy Pregnancy - Information, Articles & Resources please see http://www.pregnancy


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