Having high blood pressure during the course of pregnancy may pose certain risks to the expecting mother and her baby. It can occur at any stage of pregnancy. However, it is possible to prevent hypertension in most pregnant women and to treat it.
Sometimes, hypertension is not diagnosed as the pregnant women may not experience any symptoms. In some women the risks associated with hypertension are less compared to others.
Types of hypertension
This refers to high blood pressure before being pregnant or a pregnant women may develop chronic hypertension during early pregnancy stage.
This refers to high blood pressure during pregnancy and except for rare cases, gestational hypertension lasts only as long as you are pregnant. This may occur during second trimester.
This is a serious condition which occurs mostly during third trimester and in very rare cases may occur after delivery.
Risks of Pregnancy Hypertension
High blood pressure in pregnant mothers leads to decreased supply of oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby and this may require the mother to deliver the baby before the completion of 37 weeks to avoid complications. The mother may have to be induced to deliver the baby early.
Premature Birth Complications
Babies born before reaching full term, usually have low birth weight and suffer from other complications including breathing problem. Their organs may not be fully functional and may require medical care and support till they are stable.
Hypertension may cause the baby to develop slowly as the flow of essential nutrients, blood and oxygen to the placenta is restricted. This condition is referred to as intrauterine growth restriction.
Women who develop preeclampsia during late pregnancy are more likely to be affected by placental abruption. This occurs when the placenta dislodges itself from the uterus before full term. This may cause bleeding and complications. Heavy bleeding is considered highly dangerous for the mother and her baby.
Damage to mother’s organs
If high blood pressure is not managed properly, it can severely affect major organs such as heart, brain, kidneys, liver and lungs. Risk of stroke also increases and it can also be life threatening in some cases.