High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy
Having high blood pressure during pregnancy does not always mean danger, as many pregnant women deliver babies without any serious problem, but there is always a risk for the fetus and mother.
Outcome of high blood pressure ranges from mild to severe. It may harm the pregnant woman's kidneys (or other organs), and it may cause early delivery with low birth weight of the newborn. In advanced cases, the pregnant woman may develop preeclampsia or "toxemia of pregnancy" which can be a threat to the lives of both, the fetus as well as the mother.
What is Preeclampsia
The preeclampsia condition is a leading cause of complications in fetus, which includes premature birth, stillbirth, and low birth weight.
It occurs with an increase in blood pressure, along with increase in the protein in the pregnant woman's urine (outcome of kidney problems). This a condition typically starts after the 20th week of pregnancy.
This condition affects the placenta, and may affect the woman's kidney, liver, and even the brain. It can also causes seizures, a condition known as "eclampsia", which is the second leading cause of maternal death in America.
There is no substantiating way to cure preeclampsia; the only way to resolve it is with the delivery of the baby.
Who are at risk of developing Preeclampsia
• Women with chronic high blood pressure before pregnancy.
• Obese or overweight women
• Women under age of 20, and above 40.
• Women with other disease like diabetes, kidney problems, lupus, scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis.
• If a woman has developed high blood pressure in any earlier case of pregnancy.
Symptoms and tests of high blood pressure and Preeclampsia
Symptoms include persistent headache, abdominal pain, blurred vision (or sensitivity to light). Tests include blood pressure check and protein in the urine (proteinuria).
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE DURING PREGNANCY
Take medications with doctor's consultation. Doctors ask to avoid angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and Angiotensin II (AII) receptor antagonists during pregnancy, and recommend blood pressure medications. The medicine must not be discontinued without doctor's consultation.
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