High blood pressure or hypertension is the result of the increased blood flow through the blood vessels. Whether you develop high blood pressure before or after conception, it can be a cause for concern for both the mother and the child.
While in a normal pregnancy the fetus receives adequate nutrition and oxygen via the placenta and the umbilical chord, in case where a woman suffers from hypertension there is less blood flow through the placenta.
This means less nutrients and oxygen to the fetus which in turn can stem the growth of the fetus, cause premature delivery or result in placental abruption.
Moreover high blood pressure can cause severe damage to the kidneys and other organs of a pregnant woman. Women with high blood pressure are also prone to developing preeclampsia, a serious condition which can be fatal for both the mother and the child.
High blood pressure in pregnancy is usually chronic or gestational. Chronic high blood pressure refers to hypertension that is present before the pregnancy. In contrast to this gestational hypertension develops in the final stages of the pregnancy, often after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
This condition can lead to preeclampsia which is marked by presence of protein in the urine, changes in the blood and other such problems. It can damage the liver and kidneys of the pregnant woman and severely restrict the blood and oxygen flow to the fetus.
Usually this pregnancy induced hypertension resolves itself after giving birth. However in certain rare cases it has been found to be persistent even after six to seven weeks of delivery.
Persistent headaches, blurry vision, sudden weight gain, swelling in hands and legs and pain in the upper abdomen are some of the common symptoms that pregnant women need to watch out for.
If you have a history of hypertension, problems with obesity and immune disorders or are older than 35 years, then it is important to keep track of these signs. Treatment of this condition is essential to avoid pregnancy complications.
If you observe any of these symptoms then consult a doctor immediately and ensure that you take blood pressure medications that are safe during pregnancy.