BP Basics

High Blood Pressure and Pregnancy

If one is in a delicate condition, it is always wise to be careful. Pregnancy is one such condition. It is a state when women should take great care of themselves and the unborn child they are carrying. There are certain medical conditions which need to be monitored very carefully and can be an impediment to successful child-birth. High blood pressure is one of the conditions.

Studies indicate that nearly 7% of pregnant women  face problems of high blood pressure, out of which 70% are afflicted with it for the first time. This state arises in women who suffer from diabetes, kidney diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma, women who have problems of obesity before pregnancy, women who get pregnant either before the age of twenty or above the age of forty, or women who have had a history of hypertension.

Hypertension, apart from resulting in mild headaches and seizures can also adversely affect the heart, lungs and kidneys of the mother and can lead to low birth weight, premature weight or still birth of the child. In certain cases women may suffer from preeclampsia which occurs usually after the 32nd week of pregnancy. No effective cure exists for this condition except for ending the pregnancy through induction of labor or abortion.

However, studies by the National High Blood Pressure Education Program (NHBPEP) have indicated that preeclampsia mostly does not have any lasting effect either on the mother or on the child. One gets cured within six weeks of delivery but women with a history have to continue their medicine to control high blood pressure. Moreover it has been reported that maximum women with high blood pressure generally have successful deliveries.

Women who are susceptible to  high blood pressure during pregnancy have to take extra care in order to ensure the well-being of self and the child. Reduction of salt and weight control is essential to control hypertension during pregnancy. Intake of any sort of processed foods should be discouraged as they contain salt and will not only increase the sodium level in the body but also increase fluid retention and blood further.

In such cases a dietician’s advice should be taken and a diet plan evolved which stresses on foods in their natural form. It is important to take drugs under medical supervision.

Mild hypertension is not a discouraging factor for carrying a pregnancy to full term. With adequate prenatal care and medical supervision, it is perfectly possible to delivery a healthy child even if the woman suffers from mild hypertension.