Hypertension High Blood Pressure during Pregnancy Risks Dangers Treatments Concern Test Doctor

Throughout a normal pregnancy, a woman will visit her doctor approximately 15 times. Most of these appointments are over fairly quickly with a urine test, weight-in, measure of baby’s heartbeat, and of course the blood pressure cuff. Each of these valuable diagnostic measurements is used to monitor the health and wellbeing of mother and baby. Though it is normal for a woman’s blood pressure to gradually rise near the end of her pregnancy, excessively high blood pressure can pose danger worth worrying about.

In fact, high blood pressure also known as hypertension, poses considerable danger to any individual. It places excess strain on perhaps our most vital organ, the heart. When your heart is stressed, and blood is not allowed to flow optimally our entirely body feels the effects. Blood transports oxygen and other essential nutrients throughout the body. It also plays a significant role in temperature regulation and the removal of wastes. 

Working hard in poor conditions the heart is quickly worn out. It also becomes vulnerable to a variety of coronary diseases including the potential for stroke or heart failure later in life if left untreated.

 A pregnant woman is particularly vulnerable to the dangers of hypertension because her heart is already working overtime to support another life. In addition to the heart, hypertension increases the strain placed on the kidneys. This condition may lead to toxemia, or worse long-term kidney damage. Left untreated toxemia, or preeclampsia, can also lead to damage of the brain, liver, or placenta. In the most severe cases, the pregnant mother may experience life-threatening seizures.

Not all of the dangers of hypertension affect the mother. The baby too could suffer. Your little one may be unable to obtain the healthy blood supply needed for healthy growth and development. Low birth weight, premature delivery, and stillbirth have each been linked to the presence of preeclampsia.

When the situation begins to appear this serious, your doctor will need to discuss your options. If allowed to escalate to the point of organ damage and seizures the only choice may be to deliver the baby. Depending on the developmental age of your baby, the dangers will vary. Only you and your doctor can decide whether the risks of continuing to carry the baby outweigh the risks of early delivery. 

It is not impossible, however, for a woman to experience hypertension and yet experience a perfectly safe and normal pregnancy and birth experience. The key is early detection, open communication with your doctor, close monitoring of diet, gentle exercise, or possibly bed rest, and most importantly listening to your body as it whispers what it needs.