and Chronic Hypertension
<>There is a very great risk that your blood pressure will rise during pregnancy. Your
body is put under considerable strain during your pregnancy and there are other factors that will affect your
well-being at this time.
Many people are totally unaware that they suffer from high blood pressure and this
applies equally to women prior to becoming pregnant. Problems begin to arise when they become pregnant and
highlight their hypertension condition.
There is a condition known as Chronic hypertension.
There are approximately between 3% and 5% of women who suffer with hypertension
before they decide to become pregnant or develop hypertension before the 20th week of pregnancy, this is
called chronic hypertension.
It is possible for women with chronic hypertension to also develop pregnancy-induced
hypertension (PIH), also known as toxemia or preeclampsia resulting in a potentially serious
Unless it is severely high, the predicament with high blood pressure in anyone is it
rarely causes any visible or other types of symptoms.
This is problematic for anyone with raised blood pressure, but for a pregnant woman
it can cause very serious complications for both the mother and her baby. Fortunately with good antenatal
care these problems can usually be prevented, and if not prevented then treated.
From this we can clearly see that it is of paramount importance that a pregnant
woman has her blood pressure checked regularly and certainly every time she goes for her antenatal
appointment. It is also important that the person checking the blood pressure ensures that the blood pressure
is taken in the correct manner and is certain that the expectant mother is in a calm state.
Chronic HypertensionIf a
pregnant woman has chronic hypertension, it means her blood pressure was raised either before she became
pregnant or before she was 20 weeks. Unfortunately this type of hypertension does not resolve once the baby
is born, and the mother usually needs treatment.
It is thought that chronic
hypertension in young women is the result of their heredity diet and lifestyle but doctors are unsure of this. The
major concern is that if this type of hypertension is not treated then there may be serious repercussions such as a
heart attack or stroke.
If a woman knows she has high
blood pressure, it is very important she sees her doctor before trying to conceive her child. Conversely, if a
woman is unaware she has chronic hypertension she will be ignorant of the risks she's running when she becomes
If there are no other
complications the risks are not increased for most women with Chronic hypertension. If there are other conditions
present like diabetes and the hypertension is severe, or if PIH develops along with chronic hypertension, risks are
much greater for mother and baby.
Severe chronic hypertension during pregnancy may induce other
complications some of which are listed below:
v blood clots
v kidney failure
v increasing blood
v bleeding within the
v early detachment of the placenta from
v heart failure
Subject to the severity of the disease there may be risks to the fetus and the
newborn baby. The risks may include:
v pre-term birth (before 37 weeks of
v intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) -
decreased fetal growth due to poor placental blood flow.
There's no reason why she cannot become pregnant, it just means she will have to be
very carefully monitored by her doctor and midwives to ensure her medication (If she's taking any) is
carefully evaluated. Its very important she does this as there are some types of medication for high blood
pressure which can cross the placenta and harm the baby. It may even be possible for her to stop taking her
medication whilst at least in the first trimester as the blood pressure tends to fall in this period
There is no reason why a woman with Chronic Hypertension cannot become pregnant, it
merely means she must be carefully monitored by her doctor and midwives ensuring that her medication, if any
had been prescribed, is carefully quantified.
There are some types of medication for high blood pressure that can cross the
placenta and harm the baby. This reinforces the need to have the medication very carefully monitored. It may
even be possible for her to stop taking her medication whilst at least
In the first trimester of pregnancy it is quite normal for a reduction in blood
pressure so it may even be possible for her to stop taking her medication during this period.
When carefully monitored, most women with chronic hypertension go on to have a
trouble free pregnancy, However about 25% of them develop a very dangerous gestational hypertension called
Preecalpsia is an extremely serious condition with the possibility of being fatal to
both the mother and her baby. Symptoms of preeclampsia are
v Intense stomach
v Blurred vision
v Weight gain of several pounds in a very
short period of time
v Severe headaches
v Swelling of the hands and
'Preeclampsia' can cause very serious problems even death if left
untreated...read about preeclampsia
pregnancy induced hypertension
Research material about Pregnancy and Chronic
Hypertension provided by K. Standerline, State Registered Nurse. UK
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