High Blood Pressure during Pregnancy
Blood pressure is normally read as a fraction; the systolic blood pressure over the diastolic blood pressure. The systolic blood pressure shows the pressure that is exerted on your heart’s arteries as it beats or pumps the blood to your body. The diastolic blood pressure on the other hand shows the blood pressure on your heart while it is at rest.
During pregnancy, your doctor will need to carry out some tests on you to determine your normal blood pressure. Then they will measure your blood pressure in subsequent visits to ensure that it stays at a healthy range. Normal blood pressure for expecting moms is usually close to 120/80 mm Hg. Blood pressure is considered to be too high if it is higher than 140/90 mm Hg or if the top number ( the systolic blood pressure), is 15 degrees higher than the initial systolic blood pressure measurement.
There are many things you can do to prepare yourself for labor, and as your pregnancy progresses one thing you may notice is that your blood pressure levels will vary. Eventually, your blood pressure goes back to your pre-pregnancy levels, but during pregnancy your blood pressure levels fluctuate due to factors such as:
1. An increase in blood volume.
During pregnancy, blood volume in a woman’s body increases significantly. The heart at this time, has more blood to pump throughout the body. For this reason, the blood pressure increases. Remember to watch your nutrition and include Vitamin E. This is the vitamin needed by pregnant women to increase the number of red blood cells.
2. A thicker and larger left Ventricle.
The left side of the heart (the left ventricle); which does a significant amount of pumping becomes thicker and larger during pregnancy. This is an adaptation that allows the heart to easily pump the increased blood volume.
Vasopressin (a hormone released by the kidneys) is secreted in higher levels causing your body to experience more water retention.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the causes that could trigger hypertension during pregnancy include:
· Being Inactive.
· Smoking and alcohol intake.
· First-time pregnancy and pregnancy while over 40 years.
· Use of assistive technology for example IVF during conception.
· Being pregnant with multiple babies.
Pregnancy – related high blood pressure complications include:
1. Chronic high blood pressure
Most moms who struggle with hypertension even before they conceive, often suffer from the same condition during pregnancy. This condition mostly occurs during the first 5 months of pregnancy. Hypertension at this stage is considered to be chronic hypertension.
2. Gestational high blood pressure
Gestational hypertension normally occurs after 5 months of pregnancy and goes away after delivery. However, if this condition occurs before the 30th week of pregnancy, there are high odds that a mom could develop preeclampsia.
This is a variation of chronic high blood pressure where a mom suffers from hypertension before getting pregnant, and has high levels of protein in her urine as the pregnancy develops.
Treatment for hypertension during pregnancy
According to Mayo clinic, traditional blood pressure medication such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers and renin inhibitors should never be used to manage hypertension while pregnant. This is because the drugs will reach the baby through the bloodstream and probably affect the child’s health negatively. These drugs can also thin your blood causing you to have a miscarriage.
Consult your doctor about the best way to manage your blood pressure during pregnancy. They will be in the best position to prescribe drugs that are safe for you and your little one.
Prevention of hypertension during pregnancy
1. Adopt a healthy diet and Exercise
One of the major causes of high blood pressure during pregnancy is obesity. Fortunately this can be managed through exercise and eating healthily. During pregnancy you will definitely put on some weight. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a doctor for you to find out which weight target is healthy for you and your baby. You should also consider visiting a nutritionist who will give you some dietary guidelines to ensure that you maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI).
2. Avoid smoking and alcohol intake
Smoking and drinking alcohol are common risk factors well known for causing a rise in blood pressure. For this reason, you ought to steer clear of smoking and drinking alcohol.
3. Avoid Stress
While expectant, hormonal imbalances, psychological and physical changes can take a toll on you emotionally. This could eventually cause you to feel stressed. Stress will in return make your blood pressure adopt a high blood pressure. Try out some stress reduction techniques such as yoga and meditation; they may do the trick for you.
If you suffer from hypertension while expectant, this is not a reason for you to panic; it can be managed. All you need to do is seek medical attention. To keep track of your blood pressure during pregnancy you could:
· Get yourself a blood pressure monitor that you can easily use to measure your blood pressure on a daily basis.
· Alternatively, regularly visit your doctor or a pharmacy that has a machine that can measure your blood pressure.