High blood pressure during pregnancy can take many forms. Some of them include:

  • Chronic hypertension: this is when you have been diagnosed with hypertension before your pregnancy or before the 20th week of your pregnancy. In such cases, your high blood pressure is probably due to causes other than pregnancy-related causes.
  • Gestational hypertension: if you have never had high blood pressure before and have a new onset of high blood pressure after the 20th week of your pregnancy with no other symptoms such as kidney or heart problems, it is known as gestational hypertension.
  • Preeclampsia: if you have high blood pressure while pregnant along with protein in your urine plus signs of damage to other organ systems, it is known as pre-eclampsia. A serious condition that needs attention to prevent its more serious sequelae, eclampsia.
  • Eclampsia: eclampsia is a more serious complication of high blood pressure during pregnancy, which includes signs of preeclampsia along with seizures and neurological damage.

What causes high blood pressure during pregnancy?

Causes of high blood pressure include:

  • First pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • History of smoking
  • You have had high blood pressure in your previous pregnancies
  • Your mother or sisters have had high blood pressure during pregnancies
  • It’s an IVF pregnancy
  • You have had high blood pressure before your pregnancy
  • You’re 40 years or older
  • You have a strong family history of hypertension

Can high blood pressure harm my baby?

Yes, if your blood pressure remains uncontrolled for a long time, it may harm your baby in the following ways:

  • It can cause reduced blood flow to the placenta, meaning your baby is getting less oxygen and nutrients than what they need.
  • Decreased supply of nutrients to your baby may cause growth restriction if not managed in a timely manner.
  • It can cause placental abruption, which is the sudden separation of the placenta from the uterine wall before the delivery. This can cause blood loss and even miscarriage.
  • It may cause premature delivery of the baby, which is harmful if your baby doesn’t have properly developed lungs and other organs.

How can I lower my blood pressure while pregnant?

If you have been prescribed medication for blood pressure prior to pregnancy, ask your health provider for a pregnancy-safe alternative for it so you can continue to take your medication.

If you haven’t been prescribed any medication and have new onset high blood pressure during pregnancy, you can try to control it by:

  • Reducing your salt intake
  • Reducing caffeine intake
  • Trying to relax; try yoga or meditation
  • Regularly monitor your blood pressure so you can make sure it stays normal

Remember that it’s always super important to work directly with your healthcare provider regularly to prevent any complications. If you have any questions, give us a call!