Chronic Hypertension During Pregnancy

Normal blood pressure is important to good health. It is necessary for your heart, arteries, and veins to work. Normal blood pressure is also a key factor for a healthy pregnancy. It controls the correct amount of blood flowing through the placenta. The placenta is special tissue that develops in your womb during pregnancy. Through the umbilical cord your placenta supplies your baby with the right amount of oxygen and nutrients for normal growth.

When your blood pressure is higher than normal it is called high blood pressure or hypertension. Even though most women with hypertension have healthy babies, they do have a higher risk of developing certain problems during pregnancy. These problems range from mild to severe and can affect both the mother and her baby. Hypertension can damage the mother’s heart, kidneys and other organs. It can cause low-birth weight and early delivery in the baby. See your health care provider for pre-pregnancy counseling. Early diagnosis and special monitoring of you and your baby by your health care provider are important.

Chronic Hypertension

Chronic hypertension is high blood pressure before pregnancy. It does not go away after delivery. You are also more likely to develop preeclampsia, or hypertension, during pregnancy which poses special problems. Therefore it is important to start your prenatal care as soon as possible after becoming pregnant.

Treatment of Chronic Hypertension during Pregnancy

Treatment of chronic hypertension during pregnancy will depend on your symptoms. Your blood pressure and urine will be checked at each visit. Your health care provider may prescribe reduced activity and frequent prenatal visits. If you are on medications for your hypertension, they may need to be changed before or during pregnancy.

What to Do

  • Take steps to control your blood pressure before and during your pregnancy.
  • Exercise and have your weight and blood pressure under control before pregnancy.
  • Eat healthy foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy products.
  • Start prenatal care early in your pregnancy and go to all of your appointments.
  • Talk to your health care provider about taking calcium supplements, especially if you are not getting the recommended daily amount.
  • Notify your health care provider if you develop sudden headaches, blurred vision, or upper abdominal pain.

What Not to Do

  • Do not take any medications, herbs, or over the counter drugs without first checking with your health care provider.
  • Do not use tobacco or drink alcohol during your pregnancy.

What We Have Learned

  1. High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause problems for both mother and baby.
    True or False
    The answer is True
  2. Having chronic hypertension means I can’t get preeclampsia.
    True or False
    The answer is False
  3. Eating healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables is recommended to help manage hypertension during pregnancy.
    True or False
    The answer is True.