Chronic high blood pressure is a leading cause of illness and even (rarely) death in pregnancy.
Specific risks of high blood pressure include restricted growth in the fetus, premature delivery, risks of preeclampsia in the mother, greater risk of c-section, and risks of cerebrovascular disease including strokes.
About 45% of US adults have high blood pressure, if you have ever been told you have had a high reading on a blood pressure screening exam, see your primary care provider to see if you actually suffer from high blood pressure.
There is, technically, no perfect blood pressure. Risk is all relative, based on your readings, but even those readings in the slightly elevated range increase risks of pregnancy problems.
In pregnancy there is a natural dip in blood pressure in the middle trimester, this means that real determination of blood pressure elevation should be done as early in pregnancy as possible. This is one reason, among many, that we advise a very early examination as soon as you see that positive test on a urine stick test!
Women who have high blood pressure are also at risk for diabetes in pregnancy, and the risks of each condition are compounded when both occur together.
While medication for the treatment of hypertension can be important if your blood pressure readings are high enough, it’s safer for the fetus if your blood pressure can be controlled without medication. At Women’s Health Practice we would like to discuss how complimentary therapies, including yoga, diet, and perhaps supplements can help lower your blood pressure prior to trying medications which may have fetal risks.