Although high blood pressure can occur at any time during your pregnancy, it is more common near your due date. Women who are having their first baby, who are over 35, or who are having more than one baby are more likely to have high blood pressure.
Why Women Experience High Blood Pressure
It's not entirely clear why some women get high blood pressure in pregnancy. Possible causes include:
In some women, cells from the placenta produce chemicals called vasocontrictors, which constrict blood vessels. This may cause the blood pressure to rise and the kidneys to retain sodium, leading to water retention.
Your blood pressure should return to normal after your baby is born.
Track your blood pressure. You can keep a record of your blood pressure and print out the charts for your doctor visits using MedHelp's free Blood Pressure Tracker.
Tell your doctor if you have headaches or nausea often.
If your blood pressure goes up during your pregnancy, you'll have to visit your doctor more often for additional checking.
If you are at serious risk, you'll need to be admitted to a hospital so your blood pressure can be monitored continuously.
If it appears that your baby is suffering, your doctor may suggest inducing you or you may have to have a cesarean section.
Risks to Your Baby
A rise in your blood pressure could be a warning of preeclamptic toxemia (PET or preeclampsia). Preeclampsia slows your baby's growth rate and reduces the oxygen available to your baby by reducing the amount of blood flowing to your uterus. This causes low birthweight.
In rare cases, high blood pressure may be a sign of a life-threatening form called eclampsia, but this is usually not the case in countries with good health care.
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