Gestational Hypertension

As an expectant mother, if you develop high blood pressure after 20 weeks of pregnancy, you may have pregnancy-induced hypertension. It's something Mercy doctors diligently screen for, because untreated high blood pressure may lead to complications for you and your baby.

Also known as gestational hypertension, high blood pressure during pregnancy can prevent blood from getting to the placenta, which supplies nutrients to the fetus and can lead to low birth weight and other complications. In some cases, hypertension may be a sign of a very serious condition called preeclampsia.

Who is at risk?

About one in 14 pregnant women will experience some kind of hypertension during their pregnancy. It is more common during first pregnancies, although it can happen with subsequent pregnancies as well. You are more likely to develop high blood pressure issues if you have other risk factors, such as:

  • Being in your teens or over age 35.
  • Having a history of high blood pressure.
  • Having diabetes, immune system disorders or kidney disease.
  • Being pregnant with more than one baby.

Having high blood pressure doesn't have obvious symptoms, so your Mercy doctor will routinely check your blood pressure during pregnancy, as well as monitor your overall health to prevent and treat any complications.

How is it treated?

Mild cases may be treated with rest and lifestyle modifications. More serious cases may require medication or hospital care.

You can do your part by staying on top of your prenatal appointments, staying active, eating healthy and discussing your medications with your doctor. Together, we can keep you and your baby healthy through your pregnancy and beyond.

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