Pregnancy-induced hypertension, gestational hypertension, or pregnancy high blood pressure whatever you want to call it, this condition is unique to pregnancy. To get the diagnosis of pregnancy-induced hypertension or PIH, the high blood pressure has to start after 20 weeks pregnancy and excludes protein spillage in the urine. Hypertension that starts earlier is classified as chronic hypertension, while protein in the urine indicates preeclampsia, a more dangerous pregnancy complication we'll get to a little later. To be diagnosed with gestational hypertension, you will generally have a blood pressure of at least 140/90.
The majority of pregnant women diagnosed with gestational hypertension will not notice any symptoms. Instead, these women most often find out they suffer from high blood pressure during a routine prenatal appointment. Pregnancy-induced hypertension goes away again after the baby is born, but in the meantime it may need to be managed with hypertension medications that are safe during pregnancy. Unfortunately, PIH carries a rather high risk of preeclampsia a quarter of women diagnosed with gestational hypertension go on to develop preeclampsia, and the earlier in pregnancy hypertension begins, the greater the risk of complications.
Chronic high blood pressure raises the risk of preeclampsia to one in four, as with gestational hypertension. It also increases the risk of a baby with intrauterine growth restruction (IUGR), preterm labor, and even stillbirth. The good news about chronic hypertension is that you can do some advance planning with your doctor if you know you have it before you start trying to conceive. Hypertensive women who would like to get pregnant, and are taking medications for their high blood pressure, should discuss medication options before ditching their contraceptives. Some types of hypertension meds, like ACE inhibitors, are not safe during pregnancy and can lead to birth defects. Those women who switch meds before trying to get pregnant should give their new regime some time before trying to conceive, to make sure the new drugs can actually keep their blood pressure under control. By controlling your blood pressure, you reduce the risk of pregnancy complications to a minimum. Women with mild hypertension may find that natural high blood pressure remedies are enough.
Preeclampsia is a potentially life-threatening condition, which is characterized by dangerously high blood pressure as well as protein in the urine. Other preeclampsia symptoms can include severe headaches, and swollen ankles and a swollen face. These symptoms are not always present, by any means. There is no cure for preeclampsia except delivering the baby, though some women also get postpartum preeclampsia. In extreme cases, preeclampsia leads to HELLP Syndrome, and when women beyond 34 weeks pregnancy are diagnosed with preeclampsia, an immediate induction or c-section may be recommended. In some cases, preeclampsia can temporarily be managed drinking more water, lessening salt intake, and sometimes using hypertension medications can offer a short-term solution.