How much high blood pressure is high while pregnant? Yes, high blood pressure is generally considered “normal” until it reaches 140/90. However, what if your blood pressure was at 160/110 and staying consistently high?
Would it be normal? Probably not. But how much high blood pressure is high while pregnant? Given the amount of women who come into my office with high blood pressures, this is a question I get asked on a weekly basis from expecting mothers.
Pre-eclampsia is the more severe of the two, as it can make you and your baby very ill, potentially even leading to death. This condition is rare, occurring in only three out of every hundred pregnant women.
High blood pressure levels during pregnancy can be dangerous for both the mother and the unborn child, as it may lead to preeclampsia. This study aimed to determine the normal range of blood pressure during pregnancy and how different variables affect it.
While the terms hypertension and pre-eclampsia are often used interchangeably, they are not the same.
Keep in mind that as with most medical conditions, each pregnancy is different which makes every case of high blood pressure while pregnant a case by case basis.
Key takeaway points
- How much high blood pressure is high while pregnant?
- What causes high blood pressure in pregnancy?
- Symptoms of high blood pressure during pregnancy
- How to prevent high blood pressure during pregnancy?
- High blood pressure in early pregnancy
- Diet to reduce high blood pressure during pregnancy
- Chances of normal delivery with high blood pressure
How much high blood pressure is high while pregnant?
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure while you are pregnant, your healthcare provider may recommend that you take medications to treat it.
If you have mild high blood pressure (140/90), your healthcare provider will likely recommend lifestyle changes such as eating better and exercising more often.
If those measures aren’t successful in lowering your blood pressure, medication might be recommended. Your provider will monitor your condition closely while on medication to make sure it’s working well.
High blood pressure can be temporary, lasting only for a short time and not always requiring treatment. It can also be chronic, lasting more than three months.
In most cases, if you have mild or moderate high blood pressure during pregnancy, your doctor will recommend that you avoid medication and try to manage your condition by making some lifestyle changes.
This may include reducing salt intake and losing weight if you are overweight. If this approach doesn’t work or if it’s too risky to wait your doctor may prescribe medication to control the condition while you are pregnant.
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What causes high blood pressure in pregnancy?
The exact cause of high blood pressure during pregnancy isn’t known, but it’s thought to be due to the increased levels of hormones produced by your body during pregnancy.
High blood pressure can cause serious complications for both you and your baby, so it’s important to get it treated as soon as possible.
Having pre-eclampsia, a condition that can occur when you’re pregnant and has symptoms such as high blood pressure and protein in your urine.
This can be dangerous for both you and your baby. You’ll be closely monitored for signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia during your pregnancy.
Being overweight or obese before you get pregnant. Being overweight or obese during pregnancy is also linked to high blood pressure in pregnancy.
Smoking during pregnancy, which increases the risk of high blood pressure and other complications during pregnancy, including premature birth (delivery before 37 weeks).
High blood pressure in pregnancy is also called gestational hypertension. It’s defined as a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher on two occasions at least six hours apart, with protein in the urine.
Gestational hypertension is a serious condition that may lead to pre-eclampsia (see below). The exact cause of high blood pressure in pregnancy isn’t clear, but it seems to be related to an increase in the hormone progesterone.
Progesterone is released by the placenta during pregnancy, which causes the smooth muscles of arteries and veins to relax. This causes an increase in blood flow through these vessels, which can increase your blood pressure.
Symptoms of high blood pressure during pregnancy
High blood pressure during pregnancy is a serious condition that must be controlled. High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. It can also cause problems for you and your baby.
High blood pressure during pregnancy isn’t always obvious. In fact, most women don’t know they have it until they’re diagnosed by their doctor or midwife.
The earlier high blood pressure is detected, the more likely it will be treated successfully with medication and lifestyle changes rather than by surgery or other invasive procedures.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of high blood pressure during pregnancy:
Nausea or vomiting
The only way to confirm high blood pressure during pregnancy is with a blood test. If you have risk factors for high blood pressure during pregnancy or if you’re over 40 years old, your doctor may recommend regular screening tests throughout your pregnancy to detect any problems early on.
If left untreated, pre-eclampsia can cause serious health problems for mothers and babies alike including seizures, kidney failure, birth defects or even death.
If you have high blood pressure during pregnancy, it may not cause any symptoms at first. But it can lead to serious complications if left untreated.
High blood pressure in pregnancy is when your blood pressure readings are 140/90 mmHg or higher, or if you have protein in your urine. You may not have any symptoms of high blood pressure during pregnancy until complications develop.
If you have high blood pressure during pregnancy, you need to see your GP as soon as possible. You’ll probably be admitted to hospital where doctors will monitor the condition of both you and your unborn baby closely.
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How to prevent high blood pressure during pregnancy?
High blood pressure during pregnancy can have serious consequences for both mother and baby, so it’s important to take steps to prevent it.
Being overweight or obese before becoming pregnant
Having diabetes before becoming pregnant
Smoking cigarettes while you are pregnant
Being older than 35 years ol
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the most common chronic medical condition during pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, one in four pregnant women has high blood pressure.
High blood pressure can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery. It can also affect your baby’s health before birth.
Exercise regularly. Regular exercise helps reduce stress and improves your heart rate and circulation, which helps reduce high blood pressure symptoms.
Talk with your doctor about what type of exercise is best for you during pregnancy and ask about safety guidelines for exercising at different stages of pregnancy.
Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation increases stress hormones that raise blood pressure levels, so get as much sleep as possible at least seven hours per night while pregnant if possible.
High blood pressure in early pregnancy
High blood pressure is when your systolic blood pressure the upper number in a reading is consistently 140 mmHg or higher, or your diastolic blood pressure the lower number in a reading is consistently 90 mmHg or higher.
Blood pressure normally rises when you stand up after sitting or lying down, but it should return to normal within 10 minutes of standing.
If you’re on medication for high blood pressure, it’s important to tell your doctor if you become pregnant so they can monitor your condition carefully.
A potentially serious complication called preeclampsia, which is characterized by protein in the urine and swelling of hands and face.
High blood pressure in early pregnancy is a common issue. It affects about one in every five pregnancies, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
The good news is that 80 percent of women with high blood pressure during pregnancy have normal outcomes. But it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure so you can get treatment as soon as possible.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common condition that affects more than half of all adults in the United States. Most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms and don’t know they have it until they are tested.
High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are serious conditions that may cause death. Therefore, it’s important to discuss your risk factors with your doctor so that you can be treated appropriately.
During pregnancy, your body makes more hormones like estrogen and relaxin to help your body adapt to carrying a baby. These hormones relax your arteries and make blood vessels wider so that more blood can pass through them easily.
This is why many pregnant women experience swollen feet and ankles due to increased fluid volume in their bodies.
However, some women experience swelling in other parts of their bodies such as their hands or face which may be caused by edema (swelling caused by a buildup of excess water).
Edema can make it difficult for some people to tell if they’re experiencing high blood pressure during early pregnancy.
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Diet to reduce high blood pressure during pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time when women’s bodies undergo many changes. The good news is that most of those changes are temporary, and you’ll get back to your pre-pregnancy shape soon after the baby is born.
But high blood pressure during pregnancy can be a concern because it increases the risk of serious complications for both you and your baby.
If you have high blood pressure, you’re more likely to develop preeclampsia, a serious condition that causes swelling in the hands and feet as well as other symptoms like headaches, protein in the urine and problems with vision.
If left untreated, preeclampsia can result in serious pregnancy complications such as preterm labor, placental abruption (when the placenta separates from the uterine wall) and stillbirth.
Preeclampsia also increases the risk of maternal stroke and eclampsia (seizures).
Babies born to mothers with preeclampsia are more likely to be born prematurely and underweight than babies whose mothers don’t have preeclampsia. Babies born prematurely may have health problems later in life such as developmental delays and cerebral palsy.
Foods which help to lower high blood pressure are:
Folic Acid: It helps to prevent the formation of blood clots and reduces homocysteine levels by increasing the production of natural folic acid. Rich sources include green leafy vegetables, oranges, strawberries, beans and peas.
Magnesium: Magnesium is a mineral that helps to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure. It also improves the response of heart muscle to insulin and lowers the production of cholesterol in the body.
Foods rich in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains (wheat bran), legumes (beans) and dried fruits like apricots or raisins.
Potassium: Potassium helps in lowering the risk of high blood pressure by improving circulation and reducing sodium levels in the body. Foods rich in potassium include bananas, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes and citrus fruits like oranges or grapefruits.
Chances of normal delivery with high blood pressure
In pregnancy, high blood pressure is defined as a systolic reading greater than 140 and/or a diastolic reading greater than 90.
The risk of having a baby with complications related to the mother’s high blood pressure is usually directly proportional to the level of blood pressure. The higher the blood pressure, the greater the risk.
The rate of normal delivery with high blood pressure varies from study to study but is reported as somewhere between 65% and 75%.
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor will closely monitor your condition throughout your pregnancy. Treatment will depend on how severe your condition is and how far along you are in your pregnancy.
If you have preeclampsia, there’s a good chance that you’ll deliver healthy babies without any complications.
But if your preeclampsia is severe or gets worse, it could cause problems during delivery such as seizures or stroke for the mother or make it dangerous for the baby to come out of the womb too soon (premature birth).
If you have high blood pressure, it’s important to find out what stage your condition is at, because this will help your doctor decide on treatment options.
The earlier your condition is diagnosed, the less likely it is that you’ll develop complications later in pregnancy.
Keep in mind
High blood pressure is no joke, especially when your pregnant. High blood pressure is any blood pressure over 140/90 (systolic/diastolic). To put this into a better perspective, let’s take your normal blood pressure.
If your arms are resting at your sides and you measure 110 over 70, that would be considered a fairly normal person for their age of about 20 years old.
Your doctor will likely recommend treatment to bring your blood pressure down to a safe level. If left untreated, high blood pressure can cause dangerous complications in the mother and baby so it is important to bring it down.
In general, expectant mothers should strive to have normal blood pressure. Specific numbers may vary a bit based on what the mother is experiencing and at what stage of the pregnancy she is in.
But as long as the woman’s high blood pressure during pregnancy is being well managed, then it shouldn’t be considered too high with regard to complications that could arise as a result of elevated blood pressure.
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