High Blood Pressure and Preeclampsia in pregnancy
WHAT IS IT?
Preeclampsia is a serious health problem of high blood pressure in pregnancy that can start around 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia can harm your body and your baby.
Your body is doing a beautiful job making and sharing extra blood with the baby, helping them grow and be strong. The extra blood is part of what makes a pregnant person’s blood pressure go up later in pregnancy. But sometimes it goes up too much (HIGHER THAN 140/90).
You may have warning signs of preeclampsia, but sometimes you may have no symptoms. Tell your provider if you have these signs:
- bad headaches that don’t improve with medicine,
- visual changes like dark spots or bright flashes in your vision
- pain in the upper right part of your belly
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- new nausea and vomiting
WHAT CAUSES IT?
There are certain things that make it more likely for you to develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. These are:
- It is your first pregnancy
- Your mother or sisters had high blood pressure in pregnancy
- If you have high blood pressure before pregnancy
- If you had high blood pressure in another pregnancy
- If you have diabetes before your pregnancy or during your pregnancy
- If you are overweight
- Black women have a higher chance of having high blood pressure. This may be because of racism and other factors that put black women at more risk
WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF I HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE IN PREGNANCY?
**SENSITIVE TOPIC ALERT, this next section talks about serious risks to babies**
This can be a sign of danger to you and the baby. It can cause bleeding, kidney damage, seizures and more… It can affect the blood flow to the baby making them small and fragile. Blood pressure can also be normal during pregnancy and go up too high after the baby is born.
If you don’t get help, preeclampsia can cause: seizures, strokes, kidney failure, liver damage, slow growth of your baby, problems with your placenta, and stillbirth of your baby.
The earlier we know you have preeclampsia, the safer it is for you and your baby.
CAN I PREVENT HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE IN PREGNANCY?
- Know your blood pressure! We check your blood pressure every visit.
- Take a low dose aspirin every night before bed until your baby is born!
- Protects your against preeclampsia
- Protects the baby from being born prematurely
- It is safe to take during pregnancy
- There are no tests to check if you will develop preeclampsia during your pregnancy
- If your blood pressure is ever high, we will recommend extra tests. High blood pressure and preeclampsia can affect more than your blood pressure. It can also affect the blood, kidneys, and liver.
WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT?
- You may be advised to stay in the hospital or even give birth early.
- Your doctor or midwife might recommend earlier birth if your blood pressure rises above a certain level. This means an induction of labor or C-section.
- Some people with preeclampsia need to stay in the hospital. Some can stay at home but will come in for extra checkups and ultrasounds until its safe for the baby to be born.
- At 37 weeks the baby is no longer premature! Because the baby is ready any day at this point, if your blood pressure goes up we recommend starting labor
It is possible for preeclampsia to progress quickly, so it is important to take any symptoms seriously and act quickly. If you have any signs of high blood pressure or preeclampsia in pregnancy call your provider right away!
Call us at 617-414-2000 24 hours a day with any symptoms or for help!