Antenatal Health: Hypertension In Pregnancy

Pregnancy Induced Hypertension is also known as gestational Hypertension, this occurs in a pregnant woman at the second half of her pregnancy (that is after 20weeks of gestation) without the presence of protein in the urine. This is not associated with any complications in pregnancy as PIH (pregnancy Induced Hypertension) does not necessarily need treatment just regular monitoring.

Pregnancy Induced Hypertension can be,

  • Mild, this when the systolic is up to 140-149mm Hg and diastolic is up to 90-99mm Hg
  • Moderate, this is when the systolic is up to 150-159mm Hg and diastolic is up to 100-109mm Hg
  • Severe, this is when the systolic is more than 160mm Hg and diastolic is more than 110mm Hg

Gestational Hypertension can progress further into Pre-eclampsia in some women.

Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy complication, a multi-systemic disorder that is characterized by hypertension and proteinuria (about 300mg of protein in urine) in a previously normotensive woman (a woman with no history of hypertension), in the second half of pregnancy (after 20weeks) Which later resolves completely after 6 postpartum weeks.

What are the risk factors for preeclampsia?

  • First pregnancies
  • Having children with different fathers (multiparous)
  • Previous history of preeclampsia
  • Age, from 35 or more
  • 10years or more after last pregnancy
  • Body mass Index (BMI) from 35 or more
  • Family history of preeclampsia
  • Proteinuria (protein in urine)
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Booking diastolic blood pressure at 80mm Hg or more
  • Pre-existing Hypertension
  • Pre-existing renal disease
  • Pre-existing diabetes
  • An immune disorder that causes the immune system to fight the protein in the blood called anti phospholipids antibodies

What are some presenting symptoms in pregnant women?

Most pregnant women complain of,

  • Severe headache
  • Vision disturbance
  • Epigastric pain

But most times, women with preeclampsia complain of no symptoms because they feel no discomfort in their body, so it is very important to always attend gynecological appointment and antenatal check-ups, so as to always ascertain that you’re in good health and in case of any problem it can be diagnosed very quickly and early.

How Can Preeclampsia be diagnosed?

Your gynecologist can diagnosed this condition by carrying out some important analysis like;

  • Urinalysis, to check for the presence of protein in the urine
  • Full blood count to check for the specific level of platelets in your body, as platelets tend to become low in preeclampsia
  • And of-course, checking of your blood pressure regularly with a sphygmomanometer

How can preeclampsia be managed?

Immediately a gynecologist diagnose this condition, the pregnant woman should be immediately admitted into the hospital for monitoring and proper care.

If the pregnancy is still less than 34weeks and mild pre-eclampsia is diagnosed, the mother is managed with anti hypertensive therapy in order to continue the fetal growth to almost or full term.

But in severe cases of preeclampsia, there is no cure other than to quickly end the pregnancy by delivering the baby by cesarean section, to help prevent the development of Eclampsia (start of tonic-convulsions) in the mother, probable fetal distress in the child and other serious complications that can arise from this disorder plus possible death of mother and fetus.

Be strong, Stay healthy!

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