Lasting Effects of High Blood Pressure during Pregnancy

Blood Pressure Machine
Creative Commons License photo credit: Zeusandhera

Most of us are at least marginally aware of the risks of high blood pressure during pregnancy. Unfortunately, there really isn’t any way to tell which women will experience gestational hypertension (high blood pressure during pregnancy).

At this point, there isn’t even an effective treatment for high blood pressure during pregnancy. If your blood pressure is high during pregnancy, your health care provider may:

  • Check you for preeclampsia. This is a pregnancy-related condition which can negatively affect you and your baby, and must be monitored.
  • Have you come in for more frequent check ups. These are important. You may have had high blood pressure before the baby was conceived, or you may not have. Either way, it’s important for the doctor to keep an eye on your blood pressure.
  • Prescribe medications. These may be for your blood pressure. They may also be to protect the baby. Doctors often prescribe medication designed to help baby’s lungs develop. High blood pressure in mom has been shown to damage baby’s lungs if not treated.

Recent studies have shown that gestational hypertension is a forebear of health problems to come. Women who experience hypertension or preeclampsia during pregnancy are more likely to develop other problems later, including:

  • Stroke
  • Renal Disease
  • High Blood Pressure

Fortunately, these conditions don’t usually develop until later in life (generally in your 40s or 50s). Those who are at risk of these conditions can take proactive steps to avoid health problems in the future. For example, if you cut down on salt, you will lessen the chances that you will need to deal with high blood pressure later in life.

If you are pregnant and experiencing high blood pressure, your blood pressure will usually go back down to normal after you have the baby. Still, if you have ever experienced gestational hypertension or preeclampsia, make sure your doctor is aware.

Knowing that you have risk factors for conditions like renal disease and high blood pressure in advance can make all the difference in preventative measures you take now.

High blood pressure during pregnancy can have lifelong effects afterwards. What other health care issues have you experienced during pregnancy which could have long lasting effects?


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