Causes and Prevention of High Blood Pressure during Pregnancy

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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined as blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg. It remains a major medical condition and problem for some pregnant women. Although, high blood pressure during pregnancy is not always serious. However, it can sometimes cause severe health complications for both mother and developing child.

Causes of High Blood Pressure during Pregnancy
There are several possible causes of high blood pressure during pregnancy. They are:
Being overweight or obese
Failing to stay active
Smoking
Alcohol intake
Primigravida
Family history of kidney disease,
preeclampsia, or chronic hypertension
Multiple gestations
Age above over 40
Assistive technology (such as IVF)

Complications
The main possible complication if high blood pressure is unabated after 20 weeks of pregnancy is preeclampsia. It is a condition that causes serious damage to your organs, including your brain and kidneys. Preeclampsia is also known as toxemia and pregnancyinduced hypertension. Preeclampsia with seizures may become eclampsia. This can be fatal. Adequate prenatal care, including regular doctor’s visits, should be able to spot some of the symptoms of preeclampsia. Symptoms of preeclampsia include: Protein in a urine sample Abnormal swelling in hands and feet Persistent headaches Low birth weight Placental abruption Preterm delivery (defined as delivery prior to 38 weeks of pregnancy), Caesarean sections.

Prevention
High blood pressure can be prevented through diet and exercise, while it is inevitable not to add some weight during pregnancy; it is recommended that pregnant women consult with their doctors to identify a weight gain target that is healthy for them and also speak with a nutritionist that will keep your specific height and weight in mind when creating a nutrition plan for you. It is important to take preventive measures to help lessen your risk of high blood pressure. You should steer clear of smoking and drinking alcohol, both of which have been known to raise blood pressure. Avoid medications for lowering blood pressure when you are pregnant: ace inhibitors, renin inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers.


Managing stress during Pregnancy
Ho
rmonal shifts, psychological and physical changes do cause stress in a pregnant woman. However, when pregnant women find ways to manage their stress levels, blood pressure is less of an issue. Prenatal yoga can be a great tool to manage stress during pregnancy. If yoga poses are too uncomfortable, simply listening to relaxing music while taking the time to meditate is helpful for the body and for the mind. High impact or extensive aerobic exercise is not typically recommended during pregnancy, especially if your body is not used to it. However, taking walks is a great way to relieve stress and stay active.



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