Gestational hypertension, also known as pregnancy-induced hypertension, is a condition in which a woman develops high blood pressure during pregnancy. It typically occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy and can be a serious condition if left untreated. Here are some tips on understanding and managing gestational hypertension:
- Know the symptoms: The most common symptom of gestational hypertension is high blood pressure, which is typically defined as a systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher or a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher. Other symptoms may include headaches, blurred vision, and swelling in the hands and feet.
- Attend prenatal checkups: Regular prenatal checkups can help detect gestational hypertension early and monitor its progression. Healthcare providers will measure blood pressure, check for protein in the urine, and monitor fetal growth.
- Manage blood pressure: If gestational hypertension is diagnosed, a healthcare provider will work with the woman to manage her blood pressure. This may include lifestyle changes such as reducing salt intake, getting regular exercise, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco. In some cases, medication may be needed to lower blood pressure.
- Monitor for preeclampsia: Gestational hypertension can lead to a more serious condition called preeclampsia, which can cause organ damage and endanger the health of the mother and fetus. Symptoms of preeclampsia may include severe headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, and decreased fetal movement.
- Plan for delivery: Depending on the severity of the gestational hypertension and the gestational age of the fetus, a healthcare provider may recommend delivery to prevent further complications. In some cases, induction of labor or a cesarean delivery may be necessary.
In summary, understanding the symptoms and risk factors of gestational hypertension, attending regular prenatal checkups, managing blood pressure, monitoring for preeclampsia, and planning for delivery can help manage gestational hypertension and prevent complications for both the mother and fetus.