High blood pressure prior to pregnancy can put the pregnant mother at risk for complications. This doesn’t mean that complications are certain, but that there is a higher likelihood of complications during pregnancy. If you have high blood pressure, it’s best to have it treated and try to bring it down prior to getting pregnant.
The amount of risk is relative to the degree of high blood pressure, which can range from slightly high to severe. The biggest risk is to the mother because very high blood pressure may damage the kidneys. In the baby, there is a risk of preterm birth and low birth weight.
If you have high blood pressure and are not yet pregnant, schedule an appointment with your health care provider. Your doctor can help you get your blood pressure under control prior to the pregnancy. Discuss the possibility of hypertension during pregnancy. Also, go over your medications and be sure what you are taking is safe for the baby.
Take a look at your diet and lifestyle to determine what changes need to be made. Dietary changes, such as lowering your sodium intake and eating a healthy diet to lose weight will help get your blood pressure under control. If you smoke, now is the time to quit both for your health and your baby.
If you are already pregnant and you have high blood pressure, see your doctor as soon as possible. Your medication may need to be changed or adjusted. Don’t stop taking your medication without your doctor’s approval, since this can put you at even greater risk. During the visit, your doctor will discuss steps you can take to help control your high blood pressure and have a healthy pregnancy.
Pre eclampsia is a serious complication during pregnancy. If you have high blood pressure prior to pregnancy, you are at a higher risk of this complication. It is important to avoid this condition if at all possible because the only cure is delivery. This increases the risk of a preterm delivery. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor or midwife will monitor you for pre eclampsia.