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Pregnancy HypertensionHigh blood pressure can occur in pregnancy because it’s estimated that one in 12 American women have hypertension. But when blood pressure readings are higher than 140/90 and this happens later in pregnancy it’s called gestational hypertension and this presents some special health risks to mother and baby.

Gestational hypertension can damage your kidneys and other organs and reduce blood flow to the placenta. That means your baby will receive less oxygen and fewer nutrients. It can also cause your baby to be born too small or too soon.

Severe cases of gestational hypertension can lead to preeclampsia, or toxemia. This can harm the placenta as well as your brain, liver, and kidneys. It may also lead to eclampsia that can cause seizures, coma or even death.

Gestational hypertension is more common in women who are having their first baby, or were overweight or obese before pregnancy or are younger than age 20 or older than age 40. Women who are pregnant with twins are also at greater risk.

Your doctor will check your blood pressure and use other tests during prenatal visits to determine if you have gestational hypertension. If so, you’ll need to begin drinking more water and consuming less salt. When resting, you should lay on your left side to take the weight of the baby off your major blood vessels.

If you have gestational hypertension, be sure to attend all of your prenatal visits because working closely with your doctor can help ensure the health of both you and your baby. The good news is that, if you develop high blood pressure during pregnancy, it should go back to normal about 6 weeks after you give birth.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax