Friday, May 15, 2009

Pregnancy and Hypertension

A picture of my wifeImage via Wikipedia

Pre-Eclampsia (Pregnancy induced hypertension) is the most common problem likely to happen during your pregnancy. In fact two to three percent pregnant women have Pre-Eclampsia (Pregnancy induced hypertension).

I have a relative who had Pre-Eclampsia (Pregnancy induced hypertension) during her fourth pregnancy. first name found out on her third prenatal visit.

As she found out, first pregnancy, age older than 35 years, a new sexual partner, a history of pre-eclampsia, and time since your last pregnancy of less than 2 years or more than 10 years make it more likely to have Pre-Eclampsia (Pregnancy induced hypertension).

Other things that increase the risk of Pre-Eclampsia (Pregnancy induced hypertension) are chronic hypertension, thrombophilia, preexisting diabetes, type 2 and obesity.

Pre-Eclampsia (Pregnancy induced hypertension) might not cause any symptoms. However, it can cause visual disturbances like scintillations (flashes of light) and stomata (blind spots) - probably from spasm of cerebral arteries, rapidly increasing swelling of the legs and rapid weight gain. Upper abdominal pain might suddenly occur and is usually constant and fairly severe. Headaches are often in the front, throbbing and similar to migraine headaches.

The problem with Pre-Eclampsia (Pregnancy induced hypertension) is that it can cause thrombosis (blood clots), hemorrhage (bleeding) and even death of the mother. In fact, from 1991 to 1999 over 15% of the deaths of women during pregnancy were caused by Pre-Eclampsia (Pregnancy induced hypertension).

There are three types of Pre-Eclampsia (Pregnancy induced hypertension): Chronic Hypertension, Preeclampsia and Transient hypertension.

Chronic Hypertension

The majority of the time chronic hypertension has no other cause. However, it can be caused by kidney disease like poly cystic kidneys, glomerular or interstitial disease, too much parathyroid hormone or even using oral contraceptives.


Nobody knows for sure what causes pre-eclampsia. One thing that we know is that it is caused by a problem with the inside lining of the blood vessels. This causes the blood vessels to spasm. When the arteries get smaller, the blood pressure increases. The damage also causes the blood vessels to leak causing swelling. It can cause problems with the brain, lungs and kidneys. These changes also can cause lower blood flow to the growing baby.

Transient hypertension

The elevated blood pressure called transient hypertension just happens late in pregnancy. Then after delivery, the blood pressure goes back to normal. But, it probably increases your chances of getting high blood pressure later in life.

Pre-Eclampsia (Pregnancy induced hypertension) is one of the major reasons that you should keep your regular appointments with your family doctor.



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