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Pregnancy Problems

During pregnancy, your health is number one priority. That’s why we went straight to top pregnancy health experts for all the details you want to know about the most common pregnancy problems. In our pregnancy problems guide, you can read about a slew of pregnancy conditions – everything from hemorrhoids to gestational diabetes. Find out what any pregnancy symptom could possibly mean (are you swollen just because you’re expecting, or is it a sign of some complication?) and find out whether or not it’s worth a call to your OB. If you already know you’ve got a pregnancy complication or health condition, our comprehensive articles will give you the scoop on its causes and how it can affect you and baby. Plus, get treatment tips straight from medical experts and pregnant women like you. Yup, we've got answers to all your questions about pregnancy health problems right here!

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Hypertension During Pregnancy

Do you have high blood pressure? Here's the info you need to keep you and baby healthy throughout your pregnancy.

What is hypertension?

High blood pressure is also known as hypertension (or gestational hypertension, if you developed it during pregnancy). It's usually defined as a top (systolic) BP reading of more than 140 mm Hg or a bottom (diastolic) reading of more than 90 mm Hg.

What are the signs of hypertension?

You may have no signs, other than an elevated blood pressure reading when your doc takes it at a prenatal appointment. Some moms-to-be with high blood pressure also experience headaches or nosebleeds.

Are there any tests for hypertension?

Yes, you’ll probably have your blood pressure checked at your usual prenatal visits.

How common is hypertension during pregnancy?

High blood pressure occurs in about 6 to 8 percent of all pregnancies in the US.

How did I get hypertension?

There’s sometimes no explanation for why a mom-to-be gets high blood pressure, but genetics, diet and lifestyle could be factors.

How will my hypertension affect my baby?

Hypertension puts baby at a greater risk for low birth weight, preterm delivery and placental abruption.

What’s the best way to treat hypertension during pregnancy?

Sounds scary, and yes, in some cases it can be dangerous, but often a woman who develops high blood pressure during pregnancy just needs to be more closely monitored. That’s not just because high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, heart failure or kidney disease. It’s because in some cases, it may also be a sign of other complications during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome.

You may be given certain medications to minimize your risk of kidney or other organ damage and your baby’s risk of a low birth weight or preterm delivery. Your urine will likely be routinely checked for heightened levels of protein (a sign of kidney problems), which can mean you’ve developed preeclampsia -- which usually leads to an early delivery.

-- Michele Hakakha, MD, obstetrician and gynecologist in private practice in Beverly Hills, California


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