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Blood pressureGestational hypertension is sometimes referred to as pregnancy induced hypertension. Gestational hypertension is a condition of high blood pressure during pregnancy. High blood pressure in pregnancy can lead to a couple different things. A serious condition called preeclampsia can arise, or it may even cause less blood flow to the placenta. Less blood flow results in the fetus receiving less oxygen and nutrients it needs to continue the proper growth of the fetus. There are several different types of hypertension during pregnancy; they are chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, and preeclampsia. Chronic hypertension is when women have high blood pressure before pregnancy, early in pregnancy, or carry it on after delivery. Gestational hypertension is when high blood pressure develops after 20 weeks gestation and goes away after delivery. The last is preeclampsia which both chronic and gestational hypertension can lead to this serious condition after 20 weeks gestation. The symptoms of preeclampsia include high blood pressure, protein in the urine, headaches, and vision problems; this can lead to serious complications for both mom and baby if not treated quickly. Visit our preeclampsia page on our website for more information.

Who is at risk for hypertension?

  • A woman with a family history of hypertension
  • First time moms
  • Women carrying multiple babies
  • Women younger than age 20 and older than age 40
  • Women who have hypertension or kidney disease prior to pregnancy
  • Women who are obese

How would you know if you have hypertension?

At each prenatal visit, you will have your blood pressure and urine checked, and any other blood tests that would need to be performed to screen for hypertension.

How is hypertension treated?

The treatment that you receive depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy and the severity of your hypertension. If you have severe hypertension, your physician might put you on blood pressure medication until you deliver to try and bring your blood pressure down. If you are close to your due date, and your baby is developed enough, your physician might want to have you deliver sooner. If you are further from your due date and your baby is not fully developed they recommend that you:

  • Increase your prenatal visits
  • Rest, lying on your left side to take the weight of the baby off the major blood vessels
  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day
  • Decrease your salt intake

How can you prevent hypertension?

  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
  • Get enough rest
  • Increase the amount of protein you take in and decrease the amount of fried and junk food you eat.
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid beverages that contain caffeine
  • Elevate your feet several times during the day
  • Your doctor might prescribe medication or supplements for you to take