High blood pressure (hypertension) is a heart complication arising from excess blood pressure against the arteries. When a heart beats, it pumps blood through the arteries, transferring oxygen and nutrients around your body. Normal blood pressure should be less than 120/80mmHg. Anything consistently more than that risks severe complications.
Excessive fats deposited along your arteries narrow the size of the blood vessels, allowing less blood to flow through. As a result, the heart is forced to pump harder for the blood to reach the furthest part of the body. If left untreated over a long period, this might cause life-threatening conditions. Hypertension is particularly dangerous for pregnant mothers as they have to support two lives.
High Blood Pressure in Pregnant Women
Most women risk getting HBP during their pregnancy. It can come before, during, or after childbirth. As the fetus grows in the mother’s womb, the mother’s heart is required to pump more blood than normal. This places more strain on the heart muscle and can lead to the development of a disorder called pre-eclampsia, which happens during or a few days after childbirth.
Biologically, a woman’s body makes more blood to support the growth of the fetus. HBP puts extra stress on the mother’s body, which can hamper the effectiveness of the heart and the kidneys. If not controlled in time, the mother risks heart disease, stroke, or kidney disease. Unfortunately, many women do not observe preventive measures, which leads to increased cases of hypertension among pregnant women.
Managing Blood Pressure Disorders
The best way to handle blood pressure is by understanding the root cause. Narrow arteries are a long-term cause of HBP, which we can observe to manage the disease. Since most causes result from lifestyle choices, women can control them by avoiding such activities. Some cases, especially pre-pregnancy HBP, can be handled by maintaining the prescribed lifestyle, however medication is also available if this is not possible.
Pregnant women undergo a rapid body transformation to accommodate a fetus. As much as the body produces enough blood to support the mother and fetus, her body condition should be optimal to avoid hypertension or any other heart disorders.
Causes of High Blood Pressure in Pregnant Women
Women over 35 years are at increased risk of getting hypertension. If not managed effectively, it can lead to pre-eclampsia.
When women get pregnant for the first time, the body learns to respond to fetal growth. As a result, they need the best environment and activities to normalise blood pressure. If not observed, they risk hypertension.
Obesity or Excess Weight
Obesity leads to excessive fat deposits in the body, especially along blood vessels. This narrows the size of the arteries, which strains the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body. If the woman becomes pregnant under such circumstances, blood pressure strains the heart, often leading to acute hypertension according to studies.
HBP History among Family Members
A hypertension history in your family can also increase the risk of blood pressure disorders.
Lack of Physical Exercise
A pregnant woman’s body needs exercise to keep up with rapid growth. If not done well, it can lead to fat deposits on the arteries, which is the main cause of hypertension.
Smoking and drinking alcohol
Pregnant women who drink alcohol and smoke risk getting hypertension, among many other adverse health outcomes.
Carrying more than one child
The body’s response to more than one baby causes rapid blood production. Therefore, if not well managed, it might cause HBP.
Pregnant women require a special diet to aid in proper body growth. Eating an unbalanced diet, especially fatty foods, can cause rapid fat deposits along blood vessels. Coupled with the high blood production rate, the mother risks getting hypertension.
Other causes of pregnancy-related hypertension include in vitro fertilisation, stress, a diet with high sodium levels, and underlying conditions such as diabetes.