In the previous post, we shared the reality that many women have in pregnancy across the globe. We will continue by looking at complications that can result from a high blood pressure (BP), things that put you at risk, and how you can manage these conditions.
Problems caused by Increased Blood Pressure (BP).
1. For the unborn child:
- Reduced supply of oxygen and nutrient to the fetus. A decrease in blood flow to the placenta happens and will ultimately cause a decrease in nutrient supply to the fetus. This can cause low birth weight and intrauterine growth restriction (decreased growth of fetus in the womb).
- In Preeclampsia, there is reduced flow of blood to the placenta. This causes the placenta to separate from the walls of the uterus prematurely (Placenta Abruption). This causes severe bleeding that can be fatal. Most times in these cases, premature delivery is advised.
2. For the mother
- Poorly controlled high blood pressure causes reduced blood supply to major organs in the body such as the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and other major organs.
- This can cause end organ failure, posing a risk for heart diseases, strokes, kidney failure, visual problems and other complications in the future.
Predisposing Factors – what factors put you at risk for a High BP in pregnancy?
- Advanced maternal age
- Multiple pregnancy
- A woman with preexisting hypertension
- Women with preexisting kidney disease
- Women who have family members that have had a high blood pressure (family history).
Management of High Blood Pressure during Pregnancy :
- Medication: pregnant mothers should always contact their doctors when they need to start or change any medication. A woman with already existing high blood pressure should always consult her doctor when she becomes pregnant. Some medications such as Lisinopril although very effective in managing the blood pressure, is very harmful for the baby. It can cause birth defects.
- Exercise: pregnant women should try to keep fit often. these helps improve blood circulation, which is good for the baby.
- Healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet; especially meals with fruits, and vegetables included, is always encouraged. Avoid eating food with a lot of salt.
- Avoid smoking, use of alcohol and use of illicit drugs: These can have harmful effects on the growing fetus.
Food for thought
Is it okay to consent to delivery of your child premature?
Please do not hesitate to share your personal experiences, we want to hear from you.