When you entered your pregnancy, your blood pressure numbers were just fine, and you were relieved you didn’t have that concern on your already full plate. Then, about halfway through your pregnancy, your blood pressure started rising, and you want to know whether it’s cause for concern and what you should do next.
At Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Fernando Otero and the team are experienced specialists in high-risk obstetrics, and we routinely help women navigate potentially problematic pregnancy conditions like gestational hypertension.
In the following, we explore why we’re going to monitor your pregnancy more closely if you develop gestational hypertension.
What is gestational hypertension?
Gestational hypertension isn’t uncommon and affects about 5% to 10% of pregnancies. Hypertension is high blood pressure, which affects nearly one-half of adults in the United States, which means that a fair number of women enter a pregnancy with higher-than-normal blood pressure.
What makes gestational hypertension stand apart is that the condition is unique to women who had no prepregnancy issues with blood pressure. The blood pressure typically develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy and the reading is usually 140/90 or higher.
Why we’re concerned about gestational hypertension
Under ideal circumstances, your gestational hypertension stays below dangerously high levels (160/110 or higher) and then quickly clears after you give birth. While this is the case for many women, gestational hypertension places you at greater risk for preeclampsia, which is a potentially dangerous condition that affects 1 in 25 pregnancies.
Preeclampsia most often develops in the third trimester, and it can negatively impact all of the organs in your body and even lead to seizures. More concerning still, if the condition turns into eclampsia, it’s a life-threatening medical emergency.
But, we’re getting far ahead of ourselves here and we don’t mean to frighten you unnecessarily. The precursor to preeclampsia is gestational hypertension, so the good news is that we can keep a close eye on your blood pressure and step in at the first sign of trouble.
Typically, if you have gestational hypertension, we want you to come see us for a weekly blood pressure check. We also recommend that you purchase an at-home blood pressure monitor, which you can order online or find at your local pharmacy.
During your weekly checks with us, we may run regular urine tests in addition to checking your blood pressure to monitor for any early signs of preeclampsia.
This extra vigilance in monitoring your gestational hypertension should give you peace of mind knowing that we’re on top of your baby’s and your health.
If you have more questions or concerns about gestational hypertension and your pregnancy, feel free to contact one of our offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to schedule an appointment.