Women who develop gestational hypertension have increased health risks during pregnancy.
It's vital that your doctor watch and treat this condition to avoid any problems for you or your baby.
Experts at the Magee-Womens Heart Program have the training and resources to care for this and other heart and vascular conditions.
To make an appointment or learn more, call 412-641-8870, option 0.
To request an appointment, contact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute:
Gestational hypertension is high blood pressure that forms during your pregnancy, often in the second or third trimester. It's also known as pregnancy-induced hypertension.
High blood pressure means the force of blood against your arteries is too high.
Normal BP is 120/80 mmHg. Hypertension means your BP is 140/90 mmHg or higher.
This condition can pose health risks for you, like having a stroke. It can also prevent your baby from getting enough oxygen.
In some cases, your doctor may need to induce labor so you can deliver your baby early.
Gestational hypertension happens in about 1 in every 12 to 17 pregnancies.
But you can manage it by staying in contact with your obstetrician. That allows them to check your blood pressure often and take steps to treat your pregnancy-induced hypertension.
There are 3 types of hypertension:
Preeclampsia is the most dangerous type of pregnancy-induced hypertension. It's vital to know it can appear suddenly. And both chronic and gestational hypertension can turn into preeclampsia after week 20 of your pregnancy.
Doctors don't fully know what causes preeclampsia or gestational hypertension.
But chronic high blood pressure is more common if you have the following conditions:
Women who don't have routine check-ups might not know they have high blood pressure until their obstetrician detects it.
There's no definitive test to tell if you will develop pregnancy-induced hypertension or preeclampsia.
But your risk is higher if you:
Make sure your doctor is aware if you have any of these risk factors.
You may need more frequent blood pressure checks in-office, or to use a home blood pressure cuff. This will help catch any problem early.
High blood pressure puts extra stress on your heart and kidneys.
It also limits the amount of blood flow to your baby. That means they'll get less oxygen and fewer nutrients, which affects their growth.
Mildly elevated blood pressure often isn't serious and doesn't cause complications. It's important to watch it though in case it increases suddenly.
If your blood pressure gets very high and doctors don't detect and treat it, it increases your risk of:
Preeclampsia has more serious complications, which can turn deadly.
The best way to prevent gestational hypertension is to manage any risk factors.
The UPMC Postpartum Hypertension Program at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital is western Pennsylvania's only complete and specialized service for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.
The program's cardiologists and maternal-fetal medicine experts have years of experience caring for new mothers. Their combined expertise means you receive the latest research, treatments, and best practices.
But if your blood pressure is very high or you develop preeclampsia, you may have some or all of these symptoms:
Contact your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.
It's not uncommon to have an occasional high blood pressure reading. If one reading is high, they will check it again a few times or over a couple of days to confirm.
Because high blood pressure is an early sign of preeclampsia, they will be extra cautious. Your doctor may also order:
The goals of gestational hypertension treatment are to:
Medicine and lifestyle changes are often effective.
If you need medicine to reduce your blood pressure, your doctor will prescribe a safe option.
They will also ask you to:
If your blood pressure is very high or you get preeclampsia, you may need to stay in the hospital until giving birth.
This allows doctors to watch you and your baby closely. They can also make sure you get any medicines you might need.
If you're at least 34 weeks pregnant, they may discuss delivering your baby early.
Lifestyle changes can also help keep your blood pressure healthy, especially if it's only mildly high.