This topic is about high blood pressure that some women get while they are pregnant. For information about preeclampsia, a more serious kind of high blood pressure, see the topic Preeclampsia.
It's normal for blood pressure to go up and down throughout the day. But if it stays up, you have high blood pressure. Another name for high blood pressure is hypertension.
High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other problems. You and your doctor will talk about your risks of these problems based on your blood pressure.
Your doctor will give you a goal for your blood pressure. Your goal will be based on your health and your age.
Blood pressure during pregnancy
Normally, a woman's blood pressure drops during her second trimester. Then it returns to normal by the end of the pregnancy.
But some women have high blood pressure while they are pregnant. They may have:
Sometimes high blood pressure during pregnancy is a first sign of preeclampsia. This condition can be dangerous for both mother and baby.
Having high blood pressure during pregnancy doesn't mean that you will get preeclampsia. But it does mean that you need to have your blood pressure checked often. And you may need treatment.
If your blood pressure is very high, it could keep your baby from getting enough blood and oxygen. This could limit your baby's growth, or it could cause the placenta to pull away from the uterus too soon. (This is called placenta abruptio.) It also could lead to stillbirth.
High blood pressure usually doesn't cause symptoms. You will probably feel fine, even if your blood pressure is too high.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of very high blood pressure or preeclampsia, such as:
High blood pressure is usually found during a prenatal visit. This is one reason it's so important to go to all of your prenatal checkups.
At each prenatal visit, your doctor, nurse, or midwife will:
If you have high blood pressure while you're pregnant, you will have regular tests to check your baby's health. These may include:
If your doctor thinks you are at high risk for preeclampsia, you may have other tests, including:
You may need to take medicine if your doctor thinks your blood pressure is too high. Medicines used to treat high blood pressure during pregnancy include methyldopa and nifedipine.
Some common blood pressure medicines are not safe during pregnancy. If you take medicine for chronic high blood pressure:
To reduce your risk for preeclampsia, your doctor may recommend that you take low-dose aspirin during the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy.
To help control your blood pressure and have a healthy pregnancy:
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