The ONE organ responsible for high blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy and Risk Factors
High Blood Pressure During PregnancyYour doctor or nurse should look for these conditions before, during, and after pregnancy.
What causes high blood pressure during pregnancy?There are several possible causes of high blood pressure during pregnancy. These include:
- being overweight or obese
- not getting enough physical activity
- drinking alcohol
- first-time pregnancy
- a family history of pregnancy-related hypertension
- carrying more than one child
- age (over 35)
- assistive reproductive technology (such as in vitro fertilization, or IVF)
- having diabetes or certain autoimmune diseases
Risk factors for high blood pressure during pregnancyThere are a few risk factors that could make high blood pressure more likely during pregnancy.
LifestyleUnhealthy lifestyle choices may lead to high blood pressure during pregnancy. Being overweight or obese, or not staying active are major risk factors for high blood pressure.
Type of pregnancyWomen experiencing their first pregnancy are more likely to have high blood pressure. Fortunately, there’s a lower chance of this condition in subsequent pregnancies. Carrying multiples can make it more likely for a woman to develop hypertension, because the body is working harder to nourish more than one baby. According to the American Society for Reproductive MedicineTrusted Source, using assistive technologies (such as IVF) during the conception process can increase chances of high blood pressure in a pregnant woman.
AgeAge can also be a factor. Pregnant women over the age of 35 are at higher risk. Women who had high blood pressure before pregnancy are at higher risk for related complications during pregnancy than those with normal blood pressure.
Chronic HypertensionChronic hypertension means having high blood pressure before you get pregnant or before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Women who have chronic hypertension can also get preeclampsia in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.
Gestational HypertensionThis condition happens when you only have high blood pressure* during pregnancy and do not have protein in your urine or other heart or kidney problems. It is typically diagnosed after 20 weeks of pregnancy or close to delivery. Gestational hypertension usually goes away after you give birth. However, some women with gestational hypertension have a higher risk of developing chronic hypertension in the future.
Preeclampsia/EclampsiaPreeclampsia happens when a woman who previously had normal blood pressure suddenly develops high blood pressure* and protein in her urine or other problems after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Women who have chronic hypertension can also get preeclampsia. Preeclampsia happens in about 1 in 25 pregnancies in the United States. Some women with preeclampsia can develop seizures. This is called eclampsia, which is a medical emergency. Symptoms of preeclampsia include:
- A headache that will not go away
- Changes in vision, including blurry vision, seeing spots, or having changes in eyesight
- Pain in the upper stomach area
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swelling of the face or hands
- Sudden weight gain
- Trouble breathing
- This is the first time you have given birth.
- You had preeclampsia during a previous pregnancy.
- You have chronic (long-term) high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, or both.
- You have a history of thrombophilia (a condition that increases risk of blood clots).
- You are pregnant with multiple babies (such as twins or triplets).
- You became pregnant using in vitro fertilization.
- You have a family history of preeclampsia.
- You have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
- You have obesity.
- You have lupus (an autoimmune disease).
- You are older than 40.