The time during pregnancy is full of complications for women and not always enough awareness around crucial aspects of pregnancy is missing from public life. With 8 to 10% pregnant women suffering from preeclampsia in India, a hypertensive disorder related to pregnancy (HDP), hypertension is a significant threat for expecting mothers.
Government reports indicate that over 13% Pune women in the age group of 15 to 49 years are hypertensive, which essentially means 1 out of 8 women in the city is suffering from high blood pressure.
Elaborating upon the threat of hypertension during pregnancy, Dr. Mukta Paul, Consultant, Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Pune says, “Hypertension can cause significant damage to women during pregnancy, regardless whether the patient is suffering from high blood pressure during the gestation period or has a history of chronic hypertension. Some of the common hypertension disorders related to pregnancy include gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and eclampsia, which may lead to disastrous consequences, including risking the lives of the mother and child. Also, surviving mothers are at a higher risk of developing diabetes.”
Usually getting triggered around 20 weeks of pregnancy, the disorder may develop without symptoms. However, rising blood pressure is an indicator, along with severe headaches, changes in vision, nausea and vomiting, liver or kidney related problems, and most importantly, high levels of protein in urine.
The disorder can add more complications for expecting mothers. “The disorder is known to affect arteries which provide blood to placenta. This restricts growth of fetus. The disorder may also lead to pre-term birth, can cause another major complication called HELLP syndrome, damage organs or trigger a stroke, and lead to cardiovascular diseases. Not to forget it leads to eclampsia, which is caused when preeclampsia is not controlled timely. The unfortunate part is that there is no known strategy to prevent preeclampsia. With the extent of potential damage that can be caused by the disorder, the most important preventive measure is to control hypertension in women before and around pregnancy”said Dr. Mukta Paul
The best measures known to control hypertension are to get an active lifestyle and reduce salt intake. The food we eat, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, has enough natural salt that our body needs. One also needs to monitor calories intake. Expecting mothers need to keep a careful check on high blood pressure and should rest well.