Why hypertension in pregnancy?

Why hypertension in pregnancy?

A common question among pregnant women about why hypertension in pregnancy occurs? 

Pregnancy hypertension is a condition of high blood pressure, it occurs about 7-10% of all pregnancies.

Pregnancy-induced hypertension has other names like toxemia and preeclampsia.

What is gestational hypertension in pregnancy?

Why hypertension in pregnancy?

Pregnancy-induced hypertension is a condition of high blood pressure during pregnancy, it occurs mostly in young women with a first pregnancy.

Women with type 1 DM are predisposed to gestational hypertension because they slightly elevated blood pressure above normal.

Why gestational hypertension?

The cause of gestational hypertension is not known, but still, there are many risk factors may contribute:

  • Under age of 20 or over age of 40.
  • Overweight or obese.
  • Pre-existing hypertension (high blood pressure before becoming pregnant).
  • Preeclampsia in the previous pregnancy.
  • Expecting multiple babies (twins)
  • Family history of gestational hypertension.
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Kidney disease
  • Autoimmune disorders like systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Had in vitro fertilization.

What are the different forms of gestational hypertension?

Why hypertension in pregnancy?

After we see why gestational hypertension may occur, it’s not always the same as many types vary in severity and effect on the body:

  • Chronic hypertension

High blood pressure presents before pregnancy.

  • Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia

Preeclampsia develops in a woman who has chronic hypertension before pregnancy.

  • Gestational hypertension

High blood pressure that presents in the latter part of pregnancy, but there are no other signs or symptoms of preeclampsia.

Some women will later develop preeclampsia, while others probably have chronic hypertension before pregnancy.

  • Preeclampsia

It’s a severe form of pregnancy-induced hypertension.

It occurs in about 1 to 1,600 pregnancies and develops mostly at the end of pregnancy.

It can impact other organs of the body and can cause seizures.

Why hypertension in pregnancy has a risk?

Because, Gestational hypertension can aggravate into dangerous complications:

  • Preeclampsia

Signs and symptoms of preeclampsia include protein in urine, severe headaches, changes in vision, seizures

Without treatment, preeclampsia can cause serious kidney, liver, and brain damage.

In rare cases, it may lead to HELLP syndrome which is life-threatening:

(H) stands for hemolysis

(EL) elevated liver enzymes

(LP) low platelet count

As RBCs (Red blood cells) are being hemolyzed with the low platelet count, the bleeding won’t stop.

  • Preterm delivery

Even with taking medication, delivery comes early 37 weeks, because, preeclampsia or severe high blood pressure may need to give birth early to avoid problems for her and her baby.

  • Placental abruption

Placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth, and in turn, it will not provide a fetus with nutrients and oxygen.

Also, the mother may experience vaginal bleeding, so this is a medical emergency.

  • Fetal growth restriction

Because, High blood pressure can cause narrowing of blood vessels in the umbilical cord that connects the baby with the placenta.

  • Cesarean delivery

A woman with hypertension is more likely to have a cesarean delivery, because she will be in high risk pregnancy.

How to prevent hypertension in pregnancy?

Why hypertension in pregnancy?

You now know why gestational hypertension could happen so, you might need the following to prevent it:

  • Taking blood pressure medication as prescribed
  • Having early delivery if needed.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet (low-sodium food is mostly recommended).

When to treat hypertension in pregnancy?

It depends on the severity, cause, time of onset, duration and your physician’s opinion.

Therefore, Mothers with gestational hypertension need monitoring regularly, prenatal visits, ultrasounds, taking blood pressure medication.

Also, some tests to ensure the baby’s health as monitoring of fetal heart rate.


  • Gestational hypertension occurs in nearly 7-10% of all pregnancies.
  • There is no specific answer to why gestational hypertension occurs but you should deal with risk factors if you have any of it.
  • It’s important to keep monitoring yourself, check yourself up at the physician.
  • A healthy diet can serve as well in reducing gestational hypertension


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