While many pregnant women with hypertension – or high blood pressure – have healthy babies without major problems, it can lead to serious health complications for both the mother and baby.

The two main types of hypertension are:

  • Chronic hypertension - high blood pressure that was present before a woman becomes pregnant or that occurs in the first half (before 20 weeks) of pregnancy.

  • Gestational hypertension - high blood pressure that first occurs in the second half (after 20 weeks) of pregnancy. Although gestational hypertension usually goes away after childbirth, it may increase the risk of developing hypertension in the future.

The effects of high blood pressure range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Fetal growth restriction—High blood pressure can decrease the flow of nutrients to the baby through the placenta.

  • Preeclampsia— In severe cases, women develop preeclampsia, which is increased blood pressure that affects organ function. This condition is more likely to occur in women with chronic high blood pressure than in women with normal blood pressure.

  • Preterm delivery—If the placenta is not providing enough nutrients and oxygen to your baby, it may be decided that early delivery is better for your baby than allowing the pregnancy to continue.

  • Placental abruption—This condition, in which the placenta prematurely detaches from the wall of the uterus, is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

  • Cesarean delivery—Women with hypertension are more likely to have a cesarean delivery than women with normal blood pressure.

At Jersey City Medical Center, we will regularly monitor your blood pressure during the course of your pregnancy to prevent hypertension related complications.

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