Gestational hypertension is a condition in which the mother develops high blood pressure at some point in her pregnancy after the baby reaches 20 weeks of gestation. A normal blood pressure is 120/80 and gestational hypertension is defined at 140/90 or greater.

Is Gestational hypertension serious?

Gestational hypertension is serious because it can develop into preeclampsia or eclampsia. We do not know exactly why some women develop preeclampsia, but we know that some may be at more risk than others such as those with chronic health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, but it can happen to anyone.

Signs and symptoms of preeclampsia

While preeclampsia effects 5-8% of pregnancies, it is important that everyone knows the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia to report to your provider because it can be a serious condition that affects you and your unborn baby. It affects the blood flow not only to the baby, but to important organs in your body such as the kidneys and liver.

Signs and symptoms of preeclampsia in pregnancy include:

  • headache
  • blurry vision
  • seeing stars or flashes of light
  • swelling in your hands, face or legs
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea or vomiting.

If you experience these systems, it is important to notify your provider immediately.

Risk Factors for preeclampsia include:

  • a history of preeclampsia
  • being pregnant with multiples
  • having chronic hypertension
  • having type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • having renal disese
  • having autoimmune disease

It is recommended that women at high risk for developing preeclampsia begin taking low-dose aspirin (81 mg/day) after 12 weeks of pregnancy. Disucss these risk factors with your provider to see if you should begin taking low-dose aspirin.

Visit this preeclampsia website for more information.