Article Updated June 4, 2018
Hypertension in a pregnant woman is a well-known phenomenon in the scientific community as it affects 5–10% of pregnant women. For 25% of them, they’re in their first pregnancy. It’s the most common pregnancy complication.
In this article:
- What is blood pressure?
- Defining gestational hypertension
- Signs and symptoms of gestational hypertension during pregnancy
- Treatments for gestational hypertension
As I always say to future parents, pregnancy and delivery are like a box of chocolates—you never know what you will get. In fact, despite all the good intentions and behaviours of the future mother, sometimes things don’t go as we expected. This is often the case with a diagnosis of high blood pressure during pregnancy. For your understanding of medical terms, high blood pressure (HBP) during pregnancy is also known as gestational hypertension. Continue reading; I will explain more.
Blood pressure in an adult, in general, should be around 120/80. These two numbers are measured when taking blood pressure using an inflatable band on the arm and a stethoscope placed on the blood vessel inside the elbow to listen to heartbeats. Blood pressure can also be measured using automatic devices that also detect heart sounds.
Blood pressure is the pressure caused by blood flow on the artery walls. The first sound heard by the professional when taking your pressure is the contraction of the heart ventricle that ejects blood into the arteries. We call this first scan “systolic pressure” (the largest number). The last number audible using the stethoscope corresponds to the relaxing and filling of the heart, the “diastolic pressure” (the smaller number).
Normal blood pressure is between 120 mm and 140 mm of mercury for the systolic measure, and 70–90 mm of mercury for the diastolic measure.
People can live perfectly fine with blood pressure lower than 120/80, and others with pressure higher (for short periods) without negative consequences. However, based on each person, high blood pressure can occur at different times in life.
To continue reading this article, go to Defining Gestational Hypertension.