Hypertension and Pregnancy ...1

Hypertension and Pregnancy ...1



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1...  What is Hypertension?
Blood pressure refers to how hard blood pushes against the artery walls when your heart beats. A certain amount of pressure is necessary for blood to move around your body, but too much pressure can cause serious problems.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), and the measurement has two numbers: The top (systolic) number is the pressure when the heart contracts and pumps blood, and the bottom (diastolic) number is when the heart relaxes and fills with blood. When people talk about blood pressure readings, they say, "120 over 80," for example.
High blood pressure (hypertension) during pregnancy is defined as a reading of 140/90 or higher, even if just one number is elevated. Severe high blood pressure is 160/110 or higher.
Most women with high blood pressure can have a normal pregnancy. But having high blood pressure during pregnancy makes it more likely that you and your baby will have certain complications 
2...  What Are the Effects of High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy?
Although many pregnant women with high blood pressure have healthy babies without serious problems, high blood pressure can be dangerous for both the mother and the fetus. Women with pre-existing, or chronic, high blood pressure are more likely to have certain complications during pregnancy the those with normal blood pressure. However, some women develop high blood pressure while they are pregnant (often called gestational hypertension).
The effects of high blood pressure range from mild to severe. High blood pressure can harm the mother's kidneys and other organs, and it can cause low birth weight and early delivery. In the most serious cases, the mother develops preeclampsia - or "toxemia of pregnancy"--which can threaten the lives of both the mother and the fetus.

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