Inducing labour due to high BP in pregnancy

Inducing labour due to high BP in pregnancy

Inducing labour due to high BP in pregnancy

High BP during pregnancy is also known as gestational hypertension and occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy. If you had high BP before 20 weeks, it is likely that you had it before conception and there is a high probability that you will have it after delivery too.

What is high blood pressure during pregnancy?

Your doctor will regularly monitor your BP during your visits and will diagnose high BP if:

  • Your BP shows a reading of 140/90 or higher in two instances four hours apart
  • The diastolic pressure – the lower number – is 110 or higher than that

Why is high Blood pressure during pregnancy a problem?

High blood pressure during pregnancy is considered bad not just for the mother. But also for the baby. Some of the reasons are stated below.

  • Hampered blood flow to the placenta. When the blood flow to the placenta is hampered, the foetus receives much less oxygen and fewer nutrients than otherwise. The consequence of this is low birth weight, early labour and even respiratory issues in the baby after birth.
  • Placental abruption. High blood pressure during pregnancy increases your risk of placental abruption, where the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus much before delivery. Placental abruption could cause heavy bleeding and damage to the placenta, which could be life-threatening for both you and your baby.
  • Premature delivery. Sometimes, early induction and delivery is needed to prevent potentially life-threatening complications.
  • Future cardiovascular disease. Having high blood pressure during pregnancy increases your risk of heart diseases in the future. The risk is even greater if you suffered the same issue in your earlier pregnancy or if you had a premature birth before. To lessen this risk, try to maintain your ideal weight even after delivery. Adopt a healthy lifestyle and eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, take time out to exercise regularly, and avoid smoking.

When does high BP in pregnancy become a problem?

High BP is common in pregnancy affecting about one in ten pregnant women. High BP is a sign of preeclampsia, a condition that decides how the placenta works. If the placenta doesn’t work as well as it should, then it can affect your baby’s progress in the uterus. In such an event, your doctor will ask you to take a urine test. If the protein level is high in the urine, then the doctor will diagnose you for preeclampsia. If detected early enough, it can be controlled by regularly monitoring you and the baby and you can have a relatively tension free delivery.

It is possible to have a high BP and have a straightforward birth. But higher the BP, lesser the chances of labor occurring naturally. It is more likely that your doctor will offer to induce the labor artificially. This is called induction.

Induction of labour due to high Blood pressure during pregnancy?

The following events are likely to occur during labor once induced:

  • High BP is continuously monitored during labor.
  • If you are taking medication for BP, then you will have to take it continuously during labor.
  • If mums have severe BP during labor, then they will be offered an assisted birth – vacuum pump or forceps.
  • In urgent circumstances, you may be offered a caesarean section.

How is high blood pressure in pregnancy treated?

Depending on how elevated your blood pressure levels are, you will be given blood tests, urine tests and management for the high blood pressure. Blood pressure is not just detrimental for your health; it affects your baby as well for which you will be given frequent scans.

If you had high blood pressure even before you became pregnant, (essential chronic hypertension), your doctor will prescribe pregnancy safe medication to keep your blood pressure under control.

What will happen once my baby is born?

Your blood pressure levels will be monitored on a daily basis for the first two days after your baby is born. It will then be recorded once three days to five days after delivery.

If your blood pressure was was pregnancy induced, it is very likely to return to normal within a few weeks of your baby's birth. However, you must understand that you're more likely to develop high blood pressure when you conceive a second time as well.

In a scenario it does not return to normal, it’s unlikely that you had gestational hypertension. You may have had elevated BP all the time but only just found out about it. It also means that your blood pressure will continue to be high even after your baby is born and you will have to continue taking medication to manage it. Iif you are breastfeeding, there are many medications for high blood pressure that are also safe for your baby.