How Does High Blood Pressure Impact Pregnancy?

Let’s be honest, pregnancy is a bit of an anxious time. You’re got another person relying on you in the most intense way any of us have ever experienced. This article is not here to add something else onto your plate to worry about, but rather to help explain and bring the latest research into the discussion around an issue that many of us already knew was something to watch out for.

What is High Blood Pressure & How Does It Affect Pregnancy?

High blood pressure during pregnancy or Gestational hypertension is when high blood pressure starts 20 weeks in to a pregnancy and stops shortly after giving birth (Cleveland Cinic, 2022).

Gestational hypertension is one of the top causes of serious complications during pregnancy in South Africa, but it is really hard to know you have unless you get a test (Moodley et al., 2016).

Luckily though, getting your blood pressure tested is not only quick and easy, but it’s also free with Epicentre’s Walk-In Lab.

What Does The Latest Science Say?

A study by Jin et al. (2024) was done to gather the results of 23 studies that looked into high blood pressure during pregnancy. This systematic review and meta analysis found that:

– If you had high blood pressure before or early on in pregnancy, it’s more likely that you’ll suffer from blood pressure issues later in pregnancy, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes mellitus, and potentially serious complications to the baby.

– The findings of this study highlighted the need to monitor blood pressure before, early in pregnancy and in the later stages of pregnancy as issues with blood pressure had a serious impact on both the health of the mother and the unborn child.

What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure Complications During Pregnancy?

Some of the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure complications during pregnancy are (Mayo Clinic, 2020):

– Swelling of the face and hands

– Weight gain due to fluid retention

– A persistent headache

– Changes to your vision, such as seeing spots

– Abdominal pain

– Nausea and vomiting

– Shortness of breath

– Low, or no, urine

How To Prevent High Blood Pressure Before & During Pregnancy

– Visit your doctor regularly and follow their advice (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020).

– Ask your doctor about safe medicines and do not change your medication without their approval (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020).

– Monitor your blood pressure at home and alert your doctor if it is high, or you experience any preeclampsia symptoms (nhlbi, 2022).

– Eat healthy and limit salt. Avoid processed, fast, and canned foods that are high in sodium (Garovic et al., 2022; Mayo Clinic, 2020).

– Exercise moderately every day with your doctor’s permission (Garovic et al., 2022; Mayo Clinic, 2020).

– Reduce stress and practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga (Mayo Clinic, 2020).

Learn More About Our Walk-In Lab

Epicentre has an extensive walk-in testing centre for both rapid and lab tests. Learn more here.

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We offer free and heavily discounted tests as they are subsidized by research organizations that are looking to use this anonymous information to investigate various research questions, like can people test themselves for COVID?

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Only for pensioners at all branches.

Free Blood Pressure Tests

With all Walk-In Lab tests

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R50 pensioners discount!

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