High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
High blood pressure occurs in 6 to 8 percent of all pregnancies in the United States. Although many women who experience this problem while pregnant have healthy babies without serious problems, it can be dangerous for the mother and the fetus. During pregnancy, high blood pressure may take the form of preeclampsia or eclampsia, chronic hypertension, chronic hypertension with preeclampsia, or gestational hypertension.
Blood pressure (hypertension) is a measure of the pressure inside your blood vessels -- both while the heart is beating and while it is relaxed -- so, of course, high blood pressure occurs when the pressure within your blood vessels is too high. This is also known as hypertension.
Women can develop high blood pressure during pregnancy, as can women who are not pregnant. However, women who are pregnant can develop a couple of different types of high blood pressure and their effects can differ.
Women may experience several different types of high blood pressure during pregnancy. These include:
- Chronic hypertension
- Preeclampsia or eclampsia
- Chronic hypertension with preeclampsia
- Late hypertension (also called gestational hypertension).
Currently, hypertension research scientists do not know the cause or causes of high blood pressure during pregnancy. They do know that the condition can affect blood flow to organs such as the: