Blood Pressure Home > Pregnancy and High Blood Pressure
The combination of high blood pressure and pregnancy can create unique health risks for both the mother and fetus. For example, high blood pressure can harm the mother's kidneys and other organs, and it can cause low birth weight and force an early delivery. Types of high blood pressure that are only seen in pregnant women include preeclampsia and gestational hypertension.
Blood pressure 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.
Just as with women who are not pregnant, pregnant women can develop high blood pressure. However, pregnancy and high blood pressure can result in forms of hypertension seen only in women who are expecting.
High blood pressure during pregnancy may result in several types of hypertension. These include:
- Preeclampsia or eclampsia
- Late hypertension (also called gestational hypertension)
- Chronic hypertension
- Chronic hypertension with preeclampsia.
Currently, hypertension research scientists do not know the cause or causes of high blood pressure. They do know, however, that pregnancy and high blood pressure can combine to affect blood flow to the: