Management of High Blood Pressure and Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time for any women, but complications may develop sometimes even in healthy women. Most pregnancy complications can easily be detected and prevented during regular prenatal visits. The two most common complications that arise during pregnancy are high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.

Pregnancy-induced High Blood Pressure

Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), also called preeclampsia, is a pregnancy complication that usually starts after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is one of the main causes of concern in pregnant women as this severe form of hypertension may induce labour very early.

Pregnancy induced hypertension may present as high blood pressure alone or accompanied with other conditions such as protein in the urine, swelling and even convulsions.

The condition can be detected during antenatal visits and should be treated and monitored appropriately. If left untreated, this condition can cause serious problems for both you and your baby. PIH can cause placental abruption (premature detachment of the placenta from the uterus) and seizures in you. Pregnancy-induced hypertension also causes less blood flow to the placenta. Complications in your baby include premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth or growth restriction.

You should watch for signs such as rapid weight gain of 4-5 lbs in a week, severe headache, blurred vision, severe pain in the stomach under the ribs and consult your doctor immediately.

During a routine check-up, your doctor will check your blood pressure, urine levels and may order blood tests that can show if you have preeclampsia.

There are treatment options which include medications, dietary modifications, mild exercise and activity along with sufficient rest. In severe cases, your doctor may want your baby to be delivered.

It is important to remember that hypertension during pregnancy is a serious condition and should be taken care of to prevent further complications.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a condition in which the level of sugar in your blood becomes higher than normal. This condition usually develops in the second trimester and most often returns to normal soon after delivery. High blood sugar levels can affect both you and the development and growth of your baby.

Normally, there will not be any symptoms except for extreme thirst, hunger or tiredness that may be experienced occasionally. The screening test for diabetes is performed in the 28th week of pregnancy. Your doctor checks your blood glucose level using a test called a fasting blood glucose test. Other tests such as screening glucose challenge test and oral glucose tolerance test may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Pregnancy-induced diabetes can usually be controlled by certain dietary changes, regular exercise and frequent blood tests as suggested by your doctor. Some cases might also require the use of insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control.

Poorly controlled or uncontrolled gestational diabetes increases the risk of preeclampsia, preterm delivery, large-sized baby, caesarean section, newborn with low blood sugar, breathing difficulties and jaundice. Even if gestational diabetes goes away after your baby is born, it increases your risk for diabetes later in your life. Therefore, it is important to exercise, eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight after pregnancy.




royal-college-obstetricians-and-gynaecologists royal-australian-and-new-zealand-college-obgyn queens-university-belfast ivf-australia royal-australian-college-medical-adm unsw-sydney