Pregnancy: Week 25 - High Blood Pressure
Host: Dr. Jill Mauldin - Obstetrics-Gynecology, MUSC
Dr. Mauldin: Hello. This is Dr. Mauldin. You’re now 25 weeks pregnant, and you’ll be entering your third trimester this week. Your baby now weighs just over a pound. He or she is able to respond by moving, and his/her heart rate will also increase as he/she moves. Some patients will occasionally notice a string of jerking motions if their baby, briefly, has the hiccups. And, beginning now, some babies can survive if they’re delivered.
During pregnancy, high blood pressure can cause some additional problems for both you and your baby. For example, high blood pressure may cause less blood to go to the placenta. This means that the baby would get less oxygen and nutrients, and the baby’s growth could slow down as well.
If you’re taking medicine to control your blood pressure, ask your doctor if it’s safe to use during pregnancy. Some women may be able to stop their medication, while others will need to continue taking it. In some cases, a woman may need to switch to a different medication altogether.
Some women may develop high blood pressure during the second half of their pregnancy. This is called gestational hypertension. This type of high blood pressure goes away soon after the baby is born. When it occurs that you have excess protein in your urine, the condition is called preeclampsia. You’re screened for gestational hypertension and preeclampsia every prenatal visit by checking your blood pressure, and checking your urine for protein. Preeclampsia can be very serious. In most cases, women with preeclampsia are hospitalized until delivery. And sometimes, a baby must be delivered prematurely to protect your health and your baby’s health.
So, what can you do? See your doctor regularly so that changes in your blood pressure can be found when they occur. And if you have chronic high blood pressure, tell your doctor early in pregnancy, so you can be followed more closely.
Stay healthy and I’ll talk to you in a week.