For pregnant women, blood pressure checks are key

For pregnant women, blood pressure checks are key

Monitoring the health of pregnant women is essential for mom and baby’s wellness. That’s why experts recommend blood pressure monitoring be a constant throughout pregnancy.

Blood pressure screening can help identify hypertensive disorders of pregnancy like gestational hypertension, eclampsia [uh-klamp-see-uh] and preeclampsia [pree-uh-klamp-see-uh].

Any hypertensive disorders of pregnancy have the potential to be deadly, but preeclampsia is of particular concern. This serious condition develops most often in the third trimester but can present after 20 weeks. The progressive disorder can impact every organ in the body and contribute to strokes or seizures.

Data show that the groups most at risk for hypertensive disorders in pregnancy include Native American, Alaska Native and Black women. Women ages 45 to 55 and women in low-income households are also at greater risk.

These disorders can also lead to underweight and premature babies.

General blood pressure checks are standard during prenatal doctor visits. Yet hypertensive disorders of pregnancy — which have no cure — have continued to rise in recent years. That’s why there is a renewed emphasis on using blood pressure screenings to identify these disorders.

Screening, prompt diagnosis, surveillance and timely delivery are currently seen as the best path to avoid pregnancy complications. Experts also recommend low-dose aspirin for women at high risk for preeclampsia.

While planning for your child’s arrival, maybe add an at-home blood pressure gauge to your baby shower wishlist. And use it frequently.

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