High blood pressure after pregnancy in medical terms is called postpartum preeclampsia. This condition occurs when a woman has high blood pressure and excess protein in her urine after giving birth. Postpartum preeclampsia is dangerous for both the mother and the fetus, so this condition requires immediate medical attention.
Overview of postpartum hypertension or postpartum preeclampsia
So far, most people think that preeclampsia can only occur during pregnancy or before childbirth. Though not so. The reason is, some people may experience this condition after the labor process.
Most cases of postpartum preeclampsia develop within 48 hours after baby birth. In some cases, symptoms of hypertension can sometimes develop up to six weeks after delivery.
Postpartum preeclampsia is usually characterized by symptoms similar to preeclampsia during pregnancy, such as:
- Blood pressure rises to 140/90 mmHg or more
- Frequent headaches
- The sight blurred
- Upper abdominal pain (usually under the ribs on the right side)
- Get tired quickly
- Pain in muscles or joints
- Swelling, especially of the legs
- Urinating less frequently
- Weight gain suddenly
Preeclampsia after childbirth is a rare condition. However, if you develop high blood pressure or hypertension after giving birth, you need immediate medical treatment. The reason is if not treated immediately, this can lead to seizures and serious complications after childbirth.
Causes and risk factors High Blood Pressure after Pregnancy
The Preeclampsia Foundation said, until now, the cause of hypertension or preeclampsia after childbirth is not certain. This hypertension may begin during pregnancy, but do not show signs or symptoms until the baby is born.
However, based on limited research shows that the risk factors for preeclampsia after delivery include:
- Have hypertension.
If before pregnancy you already had high blood pressure or you had high blood pressure after 20 weeks of pregnancy (gestational hypertension).
The risk of preeclampsia after childbirth is higher if you are obese or overweight.
- Family history.
If your parents or siblings have a history of preeclampsia, you will be at high risk of developing this condition as well.
Women who are under the age of 20 or over 40 are more at risk of developing preeclampsia.
- Multiple pregnancy.
Having been pregnant with twins, triplets, or more will also increase your risk of developing preeclampsia.
In addition to the risk factors above, reported by the Mayo Clinic page, recent studies have shown that father genes also play a role in an increased risk of preeclampsia.
Complications to watch out for.
If not treated immediately, postpartum hypertension can cause serious health complications. Here are some issues you need to be aware of.
- Eclampsia after childbirth. Eclampsia after delivery is basically preeclampsia after childbirth coupled with seizures. This condition can permanently damage vital organs, including your brain, liver and kidneys. If not treated promptly, this condition can also lead to coma and even death.
- Pulmonary edema. This life-threatening lung condition occurs when excess fluid develops in the lungs.
- Stroke. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is cut off or reduced. This condition is a medical emergency.
- HELLP syndrome. HELLP syndrome (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzimes and Low Platelet Count) or hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count. HELLP syndrome, together with preeclampsia, results in many maternal deaths related to hypertension.
- Like preeclampsia, preeclampsia after childbirth can also increase the risk of heart disease in the future.
How to deal with High Blood Pressure after Pregnancy.
If you recently given birth and feel the symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia, the doctor will usually ask you to stay in the hospital and do some tests to confirm your condition.
Usually tests are blood tests to find out if your liver and kidneys are functioning properly and if you have a suitable platelet count as well as a urine test to see if your urine contains protein.
If it is confirmed that you have hypertension after giving birth, the doctor will usually give you some preeclampsia drugs to treat it. Here are some possible treatments:
- Medicines to lower blood pressure.
- Medicines to prevent seizures, such as magnesium sulfate. Magnesium sulfate is usually taken for 24 hours after symptoms are felt. The doctor will monitor blood pressure, urination, and other symptoms after this medicine is consumed.
- Anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners) to reduce the risk of blood clots.
- These medicines are generally safe to take if you are breastfeeding your baby. However, if you are not sure, ask and consult your doctor.
Home handling When You Had High Blood Pressure After Giving Birth
Generally, a woman experiences several bodily changes after childbirth that make her uncomfortable also make emotions fluctuate. You may experience sleep deprivation, postpartum depression, or focus more on your baby, so you sometimes ignore the postpartum preeclampsia symptoms that may occur.
To overcome this, ask for the support and help of other people around you, especially your husband, to recognize the symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia, as well as help you fulfill the role of a new parent.
If you feel the symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia when you are at home, ask the closest person for help to take you to the hospital immediately. At the hospital, the doctor will provide the right medical treatment for you.
After your condition slowly begins to stabilize, ask your doctor what you should be aware of and do if the same hypertension symptoms return once you are home. You may also be wondering whether you can breastfeed your baby immediately after this condition has passed.
You may interested, Watery Breast Milk, Cause and Tips
How to threat high blood pressure or hypertension after childbirth
Having hypertension after giving birth certainly makes you stressed. Instead of focusing on your baby, you have to go back to the hospital to recover your condition.
Therefore, postpartum preeclampsia must be prevented, whether you have a previous history of hypertension or not. Here are some things you can do to prevent hypertension after giving birth:
- Check blood pressure regularly during pregnancy and after delivery.
- Maintain weight during pregnancy.
- Pay attention to food intake by adopting a healthy and nutritionally balanced diet, so that all your vitamin and nutrient needs during pregnancy are met.
Last word from us, congratulation for being new mother and father. Your next journey will be start after this. Please always take care each other. Having high blood pressure after pregnancy is easy to heal if each other always support. While happy and gratitude feeling is the most good healer after all.