July 25, 2023

Hypertension During Pregnancy

Hypertension (high blood pressure) during pregnancy can pose serious health risks to the growing fetus as well as the mother. Depending on what type of hypertension you have, you may need to transfer care to an OBGYN to be monitored and potentially induced. 

In this blog post, you’ll learn about the types of hypertension, health risks, as well as what you can do to take care of yourself and your baby.

Types of Hypertension

High blood pressure is anything over 130/80. Please refer to the table on the right to determine your blood pressure level. Contact your midwife if you have elevated or high blood pressure and let them know of your blood pressure level and continue to monitor. 

Chronic Hypertension

Women that develop high blood pressure before 20 weeks of pregnancy, including prior to conception, have chronic hypertension. When chronic hypertension worsens during pregnancy it is called Chronic Hypertension with Superimposed Preeclampsia which may lead to proteins in the mother’s urine or other complications. 

Gestational Hypertension

Gestational Hypertension is classified as high blood pressure developing after the 20th week. This type of hypertension does not have proteins found in the urine and no signs of organ damage but has the potential to develop into preeclampsia and should be closely monitored. 


Preeclampsia can cause proteins in the urine and organ damage which can potentially be fatal and lead to seizures (eclampsia) if left untreated. 

High blood pressure often has no symptoms, making it difficult to notice without a blood pressure monitor. Preeclampsia, however, does have a few symptoms that you should look out for such as: 

  • Severe headaches 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Changes in vision
  • Sudden swelling in the face, hands, or feet

If you experience any of these symptoms, mention it to your midwives to ensure the ongoing safety of yourself and your baby. If you are diagnosed with preeclampsia, the midwives will transfer your care to an OBGYN, and you may need to be induced. 

Health Risks

High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause decreased blood flow to the placenta resulting in restricted growth of the baby. In that case, it may be necessary to induce labor so your baby can continue growing outside of the womb. Hypertension can also cause organ damage to the liver, brain, kidneys as well as placental abruption. Severe placental abruption can lead to heavy bleeding and poses a serious risk to both the mother and the baby. 

How to Reduce Risks

During each prenatal check-up, your midwives will check your blood pressure and, later in pregnancy, will collect urine samples to test for proteins. You can also buy an at-home blood pressure monitor to track your blood pressure. This is especially helpful for patients whose blood pressure spikes during appointments, also known as White Coat Syndrome. Be sure to make notes about the date, time, and the results to show to the midwives. 

Stay active, eat nutritious food, get enough sleep, and if you are prescribed medication to help control blood pressure, make sure to take your medicine as directed. Mindfulness and meditation can help in more ways than one, but in the case of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia, the high blood pressure will not go away until you have given birth and may still need to be monitored for a short time after birth. 

If you want to learn more about hypertension and preeclampsia, contact our midwives today!

Dakota Collins
Dakota Collins is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother of two precious little girls who is passionate about freedom in pregnancy and childbirth.
Ogden address
5319 South 500 East
Suite C
Ogden, UT 84405
Layton address
1660 W Antelope Dr.
Suite 205
Layton, UT, 84041.
Monday: Layton 9 am – 2 pm Tuesday: Ogden 9 am – 5 pm Wednesday: Layton 9 am – 5 pm Thursday: Layton 9 am – 5 pm  
Friday: Ogden 12 pm – 4 pm
schedule a tour & consultation
Let's discuss what you are looking for with your birth. Our goal is to help you have the information to help you have a better idea of what you'd like to do moving forward.
Thank you! Your message has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.