Identifying and Managing Gestational Hypertension
Gestational hypertension is diagnosed after taking several readings to find the average blood pressure. To find the average blood pressure, your blood pressure needs to be taken two or more times, and each reading should be from a different day. A woman can be diagnosed with gestational hypertension if she meets the following criteria:
- The average of the two blood pressure numbers is greater than 140/90
- The woman is past her twentieth week of pregnancy
- She did not have high blood pressure prior to pregnancy
- She does not have signs or symptoms of preeclampsia.
Treatment OptionsThe treatment recommended for gestational hypertension will depend on a number of factors, including:
- At what week the gestational hypertension is diagnosed
- Severity of symptoms.
Some treatment options may include:
- Bed rest
- No-salt-added diet
- More frequent prenatal visits
- Early delivery (after 36 weeks).
If a doctor suspects a woman of having gestational hypertension but the blood pressure is not very high, he or she may begin by recommending bed rest for several days. In addition, as part of treatment, the doctor may recommend a no-added-salt diet. If this early treatment is successful in reducing blood pressure, no further treatment may be necessary; however, the continuation of the no-added-salt diet and more frequent prenatal care may be necessary.
For women who do not respond to early treatment, or those with more severe gestational hypertension symptoms, the doctor may recommend a stay in the hospital for a couple of days to see if symptoms improve in a more controlled environment.
For women experiencing more severe gestational hypertension, the doctor may also begin blood pressure medication. For women who are more than 36 weeks pregnant (or those women whose symptoms cannot be controlled), the doctor may recommend delivering the baby.