When someone is pregnant, having high blood pressure (also called hypertension) can cause problems for both them and the baby.

Hypertension and Pregnancy

During pregnancy, if a person has high blood pressure, it can affect the growth of the placenta. The placenta is important because it gives the baby nutrients and oxygen. If the blood pressure is too high, it might make the baby come out too early, be smaller than usual, or cause the placenta to separate too soon, which is called abruption.

As many as 8 out of every 100 moms worldwide have a tough time with high blood pressure during pregnancy, and about 2 out of every 100 continue to have it after giving birth. But if high blood pressure is taken care of the right way, pregnant people with this condition can lower the chances of having these problems. The doctor will also keep a close watch on their health and pregnancy if they have high blood pressure.

Having high blood pressure during pregnancy can also make it harder for both parents to have a baby. For females with high blood pressure, it might be tougher to get pregnant, and there’s a higher chance of losing the pregnancy if the diastolic blood pressure is higher. If someone had high blood pressure even before getting pregnant, it could cause problems with the quality of eggs, making it hard for the egg to stick in the uterus and maybe leading to a miscarriage.

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Hypertension and Fertility

For males with high blood pressure, there could be issues with the amount and movement of sperm. If sperm moves too slowly or not at all, it might be harder to have a baby.

It’s also important to know that high blood pressure can run in families. About 30% to 50% of cases are connected to our genes. So, if someone is thinking about having a baby and high blood pressure runs in their family, it’s important to talk to a doctor. Especially if getting pregnant is proving to be a bit tricky, sharing this family history helps the doctor understand better.

During pregnancy, having high blood pressure can bring extra challenges. But with the right care and by working closely with doctors, the chances of having these problems can be lowered. This makes it more likely for both the parent and the baby to have a healthy and happy time.

Is High Blood Pressure Hereditary?

Between 30% to 50% of hypertension cases have a genetic link. Discussing your family history with your doctor is essential, especially if you are planning to become pregnant and experiencing difficulties conceiving.

High Blood Pressure and Gestation:

During pregnancy, high blood pressure can lead to complications. It can either be a pre-existing chronic condition or a new problem that arises during pregnancy, known as gestational hypertension or preeclampsia. Hypertensive disorders affect 6% to 8% of pregnancies globally, contributing to a significant number of hospital admissions for expecting mothers.


Elevated blood pressure during pregnancy can hinder the placenta’s ability to receive sufficient blood, resulting in a low birth weight. Additionally, complications may include

  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver issues
  • Blood clotting problems
  • Placental abruption (where the placenta separates from the uterus wall),
  • Premature delivery.


The management of high blood pressure during pregnancy depends on the individual’s blood pressure levels. Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, adjusting diet (under healthcare provider guidance), and engaging in safe exercise are recommended. Medications such as Methyldopa, Labetalol, and Procardia (nifedipine) may be prescribed based on the severity of the condition. Regular prenatal visits, ultrasounds, and other tests are often recommended to monitor the baby’s well-being.

Hypertension Symptoms:

Severe hypertension, as seen in conditions like preeclampsia, may exhibit symptoms indicating extreme complications, including

  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired organ function
  • Increased protein in urine
  • Low platelet counts
  • Severe headaches
  • Vision changes.

Recommended Blood Pressure Ranges During Pregnancy:

Some increase in blood pressure is normal due to increased blood volume and pregnancy demands. A normal blood pressure reading is a systolic value less than 120 mmHg and a diastolic value less than 80 mmHg. Treatment is advised if systolic blood pressure is 160 mmHg or higher or diastolic blood pressure is 110 mmHg or higher, with additional considerations for women with other risk factors.

Prevention of Hypertension and Further Risks:

Although there is no clear way to prevent preeclampsia, those at higher risk may be advised to take daily low-dose aspirin starting after 12 weeks of pregnancy. In severe cases, the healthcare provider may recommend delivering the baby based on individual risks and blood pressure impact.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) and Postpartum:

Monitoring blood pressure continues after delivery due to significant fluid level shifts. Eclampsia or preeclampsia can develop up to six weeks postpartum. Complications may extend recovery and, in some cases, lead to chronic hypertension.


Certain blood pressure medications are safe for breastfeeding mothers, while others are avoided due to potential side effects.

  • Labetalol
  • Procardia (nifedipine)
  • Enalapril are suggested alternatives.

High blood pressure and related medications can impact fertility and increase risks during pregnancy. Controlling blood pressure through a combination of lifestyle changes and medical supervision is crucial for a healthier pregnancy. Regular communication with healthcare providers ensures a well-monitored and managed pregnancy journey.

Pregnancy brings significant changes to the body. Whether experiencing high blood pressure for the first time or managing it pre-pregnancy, close monitoring and adherence to medical advice are vital. Any severe symptoms, especially persistent headaches, should be reported to the healthcare provider promptly for appropriate evaluation and care.

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