What is Gestational Hypertension vs Pre-eclampsia?
Gestational hypertension is when you have elevated blood pressure during your pregnancy. Preeclampsia is a life-threatening condition affecting some pregnant woman that includes high blood pressure, protein in your urine, and excessive swelling. If left untreated, it can be extremely harmful to both mom and baby!
What are the symptoms of Gestational Hypertension?
Here are some of the symptoms which you should be aware of:
- eye changes
These are symptoms of that you might experience if you have high blood pressure.
What are the symptoms of Preeclampsia?
These symptoms of preeclampsia will also mirror that of gestational hypertension, but with more severity:
- Severe headaches
- eye changes (sparks of light, blurred vision)
- excessive swelling that happens suddenly
- protein in your urine
- high blood pressure
- unexplained vomiting in thrid trimester
The reason why these symptoms are more severe is because preeclampsia affects vital organs like your liver and kidneys. When your kidneys stop functioning properly, it’s what will cause your extreme swelling.
If your liver is affected, you might get a tinge of yellow about your skin called jaundice.
Preeclampsia & HELLP
When preeclampsia gets bad, it can lead to HELLP syndrom. HELLP stands for hemolysis (red blood cell destruction), elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets.
HELLP can end up being life-threatening to both mom and baby because your organs will start to shut down. It also puts you at risk for a stroke.
That’s why your doctor will want to work fast when they diagnose you with preeclampsia.
How do they treat Gestational Hypertension & Preeclampsia?
Treatment for Gestational Hypertension will include more frequent visits to monitor your blood pressure, and urine for any signs of protein. You may have to do 24 hour pee tests. If you developed it early in your pregnancy, your doctor might talk with you about starting a regimen of low dose blood pressure medication.
The only treatment for preeclampsia is to deliver your baby right away via c-section. If you aren’t yet to term (37 weeks+) then they will give you a steroid injection to help your baby’s lungs develope. Depending on the severity of your preeclampsia, they may also have to give you medicine to help with swelling, and you may require a blood transfusion.
My Story of Gestational Hypertension & Preeclampsia
In my third trimester, I was diagnosed with gestational hypertension. It led to many extra visits, and 24 hour pee tests. Eventually, my protein in my urine starting getting to the point of preeclampsia, and my blood pressure kept rising.
My doctor moved up my planned c-section, and my son was born at 37 weeks! After a 2 week stay in the NICU, we were able to bring our little NICU warrior home.
If you are concerned by any symptoms you might be experiencing, it’s always important to talk to your doctor. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to your health and your unborn baby’s.
Wishing you a safe rest of your pregnancy!