Counties Manukau Health Birthing and Assessment (B & A)
High Blood Pressure
Every time you have a pregnancy check your blood pressure will be checked. Many women will have low blood pressure most often in early pregnancy and it can make you feel faint. But it is high blood pressure we are checking for.
High blood pressure can:
- be already there before you got pregnant or noticed in early pregnancy - "essential'
- start in pregnancy and usually towards the halfway point or later - 'gestational'
- start in pregnancy like gestational but you also have protein in your urine - 'pre-eclampsia'
- start with essential but then you get pre-eclampsia as well.
Why do midwives and doctors worry about high blood pressure?
High blood pressure can become dangerous for you and for your unborn baby and that is why it is really important to us.
It can cause your baby to:
- grow very slowly
- become unwell because his/her blood supply is not as good as it should be
and you to:
- have headaches, flashing lights in your eyes, swelling
- have a fit (eclamptic seizure)
- need to stay in hospital before and after baby is born
- bleed from the placenta before or after the birth
- need to be on tablets to control the blood pressure.
In rare cases, when the blood pressure is very high, women may have a stroke. Although unusual, we want to stop it happening to any woman and her family.
We want to see you in B & A so we can:
- send blood and urine tests which helps us to know what sort of high blood pressure you have and how bad it is
- check your blood pressure often over a period of time
- check how your baby is doing
- start tablets if you need them.