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How do I deal with hypertension during and after pregnancy?

Hypertension causes severe headaches

Q/ Dear doctor, I discovered that I had hypertension when I got pregnant. I was told that I would be okay after giving birth, but it is still disturbing me. Is it possible that I may suffer from this forever or will I be okay after some time? Desire

Dear Desire,
Hypertension during pregnancy can be categorized in different ways, such as:

1) Chronic Hypertension. This is the type that existed before one became pregnant and was worsened by pregnancy. Some mothers would know about it before and even be on anti-hypertensives, whereas others may have undiagnosed chronic hypertension prior to becoming pregnant.
If hypertension is first diagnosed before pregnancy or during the first trimester of the pregnancy, then it is chronic hypertension. This type persists even after delivery through a lifetime.

2) Gestational Hypertension. This type develops during pregnancy, starting after 20 weeks (5 months) of pregnancy.
This occurs without the presence of proteins in urine (a sign of kidney damage). Gestational hypertension usually disappears within 6 weeks following delivery.

3) Pre-eclampsia. This is a type of hypertension that starts after 20 weeks of gestation and is complicated by presence of proteins in urine.
(Negative or positive signs of other organ damage). Pre-eclampsia can worsen to become eclampsia if a mother starts convulsing or getting seizures.
This type is usually a big threat to a mother and the fetus depending on how early it starts. Usually the definitive treatment is delivery or removal of the baby (fetus) if there are risks of organ failure. This is the third cause of maternal deaths in Uganda. This form of hypertension disappears with in 6 weeks of delivery.

Continued follow-ups and taking of antihypertensive will help to suitably manage any kind of hypertension.
However, some people may develop chronic hypertension, kidney or heart complications in the future and will have to stay on medication for the rest of their lives.


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