High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy

Heidi tells us about her experience dealing with high blood pressure in pregnancy.

I was diagnosed with essential hypertension in my late teens and have been medicated ever since with thanks to a long line of women with high blood pressure in my family.

During my first pregnancy 13 years ago I was much younger and less aware of the complications that high blood pressure could cause. My Doctor and Midwife at the time managed my pregnancy well and I had Jack on his due date weighing in at 6lb 14oz. This time around at 37 years of age I was a lot more cautious as I started on my quest for baby number one with husband number two.

A blood pressure specialist appointment was first on our list and invaluable despite a huge hourly rate. My medication was changed to a more pregnancy friendly one and planning ahead allowed my body to adjust to this for months before we started to try for a baby.

We were blessed and conceive within 4 months and so the journey began………

Specialist care had been a no brainer given my high blood pressure and we were fortunate to have the money to allow this, you can’t put a price on peace of mind 24 hours a day 7 days a week and a healthy full term addition to the family, the fact it was a boy to carry on the dying family name was pure good luck I couldn’t pay for!

From my first appointment at 9 weeks through to 36 weeks my pregnancy was text book, I was still on my original pre pregnancy dose of medication and preeclampsia had not reared it’s head, to sum it up one of my specialist said well it’s been a very uneventful pregnancy (apart from the root canal and a tummy bug)

From 36 weeks on my blood pressure rose to new heights, a secondary medication was added, then doubled, then doubled again; they told me I would feel like I was wading through golden syrup, personally I felt like I had Narcolepsy. Visits became much more regular, I was in at the women’s observation ward on a regular basis and an induction was booked for two days before my due date. Preeclampsia was still no where in site; my essential hypertension was keeping everyone on their toes.

To say the least we went from uneventful to every one was keeping a close eye on me. I felt like a spare part, unable to manage an in-depth conversation let alone cook a meal, nana naps were oh so regular and the couch and remote became my friend. I was lucky this was only in the last four weeks as it could have been on the cards from early on in my pregnancy.

There was no action prior to my induction date and as I was still achieving well above average readings it had been suggested that an epidural was on the cards as my body would find it hard to deal with both the contractions and high blood pressure. This was fine with me as I had had an epidural when I had Jack and hey no pain was all good this time too.

As it happened I had an emergency cesarean section which was nothing to do with my high blood pressure, Finn’s cord was wrapped around his neck which presented itself by his heart beat dropping with each contraction.

Specialist care not only monitored my pre existing high blood pressure but when it came to the business end of things they made a quick decision early on in my induction that saved me from hours of labor and a distressed baby, I was relaxed with their decision and didn’t panic at the speed in which it was executed, they are the experts and we had decided that what ever was suggested on the day we would go with.

Finn was 6lb 1oz and his size was possibly the only side effect of my high blood pressure.

We have been home two weeks now and it was encouraging to hear from Lou that she enjoyed having an intelligent conversation with me, although the nana naps are just as regular