Postpartum Hypertension

Reasons for Postpartum Hypertension


If a woman has just given birth and notices a quick rise in blood pressure, she may have postpartum hypertension. This condition can occur a week after giving birth and other symptoms can also be a clear warning sign of postpartum hypertension. The swelling of ankles, hands and feet and a severe throbbing head ache are all symptoms of this disorder.



There is no absolute medical reason for this condition. So it is difficult to find out what causes this problem. There are only theories as to why it happened.  A complete examination must be done by a doctor to pin point why a patient has postpartum hypertension. Then the proper drugs can be administered. Although this condition usually clears up by itself in a few weeks, some women who have this may experience high blood pressure permanently.  


The causes and reasons for this disease vary. But one reason could be from anxiety. Giving birth is stressful enough but if you have some kind of anxiety disorder it can affect the blood pressure. If the mother is sleep deprived and worried about the new born child it then can cause many difficulties. The mother should be admitted into the hospital and given drugs intravenously until her blood pressure comes down to a normal level. Therapy might also be needed and after the blood pressure has gone down into a normal range, the patient should no longer be affected by postpartum hypertension.


Another theory on why this condition affects mothers is the drugs administered during child birth. If a health care professional notices even the slightest rise in blood pressure, he may have given the mother medicine to lower it. After the birth of a child the doctor may then discontinue the drug. This is sure to cause a rise in blood pressure and the doctor will have to assess what to do next when this situation arises.



Smoking can contribute to a higher blood pressure. While pregnant a woman should refrain from smoking cigarettes. It is a dangerous habit on its own but when you are pregnant it not only is harmful for the mother but it is also harmful to the fetus.  Children who are born to a mother, who smokes, can have a low birth weight and they also predestined to acquire a smoking habit themselves. The cure is an easy one in this situation. If the mother quits smoking the high blood pressure will cease.


Weight also seems to have an affect on blood pressure. Most of the mothers who experience postpartum hypertension are obese. They may be given blood pressure medicine while they are pregnant. But when it is time to give birth, the blood pressure goes to dangerous levels and a cesarean section might have to be performed so that the mother and child are no longer in any danger. While pregnant, it is easy for a mother to gain weight and over eat during the first few months. But all pregnant women can benefit by eating a diet rich with fruits and vegetables and a lower fat content.


Because diet is so important during child birth certain food items should be kept at a minimum. Salty, fatty foods are one of the main reasons for hypertension. Salt retains water with in the body and holds it in. It also can slow down blood flow and make it harder for it to flow freely with in the veins. This causes the swelling of the feet and ankles and very painful headaches can accompany these symptoms. Fatty, greasy foods have the same affect on the body but they also add fat and calories. While a woman is pregnant she should keep these types of foods to a minimum.