Clinical Perspectives: New mothers need to know the signs of high blood pressure following childbirth, here's what you need to know:
Written by Medical Contributor: Mathilde Hainaut
March 9, 2020 - In a study recently presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s (SMFM) annual meeting, researchers shared their findings surrounding postpartum hypertension.
Signs of High Blood Pressure following Childbirth Include:
- Blurry vision
- Postpartum hypertension is the development of high blood pressure following childbirth. It can be linked to preexisting hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, or appear with no prior history of hypertension during the postpartum period.
- Findings from a recent SMFM meeting show that 164 women were readmitted after pregnancy with high blood pressure. The majority of the women (64.6%) were readmitted within seven days, and 39% of those women had not been diagnosed with high blood pressure prior to their initial discharge.
- The presence of postpartum preeclampsia in patients with no HDP highlights the need for patient and family counseling on signs and symptoms prior to discharge, regardless of preexisting disease. Further studies are needed to increase access points of care in the postpartum period for evaluation and better risk stratification for those who are at a higher risk of readmission.
- These findings highlight the need for healthcare providers to educate all women, regardless of whether they have a history of high blood pressure, about the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure following childbirth.
- If high blood pressure is left untreated, it can have serious consequences such as strokes, and in some cases, death. Severe symptoms of postpartum hypertension include headaches and visual changes.
- Increasing awareness of postpartum hypertension and its symptoms in all women, not just those at higher risk, has the potential to reduce maternal mortality, which still remains high in the United States.