Question

Hypertension

What causes postpartum hypertension?

A Answers (2)

  • ACharles Neiditz, MD, Internal Medicine, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida

    The most common cause of postpartum hypertension is high blood pressure stemming from gestational hypertension or pre-eclampsia that persists after delivery.

    Pre-eclampsia refers to high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman who previously had normal blood pressure.

    Another cause of postpartum hypertension could be the "shifting" of fluids from the swollen tissues back to the arteries. This excess of fluids in the body's tissues can be a result of hormonal changes that occur in a woman after childbirth, from the administration of IV fluids during delivery, or from pain medication effects.

    All cases of high blood pressure after delivery should be monitored closely so your doctor can determine the appropriate treatment.

  • AFarzanna S. Haffizulla, MD, Internal Medicine, answered on behalf of MDLIVE

    Postpartum hypertension is elevated blood pressure that occurs in women after childbirth. There are many different reasons why this can occur. Some women who were diagnosed with preeclampsia (a condition of losing protein in the urine, severe body/facial swelling and hypertension) during pregnancy will often have higher blood pressure just after delivery which should come back to baseline on its own at up to 12 weeks postpartum. There are a few women that it can last for several months (usually 6 months) before resolving.

    Another cause of postpartum hypertension includes the "shifting" of fluids from the swollen tissues back to the arteries. This extra fluid build-up in the body's tissues can be a result of hormonal changes that occur in a woman after childbirth, from the administration of IV fluids during delivery, or from pain medication effects.

    There is one rare cause that can be a result of an adrenal gland tumor. This tumor may cause hypertension immediately after delivery and blood pressure may have been normal during pregnancy. Blood potassium levels may also be affected if this is a cause.

    All elevated blood pressure that occurs postpartum must be closely followed to determine the correct cause and treatment.

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