Advertisement
Advertisement

What causes postpartum hypertension?

Pregnancy causes many changes within a woman's body, and one of those can be hypertension, says Ali Rahimi, MD, from MountainView Hospital. Learn how and why it happens by watching this video.
What Causes Postpartum Hypertension?
Farzanna S. Haffizulla, MD
Allergy

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.

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.

Continue Learning about Hypertension

Hypertension

Hypertension

Clinically known as hypertension, high blood pressure can cause a host of problems if left untreated. The most common type of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure causes our hearts to work harder by forcing blood to push ag...

ainst the walls of our arteries at an elevated level. Hypertension is the leading cause of strokes and heart attack. It also increases your risk of having heart and kidney failure and hardening of the arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis.
More

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.