Advertisement

What causes postpartum hypertension?

Farzanna S. Haffizulla, MD
Internal Medicine

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.

Continue Learning about Hypertension

How Are Weight and Blood Pressure Related?
How Are Weight and Blood Pressure Related?
What Other Health Issues Are Associated with Erectile Dysfunction?
What Other Health Issues Are Associated with Erectile Dysfunction?
Why Are We Seeing More Chronic Illness at Younger Ages?
Why Are We Seeing More Chronic Illness at Younger Ages?
Heart Disease In the United States
Heart Disease In the United States

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.