High Blood Pressure After Cesarean Section: Causes and Treatment Methods

Postpartum high blood pressure after Cesarean delivery is a relatively less discussed topic. However, it can pose risks to the mother if not controlled and treated promptly. So, what are the causes and signs that lead to high blood pressure in postpartum women? How can this condition be effectively treated and prevented? In this article, let’s explore this issue together.

What is High Blood Pressure After Cesarean Section?

Postpartum high blood pressure, also known as postpartum hypertension, is a relatively rare condition that is not widely talked about. This phenomenon occurs when a woman experiences elevated blood pressure and has an increased amount of protein in her urine within 48 hours after giving birth through Cesarean delivery. The condition is related to the development of preeclampsia during the last three months of pregnancy.

Postpartum high blood pressure can be quite dangerous if not properly managed and treated. It can lead to complications such as seizures, stroke, and other unpredictable health issues. Therefore, it is crucial for postpartum women to pay attention to their health and promptly seek medical attention and intervention.

Causes of postpartum high blood pressure in women

Throughout pregnancy and postpartum, a woman’s body undergoes constant changes. Failure to follow a scientifically balanced diet, lifestyle, and proper rest can lead to elevated blood pressure. Below are some reasons for high blood pressure in women after giving birth:

  • Giving birth before the age of 20 or after 40.
  • Carrying twins or multiples.
  • Nutritional deficiencies and inadequate nutrient intake during pregnancy.
  • Unusual weather changes and low humidity.
  • Experiencing frequent pressure, tension, and stress.
  • Lack of sleep or prolonged sleep deprivation.
  • Engaging in strenuous activities before delivery.
  • History of preeclampsia in previous childbirths.
  • Having a history of diabetes, liver or kidney problems.
  • Receiving intravenous fluids during labor.
  • Using pain relief measures during childbirth.
  • Having an adrenal gland disorder.

Signs of postpartum high blood pressure

The symptoms of postpartum hypertension are not easily detectable as they are common and similar to other common illnesses. This can lead to less attention and subjectivity in seeking medical examination and treatment.

Here are some typical signs indicating high blood pressure after Cesarean delivery:

  • Blood pressure readings of 140/90 mmHg or higher.
  • Excessive protein in the urine.
  • Decreased frequency and volume of urine.
  • Experiencing moderate to severe headaches.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.
  • Sudden weight gain in the postpartum woman.
  • Pain in the upper abdomen and right lower rib area.
  • Impaired vision, light sensitivity, or temporary vision loss.
Fatigue and nausea are signs that indicate you have high blood pressure after childbirth.

Fatigue and nausea are signs that indicate you have high blood pressure after childbirth.

If you notice any of these signs, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention at a hospital for examination and treatment by healthcare professionals.

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Risk factors for postpartum high blood pressure

Not all postpartum women are at risk of developing high blood pressure. The following are common risk factors that you should be aware of:

  • Women who experienced high blood pressure during their recent pregnancy. They are at risk of developing pregnancy-induced hypertension and postpartum high blood pressure.
  • Overweight or obese women.
  • Women carrying twins or even multiples.
  • Women with pre-existing chronic hypertension.
  • Women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Is postpartum high blood pressure dangerous?

Obstetricians state that if a woman’s blood pressure does not return to normal after 3 months postpartum, she is diagnosed with postpartum high blood pressure.

Postpartum women with elevated blood pressure, if not detected and treated appropriately, may experience extremely dangerous complications, including:

  • Postpartum eclampsia
  • Left ventricular hypertrophy
  • Left ventricular dilation
  • Macular pathology
  • Heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Cerebrovascular accident (stroke)
  • Proteinuria
  • Renal failure
  • Acute pulmonary edema
  • Thrombotic occlusion
  • Hemolysis and decreased platelet count
  • Elevated liver enzymes
  • Stroke
Women can experience complications such as heart failure caused by high blood pressure.

Women can experience complications such as heart failure caused by high blood pressure.

Effective Treatment of Postpartum High Blood Pressure

To effectively treat postpartum high blood pressure, doctors may prescribe specific medications, including:

  • Calcium Channel Blockers: The most commonly used medication in this category is Nifedipine, which inhibits calcium and helps control blood pressure. It is safe for postpartum women, does not affect milk quality, and does not have adverse effects on the heart, although it may cause more headaches.
  • Beta-Blockers: Some medications in this group include atenolol, propranolol, metoprolol, labetalol, etc. However, beta-blockers may worsen asthma and heart failure.
  • ACE Inhibitors: Some medications in this group are prescribed for postpartum women, including captopril and enalapril.
  • Anticonvulsant Medication: The most common one is Magnesium sulfate, which helps prevent seizures in women with postpartum high blood pressure. This medication is used within the first 24 hours after childbirth and is closely monitored by a specialized doctor during its usage.

However, during the use of these medications, postpartum women may experience some side effects such as slow heart rate, hand tremors, chest tightness, headaches, swollen hands, dry mouth, flushing, nosebleeds, depression, and low blood pressure upon position changes.

Therefore, the use of medications to treat postpartum high blood pressure should only be done under the supervision, prescription, and monitoring of a doctor. Patients must never self-medicate to avoid harm to their health and the quality of breast milk for the baby.

Preventing Postpartum High Blood Pressure

Currently, it is still uncertain whether postpartum high blood pressure can be completely prevented or not. However, obstetricians still advise paying attention to the following issues:

  • Balanced and Healthy Diet:
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During the third trimester of pregnancy, women should supplement their diet with 300-500 kilocalories per day. While breastfeeding, mothers will need an additional 500 kcal/day compared to pregnancy. Daily nutrition should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and avoid stimulants like alcohol, cigarettes, and carbonated drinks.

  • Regular Exercise:

Appropriate exercise not only helps maintain healthy joints and control weight but also facilitates childbirth. Engage in about 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, such as walking, yoga, swimming, cycling, etc. Before choosing an exercise routine, it’s essential to seek advice from doctors to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Pregnant women should exercise daily.

Pregnant women should exercise daily.

  • Balanced Lifestyle:

Pregnant and postpartum women often experience stress, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and anger. To prevent postpartum high blood pressure, it’s crucial to have a well-balanced lifestyle, get enough rest, avoid strenuous work, and manage stress through relaxation, watching movies, listening to music, or getting a massage. Rely on family members to help care for the baby and do household chores to have more time for rest.

  • Regular Blood Pressure Checks:

For pregnant women with a history of high blood pressure or unstable blood pressure, regular self-monitoring of blood pressure is essential. Use specialized blood pressure monitors to keep track of blood pressure at home. If the readings are consistently high, make adjustments to diet and lifestyle accordingly.

  • Regular Prenatal Checkups:

During the final months of pregnancy, actively attend prenatal checkups to monitor maternal health. These checkups help identify potential health issues and track blood pressure levels at different stages of pregnancy, providing valuable information for deciding on the appropriate delivery method.

These are some insights into postpartum high blood pressure. Hopefully, this information has been helpful, and it encourages you to maintain a healthy lifestyle, pay attention to your diet, and engage in beneficial exercises for your well-being.

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