Postpartum Hypertension Case Studies

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Postpartum Hypertension

Postpartum hypertension is high blood pressure after pregnancy that remains higher than normal for more than two days after delivery. You may not realize you have postpartum hypertension if it is not being checked regularly. In some cases, postpartum hypertension will go away on its own, usually within a week of delivery. However, for some women, medical treatment is required to prevent serious complications, such as seizures or stroke.
The following things can affect your blood pressure:
• The type of delivery you had.
• If you received IV fluids or other medicines during or after delivery.

CAUSES
Postpartum hypertension may be caused by any of the following, alone or in combination with one another:
• Hypertension
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The cause may also be unknown.

RISK FACTORS
Postpartum hypertension can be related to one or more risk factors, such as:
• Chronic hypertension. In some cases, this may not have been diagnosed before pregnancy.
• Obesity.
• Type 2 diabetes.
• Kidney disease.
• Family history of preeclampsia.
• Other medical conditions that cause hormonal imbalances.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
As with all types of hypertension, postpartum hypertension may not have any symptoms. Depending on how high your blood pressure is, you may experience:
• Headaches. These may be mild, moderate, or severe. They may also be steady, constant, or sudden in onset (thunderclap headache).
• Visual changes.
• Dizziness.
• Shortness of breath.
• Swelling of the hands, feet, lower legs, or face. In some cases, you may have swelling in more than one of these locations.
• Heart palpitations or a racing heartbeat.
• Difficulty breathing while lying down.
• Decreased urination.
• Other rare signs and symptoms may include:
○ Sweating more than usual. This lasts longer than a few days after delivery.
○ Chest pain.
○ Sudden dizziness when getting up from sitting or lying down.
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• Get regular exercise once your health care provider tells you it is safe.
• Follow your health care provider’s recommendations on fluid and salt restrictions.
• Do not use any tobacco products including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or electronic cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
• Keep all follow-up visits as directed by your health care provider. This is important.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:
• Your symptoms get worse.
• You have new symptoms, such as:
○ Headache.
○ Dizziness.
○ Visual changes.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:
• You develop a severe or sudden headache.
• You have seizures.
• You develop numbness or weakness on one side of your body.
• You have difficulty thinking, speaking, or swallowing.
• You develop severe abdominal pain.
• You develop difficulty breathing, chest pain, a racing heart beat, or heart palpitations.
These symptoms may represent a serious problem that is an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Get medical help right away. Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.). Do not drive yourself to the hospitaL.

ExitCare® Patient Information ©2012 ExitCare,

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