Nearly 5% of pregnant women with high blood pressure are taking medication, but some of the drugs could be potentially harmful to them and the fetus, according to a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health. This study focused on 1 million pregnant Medicaid patients from 2000 through 2007. The results of the study were published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.
High blood pressure or hypertension is the excessive pressure your heart uses in order to push blood through your arteries. Women can develop high blood pressure before they get pregnant or during the pregnancy. About 6% to 8% of pregnant women in the United States have high blood pressure, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
When it is difficult to pump blood through the body, it may reduce the amount of blood, oxygen and nutrients the fetus receives through the placenta. If the fetus isn’t getting all of the oxygen and nutrients it needs, it could cause low birth weight and other medical complications. Under some circumstances, doctors may have to induce labor to prevent life-threatening problems from occurring to the mother and the baby.
Considering the type of complications associated with high blood pressure during pregnancy, it is imperative that doctors use treatments that are safe and effective for the mother and the baby. Some of the drugs prescribed to women during their pregnancy contained angiotensin receptor blockers or ACE inhibitors. Those types of drugs are commonly used for lowering blood pressure but they can also cause several adverse effects in pregnant women.
Using ACE inhibitors to treat hypertension in pregnant women can lead to severe medical complications. During the first trimester, genetic and chromosomal abnormalities can occur. Organs such as the kidneys and lungs may not form properly. The fetus may also have difficulty growing in the womb. These kinds of medical problems are often attributed to neonatal deaths.
Dealing with any type of major medical condition during pregnancy is very scary, that might require a medical malpractice lawyer. Women want to do all that they can to protect their health and the health of the baby. According to the study, more research needs to be performed to assess which drugs can treat hypertension in pregnant women while also not endangering the growth and development of the fetus.
Methyldopa and labetalol are medications that can safely treat hypertension in pregnant women, based on the research performed for this study. But each woman’s medical history, current medical conditions, and reactions to treatment are different. If women have concerns about taking certain drugs during their pregnancy, they should speak openly with their doctor. Every woman is entitled to be fully informed about the type of treatment they are receiving. They also deserve to know the benefits and potential risks associated with recommended treatment. Being fully informed will allow women to make educated decisions regarding what is best for them during their pregnancies.
Women can also speak with the doctors about alternative forms of treatment. They can talk to their physicians about eating healthier foods that will help their bodies function more effectively. They can ask about performing exercises that will improve their health but are not too strenuous during the pregnancy. Finding out better ways to cope with stress can also lead to significant improvements in blood pressure levels.
If you or your child has been harmed as a result of taking prescription drugs, you should contact a personal injury lawyer. Schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer for a free case evaluation.