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High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy
Blood pressure is the force put on the walls of your blood vessels as blood
travels through your body. Blood pressure helps pump blood to your body.
Taking Your Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is often checked by putting a wide band called a cuff around
your upper arm. Air is pumped into the cuff. Your blood pressure is measured
as the air is let out of the cuff.

Blood pressure is one number over a second number.
• The top number is higher and is called the systolic reading. It is the pressure
in the blood vessels when the heart pumps.
• The bottom number is lower and is called the diastolic reading. It is the
pressure in the blood vessels when the heart rests between beats.
Normal Blood Pressure
Normal blood pressure is 120 over 80 or less. Blood pressure varies from
person to person. Each person’s blood pressure changes from hour to hour and
from day to day.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is also called hypertension. High blood pressure is 140
over 90 or higher. A diagnosis of high blood pressure is not made until your
blood pressure is checked several times and it stays high.
High Blood Pressure and Pregnancy
High blood pressure can be dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn
babies. Women with high blood pressure before pregnancy may have more
problems during pregnancy.

Some women get high blood pressure while they are pregnant. High blood
pressure during the second half of the pregnancy is called gestational
hypertension.

Without treatment, high blood pressure during pregnancy can cause a small or ill
baby and problems for the mother.