St. David's HealthCare

St. David's HealthCare is one of the largest health systems in Texas and Austin's
third-largest private employer, with more than 60 sites throughout Central Texas,
including seven hospitals, four urgent care centers, four ambulatory surgery centers,
and two freestanding emergency departments, with a third set to open in Bastrop this summer.

St. David's HealthCare has a long history of serving the residents of Central Texas
with exceptional medical care. Our 7,500 employees touch over 858,000 lives each
year with a spirit of warmth, friendliness and personal pride.

Visit our main website at www.StDavids.com

Expectant Mothers Blog

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What goes up must come down...

Elevated blood pressures can occur during pregnancy for many reasons. Women may have previous disease, or present with high pressures for the first time in pregnancy.
Part of the purpose of prenatal visits is to detect blood pressure changes and further evaluate the cause, as treatment may differ depending on the condition.

If you are found to have elevated blood pressures, your OB may order laboratory studies to evaluate your organ function (kidneys, liver, blood cells) and may have you complete a 24 hour urine looking for elevated protein. The goal is to differentiate high blood pressure alone from a more serious disorder called pre-eclampsia. The latter is a disease process related to the placenta that can lead to serious complications of pregnancy.

If diagnosed with pre-eclampsia or if blood pressures are persistently elevated, you may be referred to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist for guidance on management of the pregnancy and evaluation of your baby. The specialist will perform an ultrasound to evaluate the health and growth of the baby, and assess if blood flow in the placenta may be affected by the blood pressure. Continued management will often consist of frequent visits to your OB as well as the specialist to monitor you and your baby. In some cases, admission to the hospital or early delivery is necessary, but this occurs in a minority of cases. The goal of management is to ensure the health of both mother and baby with delivery at term.

Whatever the cause, rest assured that your OB and MFM specialist will work together to determine the reason for your elevated blood pressures and formulate a personalized course of treatment to ensure the safety and health of the pregnancy. 

Kimberly A. DeStefano, MD
Medical Director- Maternal Fetal Medicine;
Specialized Perinatal Programs
St. David's Women's Center of Texas