A High (blood)-Pressure Delivery: My Experience With Gestational Hypertension And C-section

I was 25, newlywed, and pregnant with no health issues whatsoever. Even the usual first trimester nausea, vomiting, abhorrence towards food were absent!  I was working, traveling, and leading an absolutely normal life.  In regular check-ups with my gynaecologist I was absolutely fine with the baby growing awesomely well and everything going just fine.  My blood tests also gave no cause for concern.

Pregnant and Hypertensive: Alarming Signs

In the beginning of the ninth month, my feet started to show swelling.  My face was also more bloated than usual.  The doctor checked my blood pressure and found it to be high, around 140/90.  She started calling me every alternate day and every time the blood pressure (BP) would hover around 140-150 systolic.  She started me on an antihypertensive medication, but despite hypertension treatment, my BP continued to remain on the higher side. I was at risk for preeclampsia.

Was My High Blood Pressure Affecting My Baby?

The doctor required Fetal Non-stress Tests (NSTs) and monitored my baby’s heartbeats.  To our relief, NSTs were fine, so was the regular Doppler.  Still, the gynaecologist didn’t want to take any chances and asked me to get a colored Doppler to monitor the blood flow in my uterus.  This was in the 38th week of my pregnancy.  The colored Doppler also looked fine.  I was supremely nervous and tense the day my colored Doppler test was done.  I didn’t wish any damage to my unborn baby from reversible blood flow issues.

At the end of the 38th week, my BP still continued to remain elevated. The gynaecologist, not wanting any risks, suggested inducing labour.  My baby was fully developed, but the head was still not engaged.

A Dramatic, Hypertensive Labour:

The due date was January 5th.  As per the gynaecologist’s advice, I got admitted on the night of December 22nd and labour was induced.  I started getting crampy pains, which as per the doctor were nowhere close to labour!  Eventually, I went through the labour pains. But the next morning, even after 12 hours, my cervix hadn’t dilated at all.  My BP was being monitored throughout.  Every time I had intense pain, my BP would shoot up.  There was one alarming moment when it shot up to 190!

Finally, the decision was made to perform a Caesarian (C-section).  We didn’t want to take any risk either with my life or the baby’s.

So, on December 23rd at 4 PM I was wheeled to the operation theater. I was given spinal anesthesia and a C-section was performed.  My BP was still around 140 systolic but thanks to the efficient hands of the gynaecologists and the anesthesiologist, I safely delivered my son at 4:25 PM.  Both of us were doing just great!

My BP normalized soon after the delivery and even the swelling went away.  I had no side effects from the spinal anesthesia.

In the end, what mattered was that both me and my son were fine and healthy!

—-Ritwika Mutsuddi, an experienced mother trying to make it easy for new mothers. Read about Ritwika’s struggles with breastfeeding after her emergency C-section here.

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