Blood Pressure and Pre-Eclampsia During Pregnancy

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Getting your blood pressure monitored is just one of the common antenatal checks that you will become used to during pregnancy. Your blood pressure is very important when you are expecting a baby, so these routine checks are an essential part of your care.

How Your Blood Pressure Is Measured

A blood pressure check is one of the routine tests that will occur during most of your appointments for antenatal care at the London clinic. The blood pressure cuff will be wrapped around your upper arm and inflated. You will feel it squeezing your arm a little, but it won’t hurt. As the pressure from the cuff is slowly released, the blood pressure monitor will measure your blood pressure.

High Blood Pressure and Pre-Eclampsia

Having healthy blood pressure is always a good thing, but it is particularly important during pregnancy. If your blood pressure becomes too high it could be a sign that you are at risk of pre-eclampsia, which is a very serious condition. It usually occurs after about 20 weeks and it might not cause any noticeable symptoms at first. Many women with pre-eclampsia aren’t aware they are at risk until they find out from the blood pressure or urine tests during their antenatal care appointments in London. If the condition worsens it can cause symptoms such as headaches, visual problems, and rapid swelling of your face, hands and feet. Without treatment, it could result in serious kidney damage, fits, or even death.

If you have high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, your antenatal care team in London can help to manage your condition. You might need to make some changes to your diet or to start taking medication to bring your blood pressure down. If you experience severe symptoms, you might need to be admitted into hospital so your condition can be monitored more closely. Pre-eclampsia will only go away completely once you have given birth. If your condition is serious, your doctor might recommend inducing labour once you have passed 34 weeks.

When Does Labour Need to be Induced?

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Most babies choose their own time to be born, but about one in five babies born in the UK will have been induced. Induction is a technique your consultant obstetrician at the London clinic can use to artificially start your labour. There are several reasons why you might need to be induced.

Overdue Babies

One of the most common reasons for having an induction is that the baby is overdue. If you haven’t gone into labour by the time you are 42 weeks pregnant, it can be a good idea to have an induction. You will probably be feeling quite uncomfortable if you reach this point, but there is also a slightly higher risk of complications if you go into labour after 42 weeks.

An induction can also help if your waters have broken but the labour hasn’t progressed. Once your waters break, your baby is no longer isolated from the outside world so there is a risk of an infection getting into your womb. However, induction isn’t always the best option in this situation. It will depend on the length of your pregnancy and the risk to you and the baby. In some cases, the pregnancy can be allowed to progress naturally.

Health Risks

Your consultant obstetrician in London might also recommend an induction if there is a risk to you or the baby. Conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or obstetric homoeostasis can be very serious when you are pregnant. If your symptoms are severe and it is safe for your baby to be born, it can be better to induce labour rather than to risk your own health. Induction can also help if your baby isn’t thriving in the womb.

If your doctor thinks that you might benefit from an induction, you will have plenty of time to discuss the procedure and the reasons for having it. Your consultant obstetrician at the London clinic will help you to understand the pros and cons, but it is up to you whether you want to go ahead with the induction or not.

What Happens During a Pelvic Exam?

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You won’t always need a pelvic exam when you visit your private women clinic with a gynaecological problem, but there are some occasions on which an exam will be necessary. Knowing what to expect from a pelvic exam can help you to feel more comfortable during the procedure.

During The Pelvic Exam

  1. You don’t need to prepare in any way for a pelvic exam at a private women clinic, although it can be a good idea to go to the toilet before the exam. You might want to wait until you are at the clinic to do so, as your doctor might want you to provide a urine sample.
  2. Before the examination begins, your nurse or gynaecologist will leave you in private to remove your underwear. You will then be asked to lie down on your back and to relax.
  3. The doctor will usually begin by pressing down on different areas of your abdomen to feel the organs inside. Your gynaecologist will be looking for signs of swelling, pain, and other problems.
  4. A speculum examination will often need to be performed during the pelvic exam. Your doctor will probably ask you to move down to the end of the table, and to bend your knees or place your legs in stirrups or on supports. The speculum will then be inserted into your vagina to widen the opening. This enables your doctor to get a clear view of the vagina and cervix.
  5. A swab may be taken from the cervix or vagina, with a small plastic brush. The sample can be tested for signs of infection or for cervical abnormalities that might indicate a risk of cancer.
  6. Your doctor may also need to perform a bimanual examination, which involves placing two fingers inside the vagina and then using the other hand to press down on the area being examined. This part of the exam can reveal changes to the size and shape of certain organs, or determine the location of any pain you have been feeling.

The whole exam will be over very quickly, and although you may feel a little bit uncomfortable, none of the investigations will hurt. You should feel free to ask any questions before or during the exam, and you can also ask to have a chaperone present at the private women clinic if you want.