Pregnancy does come with a broad range of risks and complications despite its many positively life-changing rewards. Sometimes, these complications may lead to death.

In order to reduce maternal death, a Consultant Gynaecologist, Dr. Ayodele Ademola, is enlightening women about the highest silent killer of expectant mothers.

The expert, while speaking during an interview with News Agency of Nigeria, NAN identified elevated blood pressure/hypertension as the highest silent and dangerous killer of pregnant women in Africa.

The gynae who doubles as the Medical Director, Strong Tower Hospital and Advanced Fertility Centre, a Lagos-based private medical facility, also stressed the need for early antenatal and prenatal care registration among pregnant women, at least within the first trimester (three months) of the pregnancy.

According to the specialist, that the essence of early registration was to enable early detection of any case of elevated BP or abnormal health condition during the pregnancy so that necessary medical control or interventions could come in.

In his words, BP is never constant, it can change at any time; that is why regular checks on it become very necessary.

“Presently, a lot of research and findings are ongoing, to see how elevated BP can be prevented,” Ademola said.

The consultant said that the most dangerous BP elevation during pregnancy was the one caused by the pregnancy itself, also known as Preeclampsia.

“Preeclampsia is a dangerous pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys.

“Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women, whose blood pressure had been normal. Left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious, even fatal, complications for both mother and baby,” he said.

Also, Dr. Joseph Akinde, Chairman, Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, advised Nigerians, particularly pregnant women, on the need to always check their Blood Pressure.

Akinde said most people with high blood pressure were not usually aware that they had the condition until they went through the test.

According to him, elevated BP also known as Hypertension is a condition in which the systemic BP of an adult aged 18 and above is persistently above 140/90 in a non- diabetic and 130/80 in a diabetic person following three consecutive tests.

Akinde said the test was meant for adults from 18 years and above. He added that it was necessary to be careful while announcing to patients that they had hypertension to avoid causing more damage to the system.

Akinde listed the symptoms of hypertension to include headache, dizziness, easy fatigue, tension of the neck. He said,

“When hypertension sets in, it invades diabetics. Signs are persistently elevated blood pressure.

“Some drugs we take cause hypertension; oral contraceptives, which some ladies take, cause it while excessive salt can also result in the condition.

“Checking is done to ensure that BP is maintained below 140/90 or 130/80MMHG.

“When it is confirmed that a patient has hypertension, he should reduce stress and stop smoking. It is advisable that the patient seeks medical attention, modify his/her lifestyle, be on drug and reduce salt intakes.”

Akinde, who said that stress had been identified as the major cause of hypertension, added that once a person started taking drugs, he or she should not stop.