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High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy

Description

Chronic hypertension is defined as high blood pressure (> 140/90mm Hg) which is present before pregnancy or before 20 weeks of pregnancy. High blood pressure is considered mild if it is less than 160/110; severe if greater than 160/110.

Hypertension and Pregnancy

With mild chronic hypertension, without other complications, mothers and babies do as well as those who do not have this condition. Chronic hypertension can increase the risk of a woman’s developing pre-eclampsia in pregnancy. Severe chronic hypertension can restrict the baby’s ability to grow to full size. Some babies may deliver or need to be delivered before full-term . There is a small increased risk of the placenta separating from the wall of the uterus.

Pregnancy does not cause chronic hypertension, but a woman’s tendency to have high blood pressure may be first discovered during pregnancy.

Treatment

More testing is often done during a pregnancy complicated by high blood pressure than for women without this condition. This may include frequent ultrasound examinations to watch the baby’s growth, blood testing , and nonstress testing . Other effects of high blood pressure in pregnancy may include:

  • More frequent prenatal visits are often needed.
  • Medication may be required to control severe high blood pressure.
  • Rarely, hospitalisation is necessary
  • Early delivery is sometimes recommended. This could mean that the baby might stay for a time in the intensive-care nursery, depending on how early the delivery occurs.
  • A recommendation may be made to decrease activity or to stop work.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine & Prenatal Diagnosis: http://www.dhmc.org/


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  http://www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild/preexisting_conditions/hypertension.html Last modified: Oct 21 2004