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Pregnancy and Chronic High Blood Pressure

Topic Overview

Women with chronic high blood pressure require special medical care before, during, and after their pregnancies.

  • Some blood pressure medicines are not recommended for use during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Talk to your doctor if you take blood pressure medicines and are pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
  • High blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg or higher) during a pregnancy increases the risks of:
    • Preeclampsia.
    • Fetal growth problems (intrauterine growth restriction, or IUGR).
    • Placenta abruptio.

Many women with chronic high blood pressure need little or no medicine during pregnancy. Blood pressure usually falls during early pregnancy, so medicine is often not needed unless blood pressure increases to higher levels.

Undiagnosed chronic high blood pressure and pregnancy

High blood pressure is a disorder with few or no symptoms. When planning a pregnancy, see your doctor for a review of pregnancy risks, such as high blood pressure.

Women with elevated blood pressure during pregnancy receive frequent blood pressure readings, blood tests, and urine screens for signs of preeclampsia.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
Last Revised November 5, 2012

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