Hypertension in pregnancy
Hypertension in pregnancy is defined as a systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or more, or diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or more, that is not due to pre-eclampsia. It is a common disorder in pregnancy, affecting approximately one in five pregnant women.
The diagnosis of hypertension in pregnancy is based on blood pressure measurement. A diagnosis of pre-eclampsia is based on the presence of protein in the urine, and/or the development of new or worsening headache, visual disturbances, or abdominal pain.
Pre-eclampsia is a serious disorder that can result in the death of the mother and/or the baby. The risk of pre-eclampsia is increased in women with a history of hypertension in pregnancy, diabetes, or kidney disease.
Pre-eclampsia is treated with bed rest, and if necessary, with the use of antihypertensive medications.
If the blood pressure is not controlled, the baby may be delivered early.
The long-term consequences of hypertension in pregnancy include an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in later life.
Hypertension in pregnancy is also a major risk factor for the development of chronic hypertension in later life.