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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 breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor if you take blood pressure medicines and are pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
  • High blood pressure 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.

To reduce your risk for preeclampsia, your doctor may recommend that you take low-dose aspirin during the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy.

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.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: June 16, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
William Gilbert MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine

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