Pregnancy guide


Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are a major cause of maternal, foetal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.
Hypertension is the most common problem in pregnancy, both in developing and developed countries.
Up to 15% of pregnancies are complicated by hypertension.

There are different types of hypertension in pregnancy:
  • Chronic hypertension, where the high blood pressure was present before pregnancy.
  • Gestational hypertension, or pregnancy-related high blood pressure, which develops after 20 weeks of gestation.
There are three levels for each of these different types of hypertension:
  • Mild hypertension: a blood pressure between 140/90 and 149/99 mm Hg.
  • Moderate hypertension: a blood pressure between 150/100 and 159/109 mm Hg.
  • Severe hypertension: a blood pressure of 160/110 or higher.
Women with hypertension during pregnancy have a higher risk of:
  • Abruptio placentae.
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation.
  • Cerebrovascular accident.
The foetus has an increased risk of:
  • Intrauterine growth restriction.
  • Prematurity.
  • Intrauterine death.
Symptoms associated with hypertension during pregnancy and that you must quickly tell your doctor:
  • Severe headache.
  • Blurred vision, flashing before the eyes.
  • Severe epigastric pain.
  • Vomiting.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Sudden swelling of the face, hands or feet.

While the type of treatment you are given will depend on the cause of your hypertension, the key to a healthy pregnancy is to make sure that your blood pressure remains under control.
Having check-ups with your antenatal team is the best way of monitoring your hypertension.
You should keep active and get some physical activity each day, such as walking or swimming.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet and keep your salt intake low.

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Guide summary