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Hypertension during Pregnancy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What do I need to know about hypertension during pregnancy?

Hypertension is high blood pressure (BP). Normal BP is 119/79 or lower. Hypertension during pregnancy is a BP of 140/90 or higher. Severe hypertension is 160/110 or higher. One or both numbers of these readings may be high. Hypertension may start before you become pregnant, or develop during pregnancy. Pregnancy can cause high BP, or it may develop because of other risk factors you had before you became pregnant. It is important to get screened and treated for an elevated BP or hypertension during pregnancy. This can prevent problems for you and your baby.

Blood Pressure Readings

What are the different types of hypertension during pregnancy?

What increases my risk for hypertension during pregnancy?

What are the signs and symptoms of hypertension during pregnancy?

You may have no signs or symptoms. Hypertension may only be found during routine pregnancy checkups. You may have any of the following, depending on the kind of hypertension you have:

How is hypertension during pregnancy diagnosed and treated?

Your healthcare provider will check for hypertension at each prenatal visit. Your provider will check your BP and ask if you have any symptoms of hypertension. You may need blood or urine tests to check for problems caused by hypertension. Treatment depends on how high your BP is and how many weeks you are into your pregnancy. Before 37 weeks, healthcare providers may want to monitor your condition if your BP is not severely high. An ultrasound may be done every 3 to 4 weeks to check your baby's growth. The amount of amniotic fluid may be measured every week. Your provider will tell you how often to come in for tests. Treatment may include any of the following:

What can I do to manage hypertension during pregnancy?

Your healthcare providers will tell you what BP is best for you during your pregnancy. They will help you create a plan to lower your BP safely and keep it at recommended levels. This is based on the kind and severity of your hypertension. Sometimes it is difficult to diagnose a specific kind of hypertension, but you can still follow general guidelines:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US), or have someone else call if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor or obstetrician?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.