High Blood Pressure And Pregnancy – The Information You Must Know

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High blood pressure during pregnancy requires special care. Whether you developed high blood pressure after conception or you have been a sufferer of it for as long as you remember – when mixed with pregnancy, a close eye needs to be kept on it.


On average, high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), affects around 10-15% of pregnancies. There are two different types of high blood pressure – these are:

  • Chronic hypertension
    This is when high blood pressure was present before conception.
  • Pregnancy hypertension and pre-eclampsia
    This is when high blood pressure has only been present during pregnancy.


There are three different degrees of high blood pressure; this will depend on how high the blood pressure actually is.

  • Mild hypertension refers to blood pressure between 140/90 – 149/99.
  • Moderate hypertension refers to blood pressure between 150/100 – 159/109.
  • Severe hypertension refers to blood pressure of 160/110 or higher.


Chronic Hypertension

If you experienced high blood pressure before you conceived, then it is likely you are taking pills to keep your blood pressure down (this will depend on the severity of hypertension).

It is quite common for blood pressure to fall during the first half of pregnancy, so you may be able to temporarily stop taking anti-hypertension medicine.

You should check with your doctor or midwife about the medicine you are on to control your blood pressure as some drugs are not recommended in pregnancy.



In younger women, the cause of hypertension is sometimes unknown; this is why it is important to monitor your condition. You should be offered additional antenatal appointments to ensure that you and your baby stay healthy during pregnancy.

To ensure hypertension does not cause any issues during your pregnancy, you should keep a close eye on the foods you are consuming. Regular gentle exercise is advised as well as avoiding eating foods high in salt.


Pregnancy Hypertension

16% of women will develop hypertension as a result of being pregnant. This type of high blood pressure usually occurs late in the pregnancy (32 weeks and on).



Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy related condition – it usually causes high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It is common in women who have had high blood pressure in the past, of if a woman has experienced pre-eclampsia in a past pregnancy.

If either of these apply to you, it is essential that you have regular checkups to test you blood pressure and get your urine tested.

This condition is very dangerous to both the mother and the baby – if it is left untreated then the baby may be at danger of not growing or forming properly and the mother can be at risk of seizures and even death.


Help and Advice

Hypertension does not need to be an issue during pregnancy, as long as it is controlled. There are many specialist doctors and nurses who work with women who particularly have this problem.

Do not be afraid to ask for further checkups and tests if you believe you are at risk of hypertension or other conditions during pregnancy.


Jenny works on behalf of GLOWM who offer women’s healthcare advice to those who need it. 



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