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Preeclampsia - Medications

Medicine for preeclampsia may be used to:

  • Control high blood pressure. Lowering high blood pressure doesn't prevent preeclampsia from getting worse. That's because high blood pressure is only a symptom of the condition, not a cause. Your doctor may recommend blood pressure medicine if your blood pressure reaches high levels.
  • Prevent seizures.Magnesium sulfate is usually started before delivery and continued for 24 hours after delivery for women with pregnancy-related seizures (eclampsia) and those who have moderate to severe preeclampsia.
  • Speed up fetal lung development. When possible, steroid medicine is given to the mother prior to a premature birth (up to 34 weeks of gestation). This medicine matures the baby's lungs over a 24-hour period, which lowers the risk of breathing problems after birth.

Blood pressure medicines

Medicines used to control chronic high blood pressure during pregnancy include:

Some high blood pressure medicines are dangerous during pregnancy.3 If you take high blood pressure medicines, talk to your doctor about the safety of your medicine. Discuss this before you become pregnant or as soon as you learn you are pregnant. Make sure that your doctor has a complete list of all medicines that you take.

Other blood pressure medicines that may be used include:

  • Hydralazine. This is an intravenous medicine for quickly lowering severely high blood pressure during pregnancy.
  • Labetalol. It's an intravenous medicine for quickly lowering severely high blood pressure in the hospital. It's also an oral medicine for controlling high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Lowering blood pressure too much or too fast can reduce blood flow to the placenta, causing problems for the baby. So medicine is reserved for preventing severely high blood pressure levels that may be life-threatening to you or your baby.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 21, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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