Preeclampsia and High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy - Treatment Overview
If your blood pressure begins to
rise during pregnancy, you will need close monitoring until after your baby is
born. Your blood pressure may remain mildly elevated, which is not considered
dangerous for you or your fetus. But it can become dangerous if it turns out to
be a sign of
preeclampsia or if it progresses to more severe
high blood pressure (hypertension).
If you have high blood pressure during your pregnancy, your treatment may
- Close monitoring by a
doctor for signs of preeclampsia.
- Blood pressure medicine. Your doctor may have you take medicine if he or she thinks
your blood pressure is too high. Some women with ongoing (chronic) high blood
pressure stay on antihypertensive medicine but are prescribed a lower dose
during pregnancy if their blood pressure improves.
high blood pressure in pregnancy usually only requires close monitoring. If you
have high blood pressure that is rapidly increasing or has reached moderately
high levels, you may be
treated with blood pressure medicine.
Severe high blood pressure
(higher than 160 mm Hg
systolic or 110 mm Hg
diastolic) can result in poor fetal growth
(intrauterine growth restriction) and is likely to be treated with an
Some high blood pressure medicines are dangerous during pregnancy.6 If you take high blood pressure medicines, talk to your doctor about
the safety of your medicine 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 are taking.
Preeclampsia and eclampsia
If you show any signs
of preeclampsia, you will be closely monitored, either with frequent office
visits or in the hospital. The goal of treatment is to prevent preeclampsia
from becoming life-threatening to you and your fetus while prolonging the
pregnancy long enough for your fetus to be mature and healthy at birth.
Your treatment will last for the rest of your pregnancy, your delivery,
and your first postpartum weeks and will depend on how severe your condition
is. Treatment options include an anticonvulsant medicine; blood pressure
medicine if your blood pressure is dangerously high; and delivery, which is the
only known "cure" for preeclampsia.
- For mild preeclampsia that is not rapidly
getting worse, you may only have to reduce your level of activity, monitor how
you feel, and have frequent office visits and testing.
- For moderate or severe preeclampsia, or for preeclampsia
that is rapidly getting worse, you may require hospitalization, where
expectant management typically includes bed rest,
medicine, and close monitoring of you and your fetus. Severe preeclampsia or an
eclamptic seizure is treated with
magnesium sulfate. This medicine can stop a seizure
and can prevent seizures. If you are near delivery or have severe preeclampsia,
your doctor will plan to deliver your baby as soon as possible.
your condition becomes life-threatening to you or your fetus, magnesium sulfate
to prevent seizure and delivery are the only treatment options. If you are less
than 34 weeks pregnant and a 24- to 48-hour delay is possible, you will likely
antenatal corticosteroids to speed up fetal lung
development before delivery.