Once a woman with essential hypertension conceives, her caregiver will aim to control the blood pressure at (or below) 140/90 throughout the pregnancy. In some cases, this may mean starting medications to lower the blood pressure (called 'antihypertensives'), or adjusting or changing the dosages if you already take medications. If you see your doctor before you conceive, adjustments to medications may be made in preparation for a pregnancy.
During pregnancy, it is ideal for you to see a physician who specialises in high blood pressure as well as an obstetrician (these can be through either the public system or privately). These doctors will usually work in partnership, with the physician dealing mainly with treating the blood pressure and the obstetrician managing the overall pregnancy and birth care. You will probably need to continue seeing the physician for weeks (or months) after the birth if your blood pressure is not well controlled.
Women with uncomplicated, controlled essential hypertension tend to have similar health outcomes to women with a normal blood pressure (as do their babies). The only concerns tend to be that women with essential hypertension are about 5 times more likely to develop pre-eclampsia, than women who start the pregnancy with a normal blood pressure. A few babies may also be at increased risk of poor growth during pregnancy due to 'placental insufficiency' (also known as a baby that issmall for gestational age).
Last revised: Friday, 9 November 2012
This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.