Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure and chronic hypertension refers to patients who had high blood pressure before they became pregnant or developed it early in pregnancy. This is different from a special kind of high blood pressure that some women get during pregnancy called pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia usually develops in the second half of pregnancy or in the post-partum period and goes away in the first few months after delivery.
Women who have chronic hypertension and become pregnant need to be closely monitored. Chronic hypertension puts women at a higher risk of developing pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. Chronic hypertension is also associated with increased risks of pregnancy complications like stillbirth, placental abruption, and fetal growth restriction.
An OB/GYN or Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist can help decide if you need treatment for your high blood pressure during pregnancy and/or to see if the medication you are taking is safe to take during pregnancy. Women’s blood pressure naturally varies during pregnancy so we recommend that you check your blood pressure at home in addition to at your doctor’s office to see if you need to change the dose of your medication during the pregnancy. Many patients are started on a baby aspirin to help decrease the risk of developing pre-eclampsia. We also recommend additional monitoring of your baby through ultrasounds to evaluate the growth of the baby and the well-being of the baby.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!