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Diagnosis and Treating Hypertension in Pregnancy

Diagnosing Hypertension in Pregnancy

Healthcare providers diagnose high blood pressure in pregnancy only after taking several blood pressure readings to find the average blood pressure. The blood pressure needs to be taken two or more times, and each reading must be on a different day.
 
If the average of the two blood pressure numbers is greater than 140/90, then a pregnant woman has hypertension -- just like women who are not pregnant. A woman is also considered to have hypertension in pregnancy if the systolic blood pressure increases more than 30 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) or the diastolic blood pressure increases more than 15 mmHg.
 
A single reading that is in excess of 140/90 doesn't necessarily mean that you have pregnancy-related hypertension, but your healthcare provider will probably want to monitor your blood pressure over a certain period of time to see if it remains high. You can also have hypertension if the average of only one of the numbers (systolic or diastolic pressure) is too high.
 

Treatment Options

Treatment for high blood pressure during pregnancy depends on a number of factors, including:
 
  • At what week in pregnancy the high blood pressure is diagnosed
  • The woman's age
  • The type of high blood pressure
  • Other medical conditions.
     
Treatment options for pregnant women with hypertension may include:
 
  • Bed rest
  • Medications
  • No-salt-added diet
  • More frequent prenatal visits
  • Observation
  • Early delivery (after 36 weeks).
     
Pregnancy and Pain

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