Hypertension

What are the odds for a woman on hypertension medication to have a normal pregnancy?

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

As you probably know or have guessed, pregnancy can induce hypertension or aggravate existing hypertension. However, the majority of women with underlying chronic hypertension demonstrate improved blood-pressure control and have largely uneventful pregnancies.

In most women with chronic hypertensive vascular disease, increased blood pressure is the only finding. However, a few women have complications that are dangerous for the baby and the mother. These would include hypertensive heart disease, ischemic heart disease (where not enough blood reaches the heart muscle) or kidney insufficiency and retinal (eye) hemorrhages.

Make sure the medication you're taking is safe for use in pregnancy. For example, ACE inhibitors must not be taken during pregnancy. Ask a pharmacist; they are under-used experts on drugs.

Older pregnant women and those who are obese, have diabetes or a hereditary predisposition are at increased risk for pregnancy complications stemming from their hypertension.

I wish I could give you specific odds, but so much depends on the above factors and the severity of your condition. Most texts do say that the "majority" of women with pre-existing hypertension do well during pregnancy. Keep fit, eat exceedingly well and get lots of rest. You should do fine.

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