Hypertension in Pregnancy

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are the most common medical disorders of pregnancy and are associated with increased maternal and perinatal risks. The pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment are herein reviewed for chronic hypertension, preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, and severe hypertension.

The benefits and risks of treating mild, moderate, and severe hypertension are discussed.

A variety of oral and parenteral therapies are approved for the treatment of hypertension in pregnancy; methyldopa, labetalol, and nifedipine have been used safely in pregnancy, as has hydrochlorothiazide in those already taking this medication before conception.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers are contraindicated in pregnancy because of adverse fetal effects, and atenolol should be avoided due to concerns with fetal growth.

Severe hypertension >160/110 mmHg may require parenteral therapy, and treatment with intravenous labetalol now supplants the use of hydralazine. Women may remain hypertensive for a period postpartum and require treatment for a short interval. Early or severe preeclampsia warrants workup postpartum for secondary causes.

Pregnancy induced hypertension or preeclampsia are emerging as risk factors for future cardiovascular risk.

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Tiina Podymow
Phyllis August

# Division of Nephrology, McGill University Health Center, Monteal, Quebec, Canada
# Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY.
# Address correspondence to Tiina Podymow, MD, Division of Nephrology, Montreal General Hospital, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1A4, Canada.
# Email address: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Tiina Podymow)
# Copyright © 2007 by National Kidney Foundation, Inc.
# doi: 10.1053/j.ackd.2007.01.008

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