Gestational Hypertension

What is it?

Simply put, it is raised Blood Pressure (BP) in pregnancy.

Gestational Hypertension is diagnosed when:

-BP readings above 140/90,

-You are more then 20weeks pregnant

-Have no organ dysfunction

-Normalization of BP with-in 3 months after your baby is born.

(National institute for health and clinical excellence 2011)

This is why your BP should be checked at every antenatal appointment. Correct procedure for checking BP will help accurately monitor you BP.

Correct procedure for checking BP on pregnant women:

-Seated with feet flat on floor

-Using your right arm for consistency

-Using manual BP cuff

Who is most at Risk?bp pic

– First baby

-Age 40 years or older

-Multiple pregnancy

-Previous history or gestation hypertension

-Family history of pre-eclampsia or raised BP

-Raised BMI of 35 or more

-Pre-existing vascular disease

(McCarthy 2011)

Effects on mother and baby

-Development of more severe pregnancy disorder called pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia is a multi-organ disorder in pregnancy characterised by hypertension and involvement of one or more other organ systems

-Maternal Seizures due to high BP (increased pressure on the brain)

-Maternal Visual disturbances

-Premature birth

-Growth restriction to baby because of the changes in placental blood flow

-Placental abruption (where your placenta comes away from your uterus during pregnancy or labour)

Signs and symptoms of raised BP

-Visual changes

-Headaches that you previously hadn’t had

-Severe/sudden swelling of limbs


If you are diagnosed with gestational hypertension your doctor will make a plan of treatment according to your individual needs and BP readings. Most women are commenced on oral antihypertensive medication to bring their blood pressure back down with-in normal limits. You will be monitored more closely; with frequent BP readings and likely have bloods and urine samples taken to make sure you are not developing pre-eclampsia.You will also have frequent monitoring of your babies heart rate and potentially need Ultrasound scans to measure the growth and well being of your baby.

By Midwife Ebony


National institute for health and clinical excellence 2011, Hypertension in Pregnancy, Clinical guidance, Manchester, viewed 22 July 2014, http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg107/resources/guidance-hypertension-in-pregnancy-pdf.

McCarthy, E 2011, Hypertension in pregnancy, RANZCOG indigenous womens health conference, Cains.

Rasmussen, M, Screening and management of pre-eclampsia, Mercy Hospital for women, viewed 22 July 2011, http://www.ranzcog.edu.au/document-library/doc_view/694-screening-and-management-of-pre-eclampsia-michael-rasmussen.html.

(This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional. All information is written from the experience and knowledge of the person writing the post).