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Clinical investigations from the RACP

A guide to investigating hypertension in pregnancy

Narelle McDonald, Annemarie Hennessy

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Abstract

Hypertension can affect between 3 and 10% of all pregnancies. The Australasian Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy consensus statement defines hypertension in pregnancy as a systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mmHg and/or a diastolic blood pressure (taken as Korotkoff sound V) above or equal to 90 mmHg.

Key Points

  • Hypertension can affect between 3 and 10% of all pregnancies.
  • Hypertension in pregnancy is defined as a systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure above or equal to 90 mmHg.
  • Gestational hypertension is defined as onset of hypertension in pregnancy after 20 weeks’ gestation in a woman with no previous history of renal disease or hypertension.
  • Pre-eclampsia is defined as gestational hypertension associated with renal, hepatic, neurological or coagulopathic complications, or fetal growth restriction.
  • Women with chronic hypertension should be monitored for the development of superimposed pre-eclampsia during pregnancy.
  • Pre-eclampsia, by definition, resolves by three months postpartum.

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