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Chronic Hypertension

Chronic hypertension is high blood pressure that is present before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Pregnancy does not cause this condition, but a woman's tendency to have high blood pressure may be first discovered during pregnancy.

Increased risks

If you have chronic hypertension, you may be at higher risk of the following:

Hypertension and pregnancy

  • If you have hypertension, you may have more frequent ultrasound examinations, blood testing, and tests to monitor the baby's heartbeat. You and your baby will be monitored more frequently.
  • You may need medication to control your blood pressure.
  • Rarely, hospitalization is necessary.
  • Early delivery is sometimes recommended, which might mean that your baby may need to stay at the hospital longer than usual.

Signs of high blood pressure

If you experience any of these symptoms, please contact your doctor or midwife.

  • Constant dull pain in the back or side, just below the ribs
  • Frequent, severe headaches
  • Visual disturbances, especially blurring, dimness, spots or double images
  • Swelling or puffiness of the face (especially around the eyes) or hands, or excessive, continuous swelling of the feet or ankles
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