Mr Karl Murphy, Consultant in Obstetrics & Fetal Medicine, The Portland Hospital
Q. I have a history of high blood pressure. Does this put my pregnancy under greater risk?
A. Yes. Although many women with high blood pressure in pregnancy will go on to have a completely normal outcome, there is an increased risk of complications for both mother and baby. Most pregnant women with a history of high blood pressure will suffer from what is known as essential hypertension. This means their blood pressure is programmed to be higher than average. Such women are at increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia, which typically starts after the 20th week of pregnancy and leads to high levels of blood pressure in the mother with signs of kidney and liver damage as the pregnancy progresses. Women who have high blood pressure before they get pregnant need to have any medication they are already taking reviewed by an obstetrician. They also need to have close monitoring of their blood pressure throughout pregnancy, but they can be reassured that if signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia do not develop then there is no added risk for their baby. Should pre-eclampsia supervene then more intensive monitoring will be required for the remainder of the pregnancy, but it is important to appreciate that most women with pre-eclampsia will have a normal pregnancy outcome.
For further information or to book an appointment please contact Mr Murphy’s secretary.
Telephone: 020 7390 6327
Fax: 020 7390 6345