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Blood Pressure in Pregnancy

According to research by the Blood Pressure Association, almost three quarters of UK adults haven't got a clue what their blood pressure is.

"One in 10 first time mums will have some form of high blood pressure during their pregnancy" according to Liz Pidgley, Information Line Nurse for The BPA. She continues "Blood pressure levels can also rise sharply following the delivery of a baby, and this can continue for a few weeks. It's important blood pressure is closely monitored after birth to make sure it returns to normal."

"Pre-eclampsia is a form of high blood pressure in pregnancy that is caused by a problem with the placenta.....There are not always outward symptoms of pre-eclampsia, and the only cure is early delivery. Make sure you attend all antenatal appointments so your GP or midwife can keep a close eye on your blood pressure. Remember if you're at all unsure about your own health or your baby's go to see your GP or midwife."

The nurse also says that obesity is the only risk factor for high blood pressure during pregnancy which a woman can control. And she says that other factors to bear in mind include an increased risk if you're over 40 years old or a teenager.

"Many other factors are not controllable at all, including a family history of the condition during pregnancy, a first or multiple pregnancy, high blood pressure in previous pregnancies, a partner who has fathered a child with another woman who had the condition during pregnancy, and some health conditions, such as lupus or diabetes."

Home monitoring is a really good way to keep tabs on your blood pressure in between antenatal appointments. But ity's really important to make sure that you're using a monitor that is clinically validated for use during pregnancy, because you'll have around an extra litre of blood in your system and your arterial walls will be softer so other monitors are likely to give unreliable readings."

September 2010

For more information on high blood pressure and pregnancy you can call the Blood Pressure Association's Information Line on 0845 241 0989.
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