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Antihypertensive drug therapy for mild to moderate hypertension during pregnancy

Abalos E, Duley L, Steyn D
Published Online: 
6 February 2014

There is not enough evidence to show whether antihypertensive drug treatment for mild to moderate hypertension during pregnancy is worthwhile.

During the early weeks of normal pregnancy, blood pressure falls and climbs slowly in later pregnancy to reach pre-pregnancy levels at term. Mild to moderate hypertension (high blood pressure) is common during pregnancy. In some women, it can become more serious, resulting in hospital admission, pre-eclampsia (a complication of pregnancy that includes high blood pressure) and possible premature delivery. Antihypertensive drugs are often used to lower blood pressure in the belief that they will prevent this progression. This review of 49 trials, involving 4723 women, found there was not enough evidence to show the benefit of antihypertensive drugs for mild to moderate hypertension during pregnancy. More research is needed.