Background: Hypertensive disorders (preeclampsia, eclampsia, gestational hypertension,
and chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia) complicate 3-5% of all pregnancies and
are a significant cause of maternal mortality and morbidity. Preeclampsia is a multi-system disorder
characterised by new onset hypertension after the 20th week of pregnancy with proteinuria. Proteinuria
is defined as 300 mg or more of protein in a 24-hour urine collection or a protein: creatinine
ratio of 0.3 mg/dL using a spot urine specimen. Hypertensive disorders have a complex pathophysiology
that results from abnormal placen- tation and a maternal response that develops into a clinicalsyndrome
for which there is no single test or “cure”. In high income countries, low rates of maternal
mortality from hy- pertensive disease in pregnancy illustrate the importance of pregnant
women being able to readily access antenatal care.
Conclusion: There remains the need to develop evidence-based clinical guidelines for detection,
prophylaxis and management worldwide.
Keywords: Global burden of disease, pathophysiology, risk factors, reducing the risk of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, diagnosis,
complications, monitoring, management, breast feeding and anti-hypertensives, care of women in the postnatal period.
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