Background: Hypertension of pregnancy [office blood pressure (BP) levels≥140/90 mmHg] is fairly common and can affect up to 10% of pregnant women worldwide. Hypertension of pregnancy is an important risk factor for the mother and carries increased morbidity and mortality for the fetus. Women with hypertension of pregnancy have a high-risk for future cardiovascular and renal events.
Objectives: To summarize the literature related to several clinical aspects of hypertension in pregnancy and draw clinically meaningful conclusions.
Methods: We conducted an in-depth review of the literature to retrieve existing data on the definition, epidemiology, classification, and management of hypertension in pregnancy.
Results: All pregnant women with hypertension should have a proper diagnostic workup and be treated appropriately. In women with mild hypertension, BP therapeutic target should be set to 110-140/80-85mmHg. In women with severe hypertension, BP should be reduced by at least 25% as soon as possible, and gradually thereafter to normal target levels of <140/105mmHg. In terms of preeclampsia, physicians need to consider potential complications and formulate prevention strategies. The choice of antihypertensive medication is crucial since certain classes can be detrimental to the fetus and should be avoided. Post-partum, the choice of antihypertensive therapy of the mother should take into consideration breastfeeding of the fetus. Given the life-long cardiovascular risk of women with pregnancy hypertension, a regular cardiovascular evaluation is in order.
Conclusion: Albeit the antihypertensive treatment exerts significant benefits for both the mother and the baby, several clinical aspects remain un-tackled. More research is needed to further improve the treatment of such disorders.