Some people have high blood pressure before they get pregnant (chronic hypertension). Some have high blood pressure that starts in the second or third trimester (gestational hypertension). High blood pressure can limit the baby's growth and cause other serious problems. Sometimes it's a first sign of a serious problem called preeclampsia.
High blood pressure usually doesn't cause symptoms. You will probably feel fine, even if your blood pressure is too high. You may not know you have high blood pressure. That's why it's important to go to all of your prenatal checkups and get your blood pressure checked.
Chronic high blood pressure requires special medical care before, during, and after pregnancy. You'll have frequent blood pressure checks, blood tests, and urine tests. They are done to watch for signs of preeclampsia. You may also have frequent fetal ultrasounds and other tests to be sure your baby is doing well.
You may need little or no blood pressure medicine while you're pregnant. Blood pressure usually falls during early pregnancy. Medicine often isn't needed unless blood pressure rises to higher levels.
Some blood pressure medicines aren't safe during pregnancy. If you take blood pressure medicine:
- Talk to your doctor about the safety of your medicine. Do this before you get pregnant or as soon as you learn you're pregnant.
- Be sure your doctor has a complete list of the medicines you take.
To reduce your risk for preeclampsia, your doctor may recommend taking low-dose aspirin during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
Current as of: July 11, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.