Gestational Hypertension

What is gestational hypertension?

Gestational hypertension is high blood pressure (≥140/90mmHg) that occurs after you’re 20 weeks pregnant.

Risk factors

You’re more likely to have gestational hypertension when you’re pregnant if:

  • This is your first pregnancy.
  • You’re expecting twins or more.
  • You’re of black ethnic origin.
  • You were obese at the start of your pregnancy.
  • Body mass index is 35 or more.
  • You had type 1 diabetes before you were pregnant.

Treatment

Treatment of gestational hypertension includes:

  • Regular measurements of your blood pressure and urine tests to check for protein in the urine. 
  • If your blood pressure is severe you may need admission to hospital so your blood pressure can be safely reduced.
  • Regular assessment of signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia
  • Blood test to check your blood count, liver and kidney function.
  • Extra ultrasound scans to see baby’s growth.
  • If your blood pressure remains above 140/90mmHg, you’ll be given medication to bring it down.
  • Medication may need to carry on after pregnancy if your blood pressure remains high post-delivery.
  • The need for medication should be reviewed post-delivery with the obstetric team and then your GP at the 6-8 week postnatal check.


Unfortunately, you’re more likely to develop high blood pressure in a future pregnancy, and later in life if you have had gestational hypertension. This means that you have a higher risk of future cardiovascular problems, and this is why POPPY is so important to try to understand this risk more. With this knowledge, you can make healthier lifestyle and diet choices now, that may make a difference in the future.