[Arterial hypertension in pregnancy]

Rev Med Brux. 2008 Sep;29(4):340-5.
[Article in French]


Hypertensive disorders are the most common medical disorders of pregnancy and are associated with adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes. When considering pregnancy, women with pre-existing chronic hypertension should be screened for target organ damage, especially renal dysfunction. Since blood pressure usually decreases until midpregnancy and returns to, or exceeds, prepregnancy values in the third trimester, antihypertensive treatment can sometimes be withdrawn in low-risk women, and reintroduced if needed. Recommended antihypertensive drugs are labetalol, methyldopa and nifedipine. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor antagonists and atenolol must be avoided. The occurrence of superimposed preeclampsia should be detected by appropriate clinical and laboratory evaluation. Preeclampsia is a multisystem maternal and fetal syndrome. The risk of preeclampsia is slightly reduced by low-dose aspirin and by calcium supplementation in women with low dietary calcium intake. For early-onset preeclampsia, expectant management improves perinatal outcomes, but requires close maternal and fetal surveillance. For acute management of severe hypertension, intravenous labetalol and oral nifedipine are recommended. Delivery is indicated in the presence of signs of maternal or fetal distress. Magnesium sulfate is indicated for the prophylaxis and the treatment of eclampsia. Most antihypertensive agents are compatible with breast feeding. Early-onset or severe preeclampsia increase the risk of remote chronic hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use
  • Calcium / therapeutic use
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Magnesium Sulfate / therapeutic use
  • Pre-Eclampsia / drug therapy
  • Pre-Eclampsia / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • Aspirin
  • Calcium