Etiology and management of postpartum hypertension-preeclampsia

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Jun;206(6):470-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2011.09.002. Epub 2011 Sep 16.


Postpartum hypertension can be related to persistence of gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, or preexisting chronic hypertension, or it could develop de novo postpartum secondary to other causes. There are limited data describing the etiology, differential diagnosis, and management of postpartum hypertension-preeclampsia. The differential diagnosis is extensive, and varies from benign (mild gestational or essential hypertension) to life-threatening such as severe preeclampsia-eclampsia, pheochromocytoma, and cerebrovascular accidents. Therefore, medical providers caring for postpartum women should be educated about continued monitoring of signs and symptoms and prompt management of these women in a timely fashion. Evaluation and management should be performed in a stepwise fashion and may require a multidisciplinary approach that considers predelivery risk factors, time of onset, associated signs/symptoms, and results of selective laboratory and imaging findings. The objective of this review is to increase awareness and to provide a stepwise approach toward the diagnosis and management of women with persistent and/or new-onset hypertension-preeclampsia postpartum period.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / diagnosis
  • Hypertension* / epidemiology
  • Hypertension* / etiology
  • Hypertension* / therapy
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / diagnosis
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / therapy
  • Incidence
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnosis
  • Pre-Eclampsia / therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Puerperal Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Puerperal Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Puerperal Disorders* / etiology
  • Puerperal Disorders* / therapy


  • Antihypertensive Agents