Blood pressure measurement in pregnancy and in hypertensive disorders of pregnancy: devices, techniques and challenges

Cardiovasc J Afr. 2019;30(2):120-129. doi: 10.5830/CVJA-2018-067. Epub 2019 Jan 23.


Measurement of blood pressure is essential for clinical management of patients. To obtain an accurate blood pressure reading, the use of a validated device and an appropriate technique are required. This is of particular importance in pregnancy where the physiological changes affect vessel wall compliance. Moreover, currently it is difficult to predict in early pregnancy (prior to 20 weeks of gestation) which women would develop hypertension or pre-eclampsia. For this reason, blood pressure devices require validation in pregnancy and in hypertensive disorders of pregnancy to ensure that accurate readings are obtained and utilised for clinical decisions, otherwise the safety of the mother or the foetus/neonate or both may be compromised. The authors provide a narrative review on devices and techniques for blood pressure measurement in pregnancy and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy as well as the associated challenges.

Keywords: importance of blood pressure measurement; myocardial performance; pre‐eclampsia; rate pressure product; vascular changes in pregnancy; blood pressure devices.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure Determination* / instrumentation
  • Blood Pressure Determination* / methods
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / diagnosis*
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / physiopathology
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / therapy
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Prognosis
  • Reproducibility of Results