Gestational Hypertension and Pre-eclampsia

After 20 weeks of gestation, for patients without any prior history of blood pressure problems, persistently increased blood pressure may represent gestational hypertension or preeclapmsia. Gestational hypertension describes cases in which elevated blood pressure is present without any other additional abnormalities. Preeclampsia is a syndrome defined by hypertension and proteinuria (i.e., when abnormally high protein levels are found in urine), and may be associated with myriad of other signs and symptoms, such as increased swelling of the feet, ankles, hands, and face, visual disturbances, headache, and upper abdominal pain. Preeclampsia is a more severe problem than straight-forward gestational hypertension. Severe preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome are complications that may require delivery even if patients are remote from full term. During your pregnancy it is routine to check your blood pressure and urine at each visit. This way, we can check for early signs of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia. Once diagnosed, both moms and babies are monitored a lot closer and may need to be hospitalized.