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15 October 2004

Is it OK to become pregnant if I have hypertension?

Hypertension increases the risk of a condition known as preeclampsia, which is usually characterised by elevated blood pressure and retention of water and salt.

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Hypertension increases the risk of a condition known as preeclampsia, which is usually characterised by elevated blood pressure and retention of water and salt, resulting in weight gain, swelling of the face, ankles and hands.

During your pregnancy, your doctor and gynaecologist will keep a close eye on your blood pressure and will probably prescribe beta blockers or vasodilators, but not ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptors, which retard the growth of the foetus and can lead to birth defects or even death.

Preeclampsia is more common in women with hypertension, obesity, kidney disease or diabetes, teenage mothers, mothers older than 40, and women of African descent.

Read more:
How can I avoid pregnancy?
Dangers of pregnancy drinking

 
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