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"Should pregnant women with pre-eclampsia be treated for high blood pressure?"


During my first pregnancy, I developed moderate pre-eclampsia with very high blood pressure. My doctors did not medically treat the high blood pressure until after the baby was born, because they did not want to "mask" other pre-eclampsia symptoms. Is this common practice?


As you are aware, pre-eclampsia is a serious condition where pregnant women develop severe high blood pressure and also protein in the urine. While it is unclear why this occurs, it most likely occurs because of a reaction that the body has to the placenta. The treatment of pre-eclampsia is very patient specific.

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In some patient's the pre-eclampsia only appears right at the time of delivery and thus, the best decision is to just have the baby which is the only real cure for the condition. In other cases, the blood pressure begins to rise earlier and protein detected in the urine long before it is safe to deliver the child. In these cases, blood pressure control is important in most patients. The agent of choice for most pregnant women is the blood pressure medication Labetalol which works great and does not pass to the fetus. I think your next best move is to schedule an appointment with your OBGYN before you start trying to get pregnant. The two of you can discuss management of this situation if it occurs again. Since you have had pre-eclampsia before, you will be at higher risk of getting it again. You may warrant referral to a maternal fetal medicine specialist for management of a high risk pregnancy. Good luck.

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