Pregnancy - High BP


Preeclampsia can occur during the second half of pregnancy and in the postpartum period. Preeclampsia is a potentially serious problem that can progress to eclampsia (life-threatening, seizures). Other terms that mean the same thing are pregnancy-induced-hypertension and toxemia. 

Preeclampsia should be considered in any patient having high blood pressure and who is more than 20 weeks pregnant. It can also happen in the postpartum period between 0 and 6 weeks after delivery. 

  • Symptoms: Clinical presentation typically consists of persistent headache, visual symptoms (spots or flashing lights), epigastric pain, hand and face swelling, and sudden weight gain (e.g., 3 lbs or 1.4 kg in one week). 

  • Examination: Blood pressure over 140/90 

  • Testing: Protein in urine 

The appropriate triage disposition is referral to the Labor & Delivery unit or instructions for the woman to speak with her doctor right away.  


Protocol > Adult High Blood Pressure (there is not a Pregnancy High Blood Pressure Protocol)  

-Although we typically do not consider a BP of 140/90 as emergent or serious that is not the case with pregnant patients. Be mindful of your BP ranges and also other symptoms such as headache, hand and face swelling, etc. with patients who are greater than 20 weeks pregnant. 

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