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Gestational hypertension

Lissa Magloire, MD
Edmund F Funai, MD
Section Editor
Charles J Lockwood, MD, MHCM
Deputy Editor
Vanessa A Barss, MD, FACOG


Gestational hypertension and preeclampsia/eclampsia are hypertensive disorders induced by pregnancy; both disorders resolve postpartum. Gestational hypertension is the most common cause of hypertension in pregnant women.


Gestational hypertension is a clinical diagnosis defined by the new onset of hypertension (systolic blood pressure ≥140 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure ≥90 mmHg) at ≥20 weeks of gestation in the absence of proteinuria or new signs of end-organ dysfunction [1]. The blood pressure readings should be documented on at least two occasions at least four hours apart. Gestational hypertension is severe when systolic blood pressure is ≥160 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure is ≥110 mmHg on two consecutive blood pressure measurements at least four hours apart [1-4].

Gestational hypertension is a temporary diagnosis for hypertensive pregnant women who do not meet criteria for preeclampsia (table 1) or chronic hypertension (hypertension first detected before the 20th week of pregnancy). The diagnosis is changed to:

Preeclampsia, if proteinuria or new signs of end-organ dysfunction develop

Chronic (primary or secondary) hypertension, if blood pressure elevation persists ≥12 weeks postpartum


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Literature review current through: Sep 2015. | This topic last updated: Jul 7, 2015.
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