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Blood pressure decreases at the beginning of a normal pregnancy, rising slowly
during gestation to reach levels similar to those before pregnancy at term.
However, one in ten women experiences high blood pressure at some point before
or during childbirth.
Key messages
􀃎 The use of antihypertensive drug therapy decreases the risk of severe
hypertension during pregnancy.
􀃎 Beta blockers seem to be better than methyldopa in reducing the risk of severe
hypertension during pregnancy.
􀃎 Large randomised trials are needed to determine whether antihypertensive
therapy for mild-moderate hypertension during pregnancy prevents preeclampsia,
fetal-neonatal death, preterm birth, or the risk of having a smallfor-
gestational-age baby.


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