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Clinical Crossroads
October 3, 2007

A 30-Year-Old Woman With Chronic Hypertension Trying to Conceive

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Dr Powrie is Associate Professor, Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology and Senior Vice President for Quality and Clinical Effectiveness, Women and Infants' Hospital, Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island, and Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

JAMA. 2007;298(13):1548-1558. doi:10.1001/jama.298.13.1548

Mrs F is a 30-year-old woman with a history of chronic hypertension and possible preeclampsia during her first pregnancy. She is currently trying to conceive and wants to know how her hypertension will affect a future pregnancy and how it should best be managed, both now and during a pregnancy. The management of chronic hypertension before, during, and after a pregnancy is discussed with an emphasis on the goals of treatment and safety of medications during pregnancy and with breastfeeding. Preeclampsia is the most common complication of chronic hypertension in pregnancy and is a particular worry for Mrs F because she may have had it with her prior pregnancy. The current understanding of the pathogenesis of this enigmatic illness is therefore also reviewed, along with its implications for long-term maternal health.