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Preeclampsia and Hypertension in Pregnancy: Resource Overview

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, including preeclampsia, complicate up to 10% of pregnancies worldwide, constituting one of the greatest causes of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality worldwide. As leaders in women’s health care, ob-gyns play a leading role in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of hypertension in pregnancy and preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is a serious condition that typically starts after the 20th week of pregnancy; high blood pressure is a main contributing factor. The rate of preeclampsia in the US has increased 25% in the last two decades and is a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death.

Here are the key publications and resources for ob-gyns, other women’s health care providers, and patients from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and other sources.

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Resources for Ob-Gyns and Women’s Health Care Providers
Resources for Women and Patients
External Organizations

Resources for Ob-Gyns and Women’s Health Care Providers

Task Force Report: Hypertension in Pregnancy

The Task Force Report "Hypertension in Pregnancy", issued by ACOG on November 14, 2013, reviewed available data and reported evidence-based recommendations for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The report concluded that preeclampsia can be diagnosed without high levels of protein in the urine (proteinuria). It recommended daily low-dose aspirin to help prevent preeclampsia in very high-risk women, and the use of magnesium sulfate for severe preeclampsia, eclampsia, or HELLP syndrome.

Committee Opinion: Emergent Therapy for Acute-Onset, Severe Hypertension During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period

“Emergent Therapy for Acute-Onset, Severe Hypertension During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period,” issued by ACOG in February, 2015, are guidelines developed by the Committee on Obstetrics Practice for providers. Severe hypertension (systolic of 160 mm HG or higher, or diastolic of 110 mm HG or higher) that lasts more than 15 minutes in both pregnant and postpartum women with preeclampsia or eclampsia is a hypertensive emergency. It is a major predictor to cerebral hemorrhage and, if not treated quickly and appropriately, can lead to maternal death. The report provides medical protocols for treatment.

Maternal Safety Bundle for Severe Hypertension in Pregnancy

The Maternal Safety Bundle for Severe Hypertension in Pregnancy, issued on January 14, 2014, is a slide set for ob-gyns and health care providers developed as part of the Safe Motherhood Initiative, a collaborative project of ACOG, District II, and the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Women’s Health.

California Preeclampsia Toolkit

The California Preeclampsia Toolkit, released in January, 2014, was developed by the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC) Preeclampsia Task Force, co-chaired by ACOG District IX Fellows Maurice Druzin, MD and Laurence Shields, MD and CMQCC Clinical Director Nancy Peterson, RNC, PNNP. The primary aim of the toolkit is to guide and support obstetric providers and health care organizations to develop processes for timely recognition and an organized response to preeclampsia.

 


Resources for Women and Patients

Preeclampsia and High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

“Preeclampsia and High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy,” issued by ACOG in August, 2011, was developed for patients who may have questions about high blood pressure in pregnancy, chronic high blood pressure, gestational hypertension, and preeclampsia. It defines preeclampsia as a serious medical condition affecting all organs of the body. Preeclampsia causes stress on the kidneys, for example, which results in increased amounts of protein in the woman’s urine. Other signs of preeclampsia may include headaches, visual problems, rapid weight gain, swelling (edema) of the hands and face.

 


External Organizations

Preeclampsia Foundation

The Preeclampsia Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides patient education and support for people whose lives have been or will be affected by preeclampsia: mothers, babies, fathers, and their families. ACOG is a Preeclampsia Month Awareness Partner with the foundation.

University of Oxford's iHOPE (International Collaboration to Harmonise Outcomes for Pre-Eclampsia ) Project

The University of Oxford's iHOPE project aims to improve pre-eclampsia research by developing a core set of maternal and offspring outcomes that would be common to all future pre-eclampsia research and that would to enable healthcare professionals to provide better treatments and care for pregnant women and their babies.


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 57,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality women’s health care, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care.

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998