Chronic Hypertension in Pregnancy: Deciding to Deliver

Medically reviewed by Melanie Smith, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MAWritten by the Healthline Editorial Team on March 15, 2012

Chronic hypertension carries significant risk to the baby. Studies show that high blood pressure can decrease placental blood flow and hinder the growth and development of a baby.

If fetal monitoring (ultrasound) indicates growth restriction, other tests are performed to monitor your baby's response to growth restriction. If additional fetal testing, including nonstress test (monitoring fetal heart rate) and biophysical profile (specialized ultrasound evaluation), indicate inability of your baby to tolerate growth restriction, you and your doctor should discuss whether your baby would benefit from early delivery with continued growth and development outside the womb. Your doctor weighs many factors in this decision, including the severity of the growth restriction and how far along you are in your pregnancy.

If continuing the pregnancy will cause more harm than benefit to you and your baby, your doctor may recommend inducing labor and delivering the baby prematurely.

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