Pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure in pregnancy

High blood pressure problems shortly after birth and late onset pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia can still be a concern for several weeks after birth. Women can still have high blood pressure or go on to develop pre-eclampsia up to eight weeks after giving birth. For those who were ill during pregnancy, it can take a while for their health to return to normal and their blood pressure may need to be controlled by medication for some time. Women are monitored whilst recovering in hospital after giving birth, and usually have health checks after discharge. It is advised by doctors that women who have had pre-eclampsia see their GP on a yearly basis for health checks (see also section on future health).

Not everyone we interviewed was told about the risks of high blood pressure problems and pre-eclampsia after birth, and it could come as a shock. Some thought it should be flagged more clearly. Paige found out about the risks from a family friend who had experienced it herself. For Angela, the possibility got “stuck in my head” and made her anxious.
Returning to hospital

Some of the women we spoke to needed to go back into hospital because of high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia after giving birth and being discharged home. Vicki was re-admitted after she began to feel unwell. Although she thought it was scary for her husband being told to “just follow the ambulance with the new baby” when she was taken into hospital, the stay helped get her blood pressure back under control: “it kept going down when I was there [… partly because] when you are in hospital, you have got your feet up and you are doing nothing”.

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