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Pregnancy Topics..

You are here : home > Pregnancy > Medical Aspects of Pregnancy > Hypertension drugs (antihypertensives)

Hypertension drugs (antihypertensives)

Learn about the effects of hypertension drugs during pregnancy and drugs that are prescribed during pregnancy to manage hypertension.

Angiotensen converting enzyme inhibitors have been associated with foetal death in-utero.  They should not be used during pregnancy.  Another antihypertensive drug, diazoxide, enters the foetal circulation and may cause foetal bradycardia. 

Hyperglycaemia has been observed in the newborn.  Diazoxide is a potent relaxant of uterine smooth muscle and may inhibit uterine contractions if taken during labour.  There diazoxide should be used with extreme caution during labour.  The use of another drug, reserpine, near term can result in nasal discharge, lethargy and poor feeding in the newborn.

(i) Beta-Blockers - The principle effect of atenolol as a cardioselective beta-adrenoreceptor blocking agent is to reduce cardiac activity by diminishing or preventing beta-adrenoreceptor stimulation, thereby reducing the response of the heart to stress and exercise. In angina pectoris, this reduced oxygen consumption and increases exercise tolerance of the heart.



For Children:

Not recommended

For Pregnant Women:

No evidence of risk

For Breastfeeding Mothers:

Use with caution


Sinus bradycardia


Hepatic and liver dysfunction

(ii) Calcium Channel Blockers - In the treatment and prophylaxis of angina pectoris and in hypertension, nifedipine acts by reducing cardiac work and myocardial oxygen and by reducing peripheral resistance and heart load. But pregnant women should not use this drug as it may harm the foetus.

(iii) Ace Inhibitor - Emalapril is an orally active (antinogen II converting enzyme) ace inhibitor, lowering peripheral vascular resistance without increasing heart rate. It is an ideal anti-hypertensive for patients intolerant to beta-blockers. It is useful in treating congestive cardiac failure. But pregnant women should not use this drug as it may harm the foetus.

Hypertension Drugs during Pregnancy

Medical interventions become a necessity when your blood pressure increases to 180/120. Let us take a look at some medications that are prescribed to handle this condition.

Note* the details about hypertension drugs mentioned below are just for the information purpose only. These drugs should be strictly taken only under obstetrician’s supervision.


 Experts have carried out extensive research on Methldopa and have been suggested several times to treat hypertension among pregnant women. The drug works by affecting the nervous system and stops medulla oblongata in brain from giving of signals to constrict blood vessels. Doctors generally recommend 500mgs to 4gms that is divided into 2-4 doses. This drug is also given intravenously.


Labetalol is another first line medication prescribed to treat hypertension in pregnancy. You are generally advised to take 100mg of this drug twice every day. Sometimes the dose is increased to 800mg for a week. It can also be given intravenously.


Nifedipine helps relaxing blood vessels and also lowers the heart rate. According to research studies, it is safe to consume this medicine in pregnancy under doctor’s supervision. Doctors generally prefer the long acting formula when suggesting this drug. You shall be advised to take 30mg every day. If required your daily dose may be increased to 90mg. However, you need to be careful and see these drugs are not lowering your blood pressure too much. Using the variants that dissolve in your mouth easily is not very recommended, as it might cause your pressure to fluctuate unpredictably.

Clonidine and Atenolol

Clonidine and Atenolol are some other probable options suggested in pregnancy. However, these have not been used very extensively among pregnant women yet.


Hydralazine is another drug taken intravenously or orally to treat hypertension in pregnancy. It is generally used intravenouslyto reduce high blood pressures.

Medicines to be Avoided

Drugs like Capoten and Vasotec must be avoided, as these are known to interfere with ability of the body to produce chemicals that causes constriction of arteries in pregnancy. This often results in birth defects such as renal defects, small foetal head, neonatal death or absence of urine. These drugs must be avoided completely in pregnancy especially in the second and the third trimester.

Except few diuretics like HCTZ or Microzide and Lasix that clears additional fluid to lower blood pressure and dilates blood vessels, it must be avoided in pregnancy.

Propanolol reduces heart rate to lower blood pressure. This drug is known to be linked with risks such as neonatal hypoglycaemia, growth retardation and foetal bradycardia.

Taking care of your rising blood pressure is extremely essential to keep at bay problems like preeclampsia. The only way you can cure the disorder is once you have delivered your baby. Your doctor shall look into severity of the disease and see if it is necessary to deliver your child.

Importance of Treating Hypertension

You need to remember that treatment for hypertension in pregnancy is highly essential. You cannot rule out the possibilities of a heart attack, stroke or other problems in pregnancy. Moreover, it can also be very harmful for the baby developing inside. You need to rely on your obstetrician for the safest possible medication in appropriate dose. You must follow his or her instructions well and take them as long as you are advised. Do not attempt to stop or lower the dose altogether all by you.

However, you also need to keep in mind that hypertension and pregnancy need not always be a very dangerous combination. With early intervention and proper medical assistance you can always enjoy a relatively hassle free pregnancy. So, make sure to follow the advice of your obstetrician and follow healthy lifestyle choices.

What are the risks of hypertension during pregnancy? How to prevent hypertension or high blood pressure during pregnancy? Which hypertension drugs are unsafe during pregnancy? Discuss here.

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Vrinda.5 years ago
what are the natural ways of lowering the blood pressure. i do not want to take any medicines during my pregnancy?
Malti.5 years ago
is it safe to take blood pressure medicines during pregnancy?
Rean.5 years ago
i have high blood pressure and am 4 weeks pregnant. i haven't checked my bp for quite a time now, but it seems that my bp is high. can i take my bp medicines?
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