Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (also known as pregnancy-associated hypertensive disorders, pregnancy induced hypertension) are the most common complications that occur during pregnancy and are a major cause of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. These disorders include gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, eclampsia, chronic hypertension, and chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia. If left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to a life-threatening complication called HELLP (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelet count) syndrome. It is estimated that preeclampsia alone complicates 2-8% of pregnancies globally.
Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy include five categories of hypertension and are defined as such by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG):
Gestational Hypertensive Disorders
- Gestational hypertension. Defined as a systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or more, and/or diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or more on two blood pressure readings at least four (4) hours apart after 20 weeks of gestation in a woman with previously normal blood pressure. Gestational hypertension does not persist longer than 12 weeks postpartum and usually resolves after a week postpartum.
- Preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-specific condition and is defined as a new-onset of hypertension that occurs most often after 20 weeks of gestation. Blood pressure is elevated more than 140 mm Hg systolic, more than 90 mm Hg diastolic. Hypertension is usually accompanied by new-onset proteinuria although other signs and symptoms of preeclampsia (thrombocytopenia, impaired liver function, pulmonary edema, visual disturbance) may present in some women in the absence of proteinuria.
- Eclampsia. Eclampsia is the onset of seizure activity or coma in a woman with preeclampsia with no history of preexisting pathology that can result in seizure activity. Seizure leads to severe maternal hypoxia, injury, and aspiration pneumonia. Eclampsia has an increased maternal mortality rate especially in settings with low resources.
Chronic Hypertensive Disorders
- Chronic hypertension. Chronic hypertension as hypertension diagnosed or present before pregnancy or before 20 weeks of gestation. It is more prevalent with increasing late childbearing and in persons with obesity. Additionally, hypertension that is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy and that does not resolve postpartum is also classified as chronic hypertension.
- Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is considered superimposed when it complicates preexisting chronic hypertension. About half of women with chronic hypertension may develop superimposed preeclampsia. It is associated with increased maternal or fetal mortality.
Nursing Care Plans
Nursing care planning and management for pregnant clients with hypertensive disorders or preeclampsia involve early detection, thorough assessment, and prompt treatment of preeclampsia. Another priority is to ensure the mother’s safety and deliver a healthy newborn as close to a full term as possible.
- Decreased Cardiac Output UPDATED!
- Risk for Imbalanced Fluid Volume UPDATED!
- Ineffective Tissue Perfusion UPDATED!
- Risk for Injury UPDATED!
- Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements UPDATED!
- Deficient Knowledge UPDATED!
- Other Possible Nursing Care Plans NEW!
Other Possible Nursing Care Plans
Other possible nursing diagnoses that you can use to develop a nursing care plan for preeclampsia.
- Anxiety related to the fear of the unknown, preeclampsia and its theat to self and infant, change in role funcitoning.
- Decreased Diversional Activity Engagement related to activity limitation and bed rest.
- Interrupted Family Processes related to situational crisis.
- Powerlessness related to complications of pregnancy, inability to prevent or contorl conditions and outcomes.
- Situational Low Self-Esteem related to theat in pregnancy, uncontrolled circumstances.
Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.
- Nursing Care Plans: Nursing Diagnosis and Intervention (10th Edition)
An awesome book to help you create and customize effective nursing care plans. We highly recommend this book for its completeness and ease of use.
- Nurse’s Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Prioritized Interventions and Rationales
A quick-reference tool to easily select the appropriate nursing diagnosis to plan your patient’s care effectively.
- NANDA International Nursing Diagnoses: Definitions & Classification, 2021-2023 (12th Edition)
The official and definitive guide to nursing diagnoses as reviewed and approved by the NANDA-I. This book focuses on the nursing diagnostic labels, their defining characteristics, and risk factors – this does not include nursing interventions and rationales.
- Nursing Diagnosis Handbook, 12th Edition Revised Reprint with 2021-2023 NANDA-I® Updates
Another great nursing care plan resource that is updated to include the recent NANDA-I updates.
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5(TM))
Useful for creating nursing care plans related to mental health and psychiatric nursing.
- Ulrich & Canale’s Nursing Care Planning Guides, 8th Edition
Claims to have the most in-depth care plans of any nursing care planning book. Includes 31 detailed nursing diagnosis care plans and 63 disease/disorder care plans.
- Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans (3rd Edition)
If you’re looking for specific care plans related to maternal and newborn nursing care, this book is for you.
- Nursing Diagnosis Manual: Planning, Individualizing, and Documenting Client Care (7th Edition)
An easy-to-use nursing care plan book that is updated with the latest diagnosis from NANDA-I 2021-2023.
- All-in-One Nursing Care Planning Resource: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Maternity, and Psychiatric-Mental Health (5th Edition)
Definitely an all-in-one resources for nursing care planning. It has over 100 care plans for different nursing topics.
Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:
- Nursing Care Plans (NCP): Ultimate Guide and Database
Over 150+ nursing care plans for different diseases and conditions. Includes our easy-to-follow guide on how to create nursing care plans from scratch.
- Nursing Diagnosis Guide and List: All You Need to Know to Master Diagnosing
Our comprehensive guide on how to create and write diagnostic labels. Includes detailed nursing care plan guides for common nursing diagnostic labels.
Other care plans related to the care of the pregnant mother and her infant:
- Abruptio Placenta | 3 Care Plan
- Cesarean Birth | 10 Care Plans UPDATED!
- Cleft Palate and Cleft Lip | 6 Care Plans
- Dysfunctional Labor (Dystocia) | 4 Care Plans
- Elective Termination | 6 Care Plans
- Gestational Diabetes Mellitus | 8 Care Plans UPDATED!
- Hyperbilirubinemia | 4 Care Plans
- Labor Stages, Induced and Augmented Labor | 36 Care Plans UPDATED!
- Neonatal Sepsis | 5 Care Plans
- Perinatal Loss | 5 Care Plans
- Placenta Previa | 3 Care Plans
- Postpartum Hemorrhage | 8 Care Plans UPDATED!
- Postpartum Thrombophlebitis | 5 Care Plans UPDATED!
- Prenatal Hemorrhage | 9 Care Plans UPDATED!
- Prenatal Substance Dependence/Abuse | 6 Care Plans
- Precipitous Labor | 3 Care Plans
- Preeclampsia and Gestational Hypertension | 6 Care Plans UPDATED!
- Premature Dilation of the Cervix | 3 Care Plans
- Prenatal Infection | 3 Care Plans
- Preterm Labor | 7 Care Plans UPDATED!
- Puerperal Infection | 4 Care Plans
References and Sources
References and sources for this nursing care plan for hypertensive disorders in pregnancy.
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- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Obstetric Practice. (2020). Practice Bulletin #222: Gestational Hypertension and Preeclampsia. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 135, 237-260.
- Arulkumaran, N., & Lightstone, L. (2013). Severe pre-eclampsia and hypertensive crises. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 27(6), 877-884.
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- El Allani, L., Benlamkaddem, S., Berdai, M. A., & Harandou, M. (2020, June 9). A case of massive hepatic infarction in severe preeclampsia as part of the HELLP syndrome. The Pan African Medical Journal, 36(78).
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- Fantasia, H. C. (2018). Low-dose aspirin for the prevention of preeclampsia. Nursing for women’s health, 22(1), 87-92.
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- Fróes, N. B. M., Lopes, M. V. D. O., Pontes, C. M., Ferreira, G. L., & Aquino, P. D. S. (2020). Middle range theory for the nursing diagnosis Excess Fluid Volume in pregnant women. Revista Brasileira de Enfermagem, 73.
- Gallo, D., Poon, L. C., Fernandez, M., Wright, D., & Nicolaides, K. H. (2014, April 15). Prediction of Preeclampsia by Mean Arterial Pressure at 11–13 and 20–24 Weeks’ Gestation. Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy.
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- Khooshideh, M., Ghaffarpour, M., & Bitarafan, S. (2017, July 6). The comparison of anti-seizure and tocolytic effects of phenytoin and magnesium sulfate in the treatment of eclampsia and preeclampsia: A randomised clinical trial. Iranian Journal of Neurology, 16(3), 125-129.
- Leeners, B., Wagner, P. N.-., Kuse, S., Stiller, R., & Rath, W. (2009, July 07). Emotional Stress and the Risk to Develop Hypertensive Diseases in Pregnancy. Hypertension in Pregnancy, 26(2), 211-226.
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- Mayrink, J., Souza, R. T., Feitosa, F. E., Rocha Filho, E. A., Leite, D. F., Vettorazzi, J., … & Cecatti, J. G. (2019). Mean arterial blood pressure: potential predictive tool for preeclampsia in a cohort of healthy nulliparous pregnant women. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 19(1), 1-8.
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- Pradhan, M., Kishore, S.V., & Champatiray, J. (2020, April 4). Effect of low dose aspirin on maternal outcome in women at risk for developing pregnancy-induced hypertension. International Journal of Reproduction, Contraception, Obstetrics and Gynecology, 9(4), 1590+.
- Perry, S. E., Hockenberry, M. J., Lowdermilk, D. L., Wilson, D., Alden, K. R., & Cashion, M. C. (2017). Maternal child nursing care-E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences.
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- Schmidt P, Skelly CL, Raines DA. Placental Abruption. [Updated 2021 Jul 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing.
- Sinkey, R. G., Battarbee, A. N., Bello, N. A., Ives, C. W., Oparil, S., & Tita, A. T.N. (2020, August 27). Prevention, Diagnosis, and Management of Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy: a Comparison of International Guidelines. Current Hypertension Reports, 22(66), 2. Topical Collection on Preeclampsia.
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- Zelalem, A., Endeshaw, M., Ayenew, M., Shiferaw, S., & Yirgu, R. (2017, July 25). Effect of Nutrition Education on Pregnancy Specific Nutrition Knowledge and Healthy Dietary Practice among Pregnant Women in Addis Ababa. Clinics in Mother and Child Health.
With contributions by Marianne B., and Matt V.