A Proposed Plan for Prenatal Care to Minimize Risks of COVID-19 to Patients and Providers: Focus on Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy

John R. Barton, George R. Saade, Baha M. Sibai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Hypertensive disorders are the most common medical complications of pregnancy and a major cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and death. The detection of elevated blood pressure during pregnancy is one of the cardinal aspects of optimal antenatal care. With the outbreak of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the risk for person-to-person spread of the virus, there is a desire to minimize unnecessary visits to health care facilities. Women should be classified as low risk or high risk for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and adjustments can be accordingly made in the frequency of maternal and fetal surveillance. During this pandemic, all pregnant women should be encouraged to obtain a sphygmomanometer. Patients monitored for hypertension as an outpatient should receive written instructions on the important signs and symptoms of disease progression and provided contact information to report the development of any concern for change in status. As the clinical management of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia is the same, assessment of urinary protein is unnecessary in the management once a diagnosis of a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy is made. Pregnant women with suspected hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and signs and symptoms associated with the severe end of the disease spectrum (e.g., headaches, visual symptoms, epigastric pain, and pulmonary edema) should have an evaluation including complete blood count, serum creatinine level, and liver transaminases (aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase). Further, if there is any evidence of disease progression or if acute severe hypertension develops, prompt hospitalization is suggested. Current guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) for management of preeclampsia with severe features suggest delivery after 34 0/7 weeks of gestation. With the outbreak of COVID-19, however, adjustments to this algorithm should be considered including delivery by 30 0/7 weeks of gestation in the setting of preeclampsia with severe features. Key Points Outbreak of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) warrants fewer office visits. Women should be classified for hypertension risk in pregnancy. Earlier delivery suggested with COVID-19 and hypertensive disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)837-844
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
Volume37
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • coronavirus
  • hypertension in pregnancy
  • preeclampsia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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