Management of late preterm and early-term pregnancies complicated by mild gestational hypertension/pre-eclampsia

Baha M Sibai
Seminars in Perinatology 2011, 35 (5): 292-6
Gestational hypertension/pre-eclampsia is the most frequent obstetrical complication, complicating 26%-29% of all gestations in nulliparous women. In general, the diagnosis of mild gestational hypertension/pre-eclampsia is made at 38 weeks or more in approximately 80% of cases. For many years, the optimal timing of delivery for patients with mild gestational hypertension/pre-eclampsia at 37-0/7 to 39-6/7 weeks was unclear. Recently, investigators of the HYPITAT (Pregnancy-induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia after 36 weeks: induction of labor versus expectant monitoring: A comparison of maternal and neonatal outcome, maternal quality of life and costs) randomized trial evaluated maternal and neonatal complications in patients at 36-40 weeks' gestation who were randomized to either induction of labor or expectant monitoring. The results of this trial revealed that induction of labor at or after 37-0 weeks was associated with lower rate of maternal complications without increased rates of either cesarean delivery or neonatal complications. In contrast, the optimum management for those with mild hypertension/pre-eclampsia with stable maternal and fetal conditions at 34-0/7 to 36-6/7 weeks remains uncertain. Therefore, there is urgent need for research to evaluate the reasons for late preterm birth in such women as well as for a randomized trial to evaluate the optimal timing for delivery in such patients.

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