Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor specialist Home Care BP checks diet warning signs Prevention Outlook Complications Underlying Cause

Toxemia of Pregnancy BP Checks

It is helpful to learn how to monitor your own blood pressure during pregnancy. This can aid in the early detection of preeclampsia.

Taking your Blood Pressure
A number of devices are available for home blood pressure measurement. Digital blood pressure devices are easy to use: they automatically calculate the pulse and display the systolic and diastolic pressures. However, a simple blood pressure cuff with a stethoscope is the most accurate way to measure blood pressure.

Tips for Obtaining an Accurate Blood Pressure

  • Remain seated or lying flat with the arm supported at heart level.
  • No smoking or caffeine for 30 minutes prior to measurement.
  • Rest for 5 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
  • The blood pressure air bladder should nearly encircle the arm: persons with large arms may require an extra large adult cuff. Cuffs are usually marked to indicate the acceptable size range.
  • Apply cuff 1/2 inch above elbow crease.
  • Locate brachial pulse and place the stethoscope bell at this location.
  • With the valve closed, pump up cuff bulb to approximately 210 mm Hg, or a point where no sounds are heard through the stethoscope.
  • Open the valve slowly (2-3 mm Hg per second) and listen for the point where the tapping sounds are first heard. The corresponding reading on the dial is the systolic pressure.
  • Then, listen for the point where the tapping sounds stop. The corresponding reading on the dial is the diastolic pressure.
  • Perform two more readings per session, separated by 5 minutes.
  • The blood pressure must be elevated during at least 3 separate sessions to diagnose hypertension.

Systolic Pressure Guideline for Adults
Systolic Blood PressureAssessment
Over 140-159Hypertension Stage 1
160 or higherHypertension Stage 2

Diastolic Pressure Guideline for Adults
Diastolic Blood PressureAssessment
Below 80Normal
90-99Hypertension Stage 1
100 or higherHypertension Stage 2

Continue to Toxemia of Pregnancy Diet

Last Updated: Dec 23, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Toxemia of Pregnancy References
  1. Bhattacharya S, Campbell DM. The incidence of severe complications of preeclampsia. Hypertens Pregnancy. 2005;24(2):181-90. [16036402]
  2. Conde-Agudelo A, Villar J, Lindheimer M. World Health Organization systematic review of screening tests for preeclampsia. Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Dec;104(6):1367-91. [15572504]
  3. de Jong CL, Dekker GA, Sibai BM. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system in preeclampsia. A review. Clin Perinatol. 1991 Dec;18(4):683-711. [1662573]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.