The combination of essential hypertension and pregnancy is not uncommon. Its frequency depends on the criteria for the diagnosis of essential hypertension. Ideally the only cases to be included should be those whose diastolic blood pressure remains at or above 90 millimetres of mercury after 48 hours of rest in bed. However, less strict criteria are accepted, such as the finding of a blood pressure of or exceeding 140/90 and confirmed subsequent to the first visit but before the 20th week of pregnancy. Using the latter criterion the incidence is approximately 1 per cent.
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