US Preventative Services Task Force reiterates recommendation for prenatal blood pressure checks

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released today a final recommendation statement on screening for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. The Task Force recommends that all pregnant people have their blood pressure measured throughout pregnancy. Regular prenatal blood pressure checks remain the only recommended screening test for preeclampsia at the time of this publication. To view the recommendation, the evidence on which it is based, and a summary for clinicians, please go here. The final recommendation statement can also be found in the September 19 online issue of JAMA. This recommendation is consistent with the 2017 recommendation statement, which recommends screening with blood pressure measurements throughout pregnancy ("B" recommendation).

The USPSTF is a group of independent volunteer medical experts whose recommendations help guide doctors’ decisions. While it is already standard practice for blood pressure measurements to be taken during every prenatal visit, the official USPSTF recommendation gives health practitioners a definable treatment plan and the weight of expert opinion. Going forward, pregnant people might notice their doctor paying closer attention to their blood pressure during routine visits. 

"The Task Force continues to find that measuring blood pressure at each prenatal visit is an effective way to screen for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy,” says Task Force member Esa Davis, M.D., M.P.H. “Because these conditions can cause serious health issues, screening is an important way to keep pregnant people and their babies healthy.”

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