University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine
Spring 2000

Pressure on the Womb

Blood pressure medication during pregnancy lowers child's birth weight

Pregnant women who take medication to treat mild to moderate increases in blood pressure may be harming the health of their unborn children. Researchers from U of T, Mount Sinai Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children examined data from 45 randomized studies involving almost 4,000 women who took blood pressure medication during pregnancy and found that many of these women’s children were born with a lower-than-average birth weight. About half of the growth reduction was attributed to the blood pressure treatments – an impact similar to that caused by smoking. Such growth impairment in an unborn child could increase the risk of health problems for newborns and affect childhood development, says senior study author Dr. Laura Magee.

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