Hypertension in Pregnancy Clinic

Based in St Thomas’ Hospital, the hypertension in pregnancy clinic gives specialist care to pregnant women with high blood pressure (hypertension). Since it opened in May 2015, the clinic has seen over 190 women, who directly benefit from the research taking place in Tommy’s centres.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects around 1 in 10 pregnancies and is a major cause of maternal death in the UK.

Mothers are at risk of stroke and damage to their kidneys, while babies can be born too early or may be underweight. There are different types of hypertension in pregnancy. The most common are chronic (pre-existing) hypertension and pre-eclampsia.

Chronic high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia

In 2015, Tommy’s opened the Hypertension in Pregnancy Clinic at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. The clinic, which is led by Professor Lucy Chappell and Dr Kate Harding, primarily cares for women with chronic hypertension, although we also see women with pre-eclampsia or women who had pre-eclampsia in a previous pregnancy.

Our aim is to improve outcomes for women and their babies by providing specialist support and treatment, and we work alongside hospital or community midwives to look after women for the whole of their pregnancy. So far, we have cared for over 190 women.

Research is an important part of our work, and 3 out of 4 women seen in our clinic take part in at least one study. A key aim of our research is working out how to identify the women and babies who are at high risk of the complications associated with high blood pressure, so that we can make sure they receive the right level of care.

Treating high blood pressure without harming the baby

We are also looking into the best way to treat high blood pressure without harming mother or baby. In the future, we want to study how the placenta works in women who have both high blood pressure and diabetes, as the majority of these women develop pre-eclampsia, give birth prematurely and have underweight babies.

Join the fight for healthy pregnancies and babies

Tommy's funds research across the UK investigating the reasons for miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, and fighting to make pregnancy and birth safer. We can keep you updated on ways you can support our work. If you would like to join our fight, click here.

More about Tommy's research

  • Three pregnant women sitting in a row

    Research into health and wellbeing in pregnancy

    In addition to our core work on miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth and pre-eclampsia, Tommy’s also funds projects that research the effects of lifestyle and well-being on pregnancy and on the later life of the child.

  • Team of researchers

    Research into stillbirth

    When a baby dies after 24 weeks of gestation, it is called a stillbirth. Nearly 3000 families a year get the devastating news that their baby is not alive. Our research is helping to change this.

  • Nurse monitoring premature baby in hospital

    Research into premature birth

    Around 60,000 babies are born prematurely each year in the UK. These babies are vulnerable – they are born before they have grown to cope with the outside world. Tommy’s is saving lives by researching how we can prevent premature births by finding those at risk early on.

  • Clinical researcher looking at test tube

    Research into miscarriage

    Miscarriage is the most common complication of pregnancy with 1 in 4 women experiencing at least 1 miscarriage during their reproductive lifetime. This is a quarter of all mothers-to-be, a quarter of all families affected by loss.

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