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Bed Rest for Hypertension in Pregnancy Not Backed by Strong Evidence

Armen Hareyan's picture

Pregnancy Symptoms: Hypertension

Routine recommendation of bed rest for pregnant women with hypertension is not strongly supported by the limited available research, according to a new systematic review of clinical studies.

In four studies comprising 449 women, bed rest was not shown to reduce the risk of infant death or low birth weight, although two of the studies showed some benefit for women with severe hypertension.

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"Despite the fact that rest is frequently prescribed by clinicians to pregnant women with hypertension, few well-designed trials have evaluated the effects of bed rest for hypertension in pregnancy," says author Shireen Meher, M.D., of the University of Liverpool. "At present, there is insufficient evidence to guide clinical practice on the effects of recommending bed rest to women with hypertension during pregnancy."

The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

Two of the studies involved 145 hospitalized women diagnosed with pre-eclampsia