I have been invited to take part in a medical trial, how exciting. It is for self monitoring of blood pressure during pregnancy – for women at risk of high blood pressure.

As you know I have ‘white coat syndrome’ which leads to misleadingly high and wildly fluctuating blood pressure readings. Also my mum had high blood pressure during pregnancy so there’s a concern I might too. This makes both me and my midwife nervous about getting a true blood pressure reading from me in order to accurately spot high blood pressure if/when it genuinely occurs. The concerns are either:

  • I could have to sit in hospital for an afternoon (maybe several times) and be monitored only for them to tell me my blood pressure is actually normal.
  • Genuine high blood pressure might be missed.

The idea with this trial is that you are given the equipment to regularly monitor your own blood pressure at home and upload your results, and you have regular telephone conversations with a midwife. This is supposed to spot high blood pressure early, save time on monitoring, and provide peace of mind for everybody.

Today was my first upload. I had to use the electronic cuff five times at ten minute intervals, and this uploaded automatically. I also had to do a urine dip for protein. The midwife then phoned me at a prearranged time.

It was very straightforward to use the equipment, and my readings came out within the range of what is ‘normal’ for me. The urine dip did not show any protein. When the midwife called she asked me a few questions about my health and indicators of high blood pressure. Based on all this she said she felt I did not need any further investigation today.

This will be repeated weekly.

I’m very happy with the arrangement. It makes me feel better to be doing regular routine monitoring to spot patterns, so that if anything comes out genuinely unusual it will be flagged up and dealt with at the appropriate juncture.