Self-monitoring of blood pressure in pregnancy: A mixed methods evaluation of a national roll-out in the context of a pandemic
Wilson H., Tucker KL., Chisholm A., Hodgkinson J., Lavallee L., Mackillop L., Cairns AE., Hinton L., Podschies C., Chappell LC., McManus RJ.
Objective: To evaluate how English maternity units implemented self-monitoring of blood pressure (SMBP) in pregnancy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Design: Mixed methods including surveys, anonymised patient data and in-depth interviews with women. Setting: Maternity units across England. Participants: 45 maternity units completed a survey about the implementation of SMBP (supported by the provision of guidance and blood pressure monitors) during the pandemic, 166 women completed a survey about their experiences of SMBP, and 23 women took part in in-depth interviews. Clinical data from 627 women undertaking SMBP were available from 13 maternity units. Results: SMBP was predominantly used to provide additional BP monitoring for hypertensive or high-risk pregnant women. Overall maternity units and women were positive about its use in terms of reducing the need for additional face-to-face contacts and giving women more control and insight into their own BP. However, there were challenges in setting up SMBP services rapidly and embedding them within existing care pathways, particularly around interpreting readings and managing the provision of monitors. Conclusions: A considerable proportion of maternity units in England commenced a SMBP service for hypertensive or high-risk women from March 2020. There is a need for further research into appropriate care pathways, including guidance around white coat or masked hypertension and the use of SMBP postnatally.