1. Mean arterial pressure, heart rate, cardiac output (dye-dilution technique), stroke volume, total peripheral resistance (TPR), utero—placental blood supply (microsphere technique) and foetal weights were determined 2 days before expected birth in normotensive control (NC) rats, spontaneously hypertensive (SH) rats, rats with short-standing renal hypertension induced early in pregnancy and rats with established renal hypertension induced 4 weeks before pregnancy. Non-pregnant rats in comparable states served as controls.
2. In normal pregnancy cardiac output increased by 33% and blood pressure and TPR decreased by 17 and 38% respectively. The same principal changes were noted in SH rats and those with short-standing renal hypertension, but no changes were found in rats with established renal hypertension during pregnancy.
3. Myometrial and placental blood supply was lower in all hypertensive groups compared with NC rats, the reduction being 46 and 36% in SH rats and in rats with established renal hypertension as much as 74 and 68% respectively.
4. In SH rats foetal weights were reduced compared with NC rats, but despite the 68% reduction of placental blood flow in rats with established renal hypertension foetal weights were here unchanged.