The Lowdown On High Blood Pressure And Pregnancy

High blood pressure and pregnancy make for a potentially deadly mix for both the mother-to-be as well as her yet-to-be-born baby. Unfortunately, this mix happens in many cases of pregnancy.

The possible complications of having high blood pressure signs and symptoms while pregnant range from mild to severe, including:

  • damage to the kidneys and other organs of the pregnant woman
  • low birth weight
  • premature delivery of the baby
  • the mother could develop preeclampsia (toxemia of pregnancy) which threatens not only her life but that of the unborn baby as well

A pregnant woman who, prior to pregnancy, had normal blood pressure readings may actually develop high blood pressure during the course of her pregnancy. This is called gestational hypertension. While complications would more likely occur with pregnant women who already suffered from hypertension prior to becoming pregnant, precautions still need to be taken even with those who developed gestational hypertension.

What further makes high blood pressure and pregnancy a complicated combination is the fact that it is not possible to “blindly” treat the hypertension of a pregnant woman with high blood pressure drugs. What drugs the mother takes will invariably affect the fetus as well and, while the adult body may tolerate the possible side effects of the medication, the very young body of the fetus may not.

Deformities (external or internal) may form on the fetus as a result of the adverse effect of the medications ingested by the mother. It is, therefore, extremely important that the woman watches what she ingests, especially medicine, but also including alcohol and tobacco. If taking medication for high blood pressure (or any other medical condition for that matter) is unavoidable, this must be done only under the strict supervision and constant monitoring (of both the mother and child) of a physician.

The best ways to treat high blood pressure during pregnancy are the natural methods. A pregnant woman needs to watch what she eats and engage in aerobic exercises to maintain her weight and provide the right level of nutrients for both herself and her baby. Advice must first be sought, however, from the experts in as far as the right food to eat and the safe aerobic exercises to be undertaken.

Quick tips on recommended food include avoidance of red meat, and plenty of fruits and vegetables, including those that are good sources of calcium and potassium, minimizing salt intake (which includes processed foods that are normally high in sodium content). Brisk walking for twenty minutes each day is considered a safe aerobic exercise (except in cases where complete bed rest is required due to the complexity of the pregnancy) but prior clearance from the doctor is best. Another tip: the pregnancy itself is already stressful for a woman. She should avoid further aggravating this by exposing herself to stressful situations or environments else her blood pressure may be difficult to control.

The combination of high blood pressure and pregnancy is inevitable in many women, especially those who are already hypertensive to begin with yet still want to have a baby. While difficult for some, many pregnant and hypertensive women can, and have normal deliveries of healthy babies. It just takes some discipline, professional advice, constant monitoring by a physician, and oftentimes, plain common sense.

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