Hypertension in pregnancy
In around 1 in 10 pregnancies, the mother develops high blood pressure, protein in her urine and fluid retention during the second half of pregnancy—a condition that can trigger pregnancy complication called preeclampsia. Research suggests that preeclampsia is linked with poor placental size and function, and with lowered activity of some placental enzymes. If left untreated, it can seriously affect the development of the baby and, in some cases, may progress to eclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition in which fits may also occur. If you develop high blood pressure during pregnancy, it is important to follow any advice and treatment suggested by your doctor and obstetrician.

What Causes High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy high blood pressure is defined as blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg. This can result in severe health problems in the mother and the baby if it continues beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy. Some probable causes of high blood pressure during pregnancy are:

  • Being overweight or obese at the time of conception
  • Lifestyle issues such as smoking or intake of alcohol
  • Sedentary lifestyle with no exercise
  • Multiple pregnancy
  • Maternal age above 40 years at the time of pregnancy
  • First pregnancy or an assisted technique pregnancy
  • Family history of preeclampsia, or chronic hypertension

Women who have had a pre-existing high blood pressure are more at risk of developing hypertension during pregnancy. High blood pressure can cause some serious complications during pregnancy and delivery, the most prominent being preeclampsia. Preeclampsia can cause low fetal weight, complications in delivery, preterm birth, placental abruption and a higher risk of c-sections. In its worst state, it may take the shape of eclampsia which can cause fits and can be potentially fatal.

How Can I Prevent High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy?

Hereditary and age related factors cannot be controlled, but there are some ways to keep hypertension at bay during pregnancy, such as:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight: When you start your pregnancy at a healthy weight, you considerably reduce your chances of developing a high blood pressure. Though you will definitely gain weight in your pregnancy, chalk out a plan with your doctor who will weigh your height, weight and lifestyle to give you weight gain targets. Stay in the limits
  • Getting some exercise: Light activities like walking and yoga can help you keep yourself physically active, thereby reducing your chances of getting hypertension during pregnancy
  • Keeping up with prenatal visits: There is a reason that prenatal visits are scheduled the way they are. Make sure you never miss them
  • Ditching smoking and alcohol: Though your doctor may say that moderate consumption of alcohol is alright, we’d suggest that you completely ditch alcohol and smoking and kick off these bad habits
  • Kicking the excess salt off: Excessive intake of salt can cause a spike in blood pressure levels. Limit your salt intake to just about 1500 mg, though 2400 mg is considered fine to consume. Also, remember to check the labels of the foods you eat- processed foods, fast food and many drinks carry salt even though they do not taste salty
  • Reducing stress: Stress, anxiety and anxiousness can make your blood pressure shoot up. Learn relaxation techniques to keep stress at bay, such as meditation and breathing

Preeclampsia high bp

15 Tips To Reduce High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
  1. Taking garlic powder tablets during pregnancy seems to improve maternal blood circulation, stimulate growth of the placenta and increase enzyme activity. Scientists are hoping that garlic extracts can be used to treat poor placental function and preeclampsia
  2. Folic acid supplements may help to protect against high blood pressure and preeclampsia during pregnancy as well as protecting against neural tube defects
  3. A high calcium diet may help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia during pregnancy as well as reducing the risk of pregnancy-associated osteoporosis
  4. Consider taking an antioxidant supplement containing vitamins C and E
  5. Follow a low salt diet. Unfortunately, three quarters of dietary salt is ‘hidden’ in processed foods such as canned products, ready-prepared meals, biscuits, cakes and breakfast cereals. Cut back on salt intake by not adding salt during cooking or at the table, and by avoiding:
    • obviously salty foods such as crisps, bacon and salted nuts
    • tinned products canned in brine
    • cured, smoked or pickled fish and meats
    • meat pastes and pates
    • ready prepared meals
    • packet soups and sauces
    • stock cubes and yeast extracts
  6. Salt is easily replaced with herbs, spices, lemon or lime juice as it doesn’t take long to retrain your taste buds
  7. Herbalism can be very helpful, but it is important to consult a herbalist for individually tailored advice. Garlic, for example, has a proven ability to lower a raised blood pressure. Lime flower blossoms may be recommended where high blood pressure is linked with anxiety and stress but drink no more than three cups of infusion or herb tea daily except under the advice of a qualified herbalist
  8. Take regular, gentle exercise. Aerobics and high impact workouts are absolutely off the mark
  9. Try aromatherapy -Rosewood has been shown to be effective in lowering high blood pressure during pregnancy. Use under the supervision of a qualified aromatherapist. Care needs to be taken if you are also taking drugs to lower blood pressure. Other aromatherapy essential oils that can help after the 16th week of pregnancy include geranium, lavender and lemon
  10. Flotation therapy can significantly lower high blood pressure and also helps you to relax
  11. Meditation and Visualization are helpful and can be combined with flotation therapy
  12. Yoga is excellent for relieving stress and reducing high blood pressure
  13. The Alexander technique can help to relieve high blood pressure
  14. Blue or indigo can be used in color therapy to lower a high blood pressure
  15. Other complementary therapies that can help include cymatics, healing, qigong, reflexology and reiki