High Blood Pressure During
Pregnancy --10 Natural Remedies
August 19, 2010, last updated January 10, 2013
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By Katrina Devine, Contributing Columnist and Susan Callahan,
Health Editor


After you learn that you are pregnant, having high blood
pressure may be the last thing you think you'll  have to worry
about.  But think again. According to the National Heart Lung and
Blood Institute, 6% to 8% percent of all pregnant women in the
US have blood pressure problems. Approximately 70% of those
cases are first-time pregnancies. Are there natural remedies for
high blood pressure during pregnancy? What foods should you
eat to lower blood pressure during pregnancy safely? What foods
should you avoid if you have high blood pressure and are
pregnant? If you have high blood pressure when you are
pregnant, does that also mean your baby has high blood
pressure?


Why High Blood Pressure Is Dangerous During Pregnancy

According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute high
blood pressure during pregnancy can damage the mother’s
kidneys and other organs. It can also cause low birth weight and
even early delivery. One of the most dangerous side effects of
high blood pressure during pregnancy , especially after the 20th
week, is
preeclampsia. Preeclampsia, in fact, is the second leading
cause of maternal death in the U.S.

Those most at risk from preeclampsia are women who have had
high blood pressure in a previous pregnancy, women who are
obese and women who are under 20 and over 40 years of age.
The National Heart and blood Institute maintain that the numbers
of preeclampsia sufferers has risen in the past few years because
of the amount of older mothers.

[Update:

Having high blood pressure during pregnancy can even affect the
health of your baby 70 years later. A study in 2012 from the
University of Helsinki in Finland followed the health of 876 babies
born in 1934 to 1944 for 70 years. These babies were part of a
large study in Finland called the Helsinki Cohort Study.

Those babies whose mother's had high blood pressure during
pregnancy reported higher rates of cognitive impairment and
forgetfulness in their adult years.]


What is Normal Blood Pressure During Pregnancy?


The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
recommends that your blood pressure when you are pregnant
should be less than 120/80. It the systolic number, the one on
top, is over 140 or the diastolic number is over 90 at any two
readings, then your blood pressure is too high.  When your
second trimester arrives, it is normal to have a shift in blood
pressure readings. Your blood pressure numbers will begin to fall
during the second trimester. How much your blood pressure falls  
will vary with each person. If you experience any dizziness or
discomfort of any sort or if your blood pressure falls below
90/60, you should contact your doctor.

You may be wondering "if I have high blood pressure when I'm
pregnant, will my baby also have high blood pressure?" The
answer here is "no". Many women believe that they share the
same blood circulatory system as their baby, so that their
hypertension is shared automatically with the baby.

Actually, a mother's circulatory system is not directly connected
to her unborn baby's blood circulation. The fetal heart, not the
mother's heart, is responsible for pumping its bloods through its
arteries and veins. Also, the placenta acts as the baby's
respiratory system, since the baby's lungs do not function when
you are pregnant. Your blood is filtered first through the
placenta, then goes into the umbilical cord, then finally to the
baby--- usually by then, at a safe and normal blood pressure.
Normal fetal blood pressure is 30 mmHg by the 20th week of
pregnancy and reaches 45 mmHg by the 40th week, just before
birth. This blood pressure level is much lower than
normal adult
blood pressure of 110/70 to 120/70 mmHg.

But, even though your baby's circulatory system is separate from
your own, this does not mean that your uncontrolled high blood
pressure is not a threat to both you and the baby. Untreated
hypertension can lead to preeclampsia (blood toxemia), which
can lead to seizures and in the most sever cases, death.


10 Natural Remedies for High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy:




























1.
Limit salt intake:  A 1991 study conducted by the Department
of Environmental and Preventive Medicine, Medical College of St
Bartholomew's Hospital, London, looked at how a reduction in
salt intake can lower blood pressure. They recommended that the
patients reduce their salt intake by 3g and they found a change.
The study also heavily criticized the amount of salt in processed
foods.  

2.
Exercise: A study conducted by Tulane University, New
Orleans, in 2002 discussed the effect of aerobic exercise on blood
pressure. The study found that aerobic exercise not only lowers
the blood pressure of hypertensive patients but it is also a great
preventative measure.

Gentle exercise is best when you are pregnant. You should
consult a professional about your own personal abilities while
you are pregnant.

3.
Maintain a healthy weight: Your weight is very important
before and while you are pregnant. According to the National
Institutes of Health those who are overweight are more likely to
develop high blood pressure.

The US Department of Health and Human Sciences recommends
that you
know your BMI before you become pregnant. Then,
depending on which category you are in, you should only gain
the recommended weight. If your BMI is normal then you should
gain 25 to 30 pounds. If you are underweight you should gain 28
to 40 pounds. If you are overweight you should only gain15 to
25 pounds. Finally if you are classed as obese then you should
only gain 11 to 20 pounds.


The weight gain will mostly occur in the third trimester. According
to the US Department of Health and Human Sciences, you should
not gain more than 4 pounds in the first trimester. Then you
should gain 3 to 4 pounds every month from the start of the
second trimester. (Read more about
ideal weight for women.)


4.
Avoid smoking: According to a study conducted at Ottawa
Hospital in Canada, in 2010, found that those who smoke before
or during pregnancy are more likely to develop
preeclampsia. The
risk to the mother and baby are also greatly increased in smokers
with preeclampsia.

5.
Rest: The National Institutes of Health lists bed rest as one of
the most common treatments of high blood pressure during
pregnancy. Depending on the severity you may have to be
hospitalized and monitored. Simply lying down and taking the
weight off your feet and avoiding a lot of visitors, talking etc, can
help you lower your blood pressure.


6.
Get protein from plants: A study conducted by the Welch
Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Johns
Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, in 2003, found that plant
protein had the ability to reduce blood pressure. Plant protein can
be found in nuts, soy products and lentils and other pulses.

7.
Avoid stress: A study conducted by the Department of
Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, in 1993,
found that stress can cause not only a temporary spike in blood
pressure but can predict future hypertension. Stress should be
avoided during pregnancy anyway but if you are at risk for
developing hypertension, then take extra de-stressing measures
such as eating
foods that help to reduce stress.

8.
Potassium:  The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
recommend potassium as a way to lower blood pressure. The
recommended daily allowance is 4,700 mg per day. Some sources
of potassium include bananas, potatoes, avocados, lima beans
and raisins.

9.
Massage: A study conducted by the London South Bank
University in 2007 found that a 20 minute facial massage could
lower your systolic blood pressure.


10.
Calcium: A 1983 study conducted by the Division of
Nephrology and Hypertension, Oregon Health Sciences University;
Portland, in 1983, found that supplementing your calcium intake
with a further 1000mg can help lower blood pressure. According
to the US National Library of Medicine there are some studies
which seem to contradict the findings but there is not enough
evidence to dismiss the theory.


When you are pregnant it is important to listen to your doctor so
if you are in doubt about anything contact him or her.

Update:

11.
Magnesium May Help.  Magnesium has been found effective in
lowering blood pressure in pregnant women with hypertension
induced by pregnancy or preeclampsia. A 2003 study from
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Good Hope Hospital
in the UK, among other similar studies, noted that "
There is a
strong recent evidence recommended that magnesium sulphate
should be considered for women with pre-eclampsia for whom
there is concern about the risk of eclampsia.
"


Find out more healthy habits to follow to have a healthy
pregnancy:  
Normal Blood Sugar During Pregnancy /
Ideal Diet to Prevent Preeclampsia / Blood Pressure -What It
Means /Blood Pressure Chart / Ideal Breakfast for Diabetics /
Ideal Breakfast for Hypoglycemia /Foods That Shrink Your
Waist/ Foods That Reduce Blood Pressure
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