• What You Need To Know About High Blood Pressure and Pregnancy

    Maybe you don’t know who to ask. Maybe you feel embarrassed to talk about it. Maybe you don’t realize it’s an issue. When it comes to your health, you have questions, and we want to get you answers. So, we sat down with Dr. Meika Roberson — the Chief Medical Officer at CarePoint Health in Hoboken — to pick her brain about some of those uncomfortable questions that may be on your mind {feel free to email them to us and we’ll pass them along!}. Today, we’re talkin’ high blood pressure. Tomorrow — who knows? But don’t worry, we’ll do the asking for you…

    Dear Dr. Meika,

    Are there any exercises or foods that you would recommend to lower blood pressure? I’ve never had high blood pressure in my life, and here I am half way through pregnancy and BAM!

    From, Blood Pressure + Baby Bump

    Dr. Meika says…

    First let me say, that sucks!

    You spend your life trying to be healthy. Then, this beautiful miracle alien growing inside of you causes all sorts of changes to your body.

    So, first and foremost, make these two notes to yourself:

    1) You did nothing wrong. Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) happens in about 10% of pregnancies.

    2) In most cases it goes away right after you deliver.

    {Note: Pregnant women may also get diagnosed with chronic hypertension and/or preeclapmsia, but this is only a comment on the mild hypertension form of pregnancy induced hypertension.}

    Now, let’s talk basics:

    PIH {pregnancy induced hypertension} — aka: gestational hypertension — occurs only during pregnancy and usually isn’t a problem for the mother after delivery. PIH is usually found after 20 weeks gestation and is defined as:

    • Blood pressure higher than 140/90 on two separate occasions that are measured at least six hours apart.

    • No protein in the urine.

    If your doctor has prescribed medication, obviously take it. Your doctor will only give you meds that are safe in pregnancy {i.e. that don’t cross the placental barrier – and don’t affect the baby}.

    But, there are other, non-pharmaceutical things you can do to help decrease your blood pressure.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Exercising While Pregnant

    1) Rest, lying on your left side to take the weight of the baby off your major blood vessels.

    2) Consume less salt.

    • Try the DASH diet {Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension}.

    • Or you can use herbs like cilantro, parsley, and spices like pepper and chili instead of salt to enhance the flavor.

    3) Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

    4) Try low impact pre-natal yoga.

    5) Practice meditation and relaxation techniques.

    6) Elevate your feet several times during the day. Support socks are great for improved circulation and can be purchased over the counter.

    7) Avoid beverages containing caffeine.

    8) Your doctor may suggest you eat foods high in calcium and magnesium in addition to prenatal vitamins.

    However, make sure to consult your doctor and request a nutritional consult for more ideas. PIH can cause serious complications. I hope medications and some of these natural remedies help keep you and your baby safe throughout pregnancy and beyond.

     

    Have a question for Dr. Meika that you want answered? Email it to hello@hobokengirl.com {and feel free to change your name/give yourself a nickname if you want to remain anonymous}. We’ll be treating this like Dear Abby, so don’t worry about asking weird Qs – we’re all ears and won’t blow up your spot 🙂


    This information should not be used or relied upon for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Dr. Meika expressly disclaims responsibility and shall have no liability for any damages, loss, injury or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site. Dr. Meika does not endorse specifically any test treatment or procedure mentioned on this site. If you are having a medical emergency please call 9-1-1.


    Written by:

    Meika {or rather Dr. Meika} is an emergency medicine physician turned administrator. She is currently the chief medical officer at CarePoint Health in Hoboken and she loves her job and the patients. When she's not at CarePoint, she dedicates her time and career to help against rape and human trafficking. Though originally from Boston, Meika lives in Hoboken with her husband and their dog Brooklyn. You may see her around town walking the dog, jogging or cycling through the streets, or just walking to work. If she hadn’t become a doctor she would have become a photojournalist with a camera and a backpack traveling to barely seen areas of the world {like Sean Penn in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty}.


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