High Blood Pressure and Pregnancy

by Sharon Hopkins

Blood pressure refers to the force exerted by the blood against the artery walls in the body. If the readings are greater than 140 mm Hg systolic or 90 mm Hg diastolic, a person is considered to be suffering from high blood pressure. Chronic hypertension can lead to strokes, heart failure, coronary heart disease and kidney disease. Women who have been suffering from chronic high blood pressure pre-pregnancy may develop certain complications while giving birth as compared to women who have no history of hypertension. Some women, however, develop hypertension while pregnant and this condition is known as gestational hypertension. The effects of high blood pressure can vary and it may range from mild problems to severe conditions like harmfully affecting the mother's kidneys and other organs or result in a low birth weight and premature birth of the baby. If it is extremely severe the mother may develop what is known as preeclampsia, also known as a toxemia of pregnancy which can threaten the life of both mother and child. Preeclampsia usually develops after the twentieth week of pregnancy and is connected to high blood pressure and high protein levels in the mother's urine. Preeclampsia can affect the mother's liver, kidneys and brain and the placenta as well. Preeclampsia can cause seizures and is at this point referred to as eclampsia. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent preeclampsia, the mother can only be monitored closely to avoid complications and only with the birth of the baby will the condition abate.

If the mother is already suffering from high blood pressure she must consult her doctor about this and try to keep it under control by making some changes in her daily lifestyle. Losing excess weight if overweight, regular exercises and other physical activity and limiting the intake of salt in food are a few precautionary measures. In case the mother is already under medication for high blood pressure prior to pregnancy, it is important to ask the local health care provider whether the dosage should be reduced or a switch made to another medicine keeping in mind the health of the baby. Avoid alcoholism, smoking (even passive smoking can be harmful) and drugs. Citrus fruits such as oranges are high in vitamin C and are known to help for those suffering from high blood pressure. Honey and lemon juice are also known to bring it down to some extent.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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