High-risk moms-to-be say: Coping with chronic high blood pressure

High-risk moms-to-be say: Coping with chronic high blood pressure

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Being diagnosed with high blood pressure during pregnancy can be a source of stress and anxiety. Below are some tips, advice, and wise words from other pregnant women with high blood pressure in the our site Community.

Be proactive

"There are a handful of blood pressure medications that are considered safe to take during pregnancy. I switched from lisinopril (not safe) to labetalol (considered safe). Even though I'm not pregnant yet, knowing that the blood pressure meds I'm taking are unlikely to harm a future baby puts my mind at ease."

"My doctor switched my blood pressure medication once I began trying to conceive, which helped me to find the right dose before I became pregnant."

"I've been on labetalol for a while now, and my blood pressure readings are finally behaving! It took a little bit for the medication switch to kick in. Now my doctor wants me to log my blood pressure daily and email [the readings] to him weekly."

Advocate for yourself

"Listen to your body and [discuss] your concerns with your healthcare team. Be the best advocate for your (and your child's) health!"

"I had high blood pressure readings for about three weeks. I was very stressed at work. Once I reduced my caseload and stopped trying to be a perfect employee, my blood pressure went down to normal."
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DIY blood pressure

"Check your blood pressure [at home]. My doctor diagnosed me with white coat syndrome because my blood pressure spiked at her office."

"I have white coat syndrome. I bought a blood pressure monitor to take it at home, just to make sure it's fine."

"I have white coat syndrome. I have a home cuff and take my blood pressure one to three times daily. It's much lower at home. I keep a running record that I bring to my OB appointments."

Prevention plan

"Baby aspirin is the best prevention method [for preeclampsia], so I'm okay with taking it! You can take 81 milligrams daily. I'm extremely 'crunchy' and still do it to prevent preeclampsia, since I had it with my first [pregnancy]."

"I paid close attention to my blood pressure, diet, physical activity, and stress level throughout my pregnancy. My blood pressure did rise during the last month of my pregnancy but stayed under control. My baby was born healthy and aside from a long labor, we didn't have any complications."

Food for thought

"Google 'foods high in potassium.' There are lots of foods that have more potassium than bananas."

"I have at least 100 grams of protein daily, which means eating four to five small meals a day with healthy protein in each of them. So far, I've had no ankle swelling and no protein in my urine."

"I always thought I ate a lot of protein until I started tracking it. I was getting about 45 grams, but 80 was my goal. Now I eat Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and quinoa. Also, blueberries are supposed to lower blood pressure naturally. I started tracking my blood pressure three times a day when I made the protein changes, and it went down."

Postpartum recovery

"My blood pressure has been ridiculously high (200/114) and is just now coming down (averaging around 150/90) with two meds at four weeks postpartum. Now I'm pulling out all the stops: trying to lose weight, drinking plenty of water, doing yoga, eating well, and walking. I think my biggest problem is relaxing and letting things go, which is difficult with two kids. Luckily my recent addition is the sweetest baby ever and only cries when she's hungry!"

"Try not to stress. Be good to yourself. Your job is to recover from childbirth and take care of yourself and the baby. That's hopefully the only thing you need to do right now. You'll feel so much better in a few weeks."

Visit the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's website for more information and to find an MFM specialist near you.

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