High blood pressure and your Baby

Ever wonder why the nurse is taking and recording your blood pressure at your prenatal visits? Your doctor or midwife needs to monitor your pressure, making sure it does not rise above 140 or fall below 90.

Why is this important?

Whether you had high blood pressure prior to conceiving, or it is something new you are experiencing, your doctor will want to keep it in check. Allowing your blood pressure to go uncontrolled can have very serious consequences for you and your little bundle. Some of those include:

Issues with the placenta: High blood pressure can decrease the amount of blood flowing to the placenta. Which means; your baby may receive less oxygen and the nutrients he or she needs to grow. If this is the case, your doctor will worry about your little one’s growth and development and the increase risk of premature birth.

Pre-eclampsia: This is a fancy word for the placenta separating from the uterine wall before labor even begins. This can damage the placenta and cause severe bleeding. It is a potentially life threatening situation that your doctor is consistently monitoring you for.

Preterm birth: In order to safeguard you and your baby’s health from the risks of high blood pressure, your doctor may talk to you about delivering early. Inducing labor before 39 weeks is sometimes medically necessary, as the benefits would outweigh the risks of early delivery. It goes without saying that allowing your baby to develop fully makes for a smoother delivery and safer and healthier baby.

Signs & Symptoms

High blood pressure is often the first symptom of pre-eclampsia, although high blood pressure can be a problem all by itself. If you notice any of the following symptoms, get in touch with your health care provider right away. These are the warning signs for pre-eclampsia, which should never be ignored:

  • Blurred vision
  • Severe headaches
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trouble urinating
  • Shortness of breath

Healthy steps you can take

If you’ve had high blood pressure in the past, or a family history of it, there are some healthy lifestyle changes you can make right now.

  • Eat a well-rounded, low fat and plant-based diet.
  • Exercise gently, getting your doctor’s permission first, of course.
  • Don’t miss an appointment. Your doctor or health provider is your best bet for keeping your blood pressure under control. Never miss prenatal appointments, as they exist to safeguard the health of both you and your little bundle.

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