According to the Mayo Clinic, high blood pressure in pregnancy can be dangerous to both the mom and the fetus for several reasons. It can cause a placental abruption which can lead to hemorrhaging. In addition, it can also decrease the amount of blood flow to the placenta. This can result in slow fetal growth and preterm labor. There are several remedies used to reduce blood pressure in pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor about which blood pressure medications are safe to take during pregnancy. Even though some medications will cross the placenta, your doctor may decide that the benefits of the medication in the ability to control blood pressure outweigh any potential risk to the fetus. Do not treat high blood pressure during pregnancy with over-the-counter or prescription medications without being under the supervision of a doctor. If you are prescribed blood pressure medication, do not stop or alter your dosage without explicit instructions from your doctor.
Dietary and Lifestyle Changes
The American Pregnancy Association recommends several dietary and lifestyle changes to reduce blood pressure in pregnancy. Reduce or eliminate salt in your diet and ensure you are getting at least 64 ounces of water daily while avoiding caffeinated beverages. Lying on your left side during the day and while sleeping can relieve pressure on a major artery on the right side of the body that delivers blood to the lower extremities. Weight gain should be monitored and kept within recommended limits, as extra weight gain will place additional stress on the heart. Bed rest or instructions to rest with the feet elevated may also be prescribed. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor will increase your monitoring during pregnancy and your appointments will be more frequent.
When high blood pressure is unable to be controlled during the pregnancy, the only option may be to deliver the baby. High blood pressure above 140/90 combined with swelling and protein in the urine are classic symptoms of preeclampsia. The only cure for preeclampsia is to deliver the baby. If you are diagnosed with preeclampsia, you will be closely monitored and the baby will be evaluated for viability outside of the womb. Depending on the age of the baby, steroids may be given to assist the lungs in developing in preparation for an early delivery. This is typically a last resort after other options to control blood pressure have been tried and have failed.