Remedies for High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, may manifest in one of three ways during pregnancy. Chronic hypertension refers to high blood pressure that existed prior to pregnancy or that lasts more than three months after delivery. Gestational hypertension occurs after 20 weeks gestation and resolves after delivery. Women with hypertension are followed closely to detect signs of preeclampsia, which is characterized by high blood pressure, protein in the urine and extreme swelling of the extremities. A variety of remedies address this potentially life-threatening complication during pregnancy.

Anti-Hypertensive Medications

Women who experienced high blood pressure prior to the onset of pregnancy may be able to continue taking medications as prescribed by their doctor. Medication regimens may need to be altered, however. According to the Mayo Clinic, some medications, such as those classified as ACE inhibitors, aren’t safe during pregnancy. Pregnant women should work closely with their doctors to keep blood pressure under control with the safe use of their medications.

Bed Rest

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends bed rest for women with slightly elevated blood pressure. Depending on the severity, bed rest may be prescribed at home, or a hospital admission may be required for closer monitoring. Resting in bed can help decrease stress on the circulatory system, thus lowering blood pressure. Bed rest is often prescribed for women carrying more than one baby for this reason. High blood pressure may resolve on its own, allowing doctors to lift restrictions.

High Protein Diet

Dr. Tom Brewer created the Brewer Diet after discovering a link between preeclampsia and a diet lacking in protein. According to Blue Ribbon Baby, a daily intake of approximately 100g of protein is needed to prevent complications such as preeclampsia during pregnancy. The Brewer Diet also emphasizes the importance of eating fruits and vegetables while minimizing processed junk foods. In Dr. Brewer’s experience, his diet had a 100 percent success rate.

Maintaining Salt Intake

Outside of pregnancy, limiting salt intake can help decrease blood pressure. Pregnancy creates a different situation, however, because of the need for expanded blood volume. According to Dr. Brewer and Blue Ribbon Baby, salt is necessary for the appropriate and normal increase in blood volume in expectant mothers. Limiting salt intake during pregnancy can have the adverse response, maintaining high blood pressure as the woman’s body works overtime. It can also negatively affect the placenta and limit the transfer of vitamins and nutrients to the growing baby. Dr. Brewer recommends that pregnant women salt their food to taste without trying to limit salt intake. Salt in the diet will help maintain adequate blood volume necessary for pregnancy and help eliminate high blood pressure caused by low blood volume.

About this Author

Amber Canaan has a medical background as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and pediatric oncology. She started writing in 2005 for Curvilinear, an online fashion magazine. Canaan transitioned back to her roots when she became a writer for The Examiner, as an expert on pregnancy. She has a degree in science from Cabarrus College of Health Sciences.