Story by: Norton Children’s on December 4, 2023
Having high blood pressure while pregnant can lead to health complications for both mom and baby, but making certain lifestyle choices can help lower blood pressure during pregnancy.
“High blood pressure during pregnancy, or gestational hypertension, is when a blood pressure reading is greater than or equal to 140/90 mm Hg,” said Whitney E. Jamie, M.D., maternal-fetal medicine specialist with Norton Children’s Maternal Fetal-Medicine, part of Norton Women’s Care. “This condition can lead to preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication that usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy and can be harmful to a pregnant person and their baby.”Causes of high blood pressure during pregnancy
There are several causes and risk factors for high blood pressure during pregnancy, including preexisting conditions and a family history of high blood pressure during pregnancy. Other causes may include:
Our team, which is part of Norton Women’s Care, specializes in high-risk pregnancies and works with patients to manage their blood pressure during pregnancy.
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Making healthy choices for yourself and your baby could help lower your blood pressure during pregnancy, which can help avoid serious health conditions and complications. Here are a few ideas.Healthy diet. Eat foods that are rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, legumes, fish and vegetable oils. Avoid salty foods, including canned goods and processed foods that are high in sodium.Hydrate. Drinking water throughout the day can be a piece of the puzzle when it comes to managing blood pressure. Aim for at least six to eight glasses of water per day. Do not drink alcohol.Stay active. Check in with your provider about how much movement and exercise you should be getting during pregnancy. Exercise can help manage stress, which can lower blood pressure.Follow the doctor’s orders. This includes attending every checkup that is scheduled with your provider and taking any medications if you are prescribed them. Stay on top of checking your blood pressure at home and check in with your provider to help manage your readings. If you want to lower your blood pressure during pregnancy, you must make conscious and proactive choices that prioritize your health — and your baby’s — every single day.
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