Hypertension in Pregnancy
Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy complication defined by high blood pressure, 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher, and signs of damage to another organ systems, most often the liver and kidneys. Pre-eclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure had been normal. Even a slight rise in blood pressure may be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
What factors increase risk of pre-eclampsia?
- Previous history of pre-eclampsia
- Multiple gestations
- History of Chronic High Blood pressure, PCOS, Diabetes, Kidney disease, and organ transplant.
- First Pregnancy
- Obesity, BMI 30 or greater
- Family History
How does pre-eclampsia affect pregnancy?
Hypertension can impair kidney and liver function, and cause blood clotting problems, pulmonary edema, seizures and severe edema. Pre-eclampsia affects the blood flow to the placenta, often leading to smaller or prematurely born babies.
What can help with pre-eclampsia?
- Continue to follow a healthy diet and regular exercise (low sodium diet)
- Magnesium is an excellent supplement safely used in pregnancy. Magnesium citrate, at doses of 400-600 per day, is often used in both preventing and treating hypertension. Hospitals use IV magnesium for hypertensive episodes and pre-eclampsia to reduce blood pressure.
- Acupuncture helps to smooth the flow of blood and increase the tone of the vascular system, and returns the body to parasympathetic state.
- Vitamin D levels should be checked, because Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to hypertension.
- Coenzyme Q10 was studied for prevention of pre-eclampsia at 200mg per day from 20 weeks to delivery. This should be taken under the supervision of a physician.
- Medications to lower blood pressure. Medications, called anti-hypertensives, are used to lower your blood pressure if it's dangerously high.