High blood pressure (also called hypertension) is when the force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels is too high. If not treated, it can cause problems during pregnancy, like preterm birth and preeclampsia.
What can you do to control high blood pressure during pregnancy?
• Go to all your prenatal care checkups, even if you’re feeling fine. Your provider checks your blood pressure at each prenatal visit.
• If you take medicine to control your blood pressure, take it exactly as your provider tells you to.
• Eat healthy foods. Try not to eat foods that are high in salt or sodium, like soup and canned foods. Most processed foods that are high in sodium don’t taste salty. Read the labels.
• Do something active every day. Try to get 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
• Don’t smoke, drink alcohol or use harmful drugs. Tell your provider if you need help to quit.
What is preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is when you have high blood pressure during pregnancy and signs that some of your organs, like your kidneys and liver, may not be working right. If not treated, it can cause serious problems for you and your baby, including preterm birth.
If you’re at risk for preeclampsia, your provider may recommend you take low-dose aspirin.
• If your provider says it’s OK, take low-dose aspirin each day. It’s also called baby aspirin or 81-mg aspirin.
• Take the aspirin exactly as your provider tells you to.
• Go to all your prenatal care checkups, even if you’re feeling fine. You can have preeclampsia and not know it.
• Call your provider right away if you have signs or symptoms of preeclampsia during or after pregnancy, like:
- Blurry vision
- Severe headache or belly pain
- Swelling in the hands or face
What can you do
Tell your provider if you have even one of these risks for preeclampsia:
- You’ve had preeclampsia before.
- You’re pregnant with multiples.
- You have high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease or an autoimmune disease like lupus.
Tell your provider if you have two or more of these risks:
- You’ve never had a baby before, or it’s been more than 10 years since you had a baby.
- You have obesity.
- Your family members have had preeclampsia.
- You had complications in a previous pregnancy, like your baby had low birthweight.
- You had fertility treatment called in vitro fertilization.
- You’re 35 or older.
To learn more visit marchofdimes.org