Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in arteries. The higher the blood volume and the narrower your arteries are, the greater your blood pressure will be. High blood pressure during pregnancy can pose significant problems such as decreased blood flow to the placenta, placental abruption, premature delivery and increased chances for developing cardiovascular disease. There are steps you can take while you’re pregnant to reduce your high blood pressure.
Talk to your doctor about the medications you’re currently taking. Some medications can cause increases in blood pressure. If so, he may prescribe an alternate medication or determine whether you can avoid taking it until after you deliver.
Limit or eliminate fried foods. Continuous consumption of fried foods or foods highly concentrated in oil can cause oil to build up in your arteries. A buildup in your arteries narrows the path of blood flow, thus increasing your blood pressure. If you consume fried foods, balance the meal with fresh vegetables (i.e., fried chicken with a salad instead of french fries).
Monitor your salt intake. The daily limit for consumption of salt is 2,400 mg; however, limiting your intake to 1,500 mg has shown significant results in lowering blood pressure. Processed foods, fast food and even some sports drinks are high in sodium even if they don’t taste salty.
Maintain a healthy weight and increase physical activity whenever possible. Doing so strengthens your heart and cardiovascular system, which enables your body to pump your blood more efficiently. Be sure to discuss potential methods with your doctor to ensure they are safe for you and for baby.
Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol. Smoking and drinking puts stress on your heart and cardiovascular system and is dangerous to your baby.
Increase your potassium by taking dietary supplements or eating foods rich in potassium. It is recommended to take 2,000 mg of potassium in a dietary supplement. Foods rich in potassium include bananas, orange juice, avocados, cantaloupe, tomatoes and chicken.
Learn relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises or yoga to lower your stress levels and help to stabilize your blood pressure. Breathing techniques similar to those used in Lamaze classes can be effective in reducing anxiety or stress and inducing relaxation.