Preventing High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy: Here’s All You Need to Know

Many believe that aging increases the risk of developing high blood pressure or hypertension. While that might be true to some extent, aging is not the only factor responsible for high blood pressure. Doctors from the best maternity hospitals in Chennai say that pregnant women might also experience high blood pressure. In fact, around 8% of pregnant women are affected by hypertension, according to data provided by the American Pregnancy Association.

The Risks of High Blood Pressure

Hypertension can be detrimental for the mother as well as the baby. The chances of poor birth outcomes, such as smaller than average size, prenatal delivery and infant death, are higher if there is maternal high blood pressure. The mother’s blood vessels can also get affected by high blood pressure. This can reduce the nutrient flow to the baby, through the placenta, leading to low birth weight. Some other complications for the baby can include difficulty in breathing, due to incomplete development of the lungs, and a higher risk of placenta abruption.

Preventing High Blood Pressure

The good news is that you may not have to take drastic steps to prevent high blood pressure. It can be controlled by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

1.    Limit Salt Intake

Salt enhances the taste of your food items, but excessive intake can lead to high blood pressure. Some think that this is because excess salt affects the heart. That is not true. Instead, salt affects kidney function. Around 115 litres of blood is purified by the kidneys each day. They pull unwanted fluid and toxins from the cells and remove them through the bladder. But high salt levels can make it difficult for the kidneys to remove unwanted fluids This leads to a build-up of fluids, increasing blood pressure.

So, try to flavor your food with herbs and spices, such as cumin and pepper, instead of salt. Also, avoid processed foods and drinks. Even if they do not taste salty, they are generally high in sodium. If you eat canned food, it is best to rinse the food thoroughly first. This can remove any excess sodium.

2.    Try Controlled Breathing

Breathing exercises can help you relax, lower your stress levels, and normalize blood pressure. In fact, taking six deep breaths over 30 seconds can significantly lower systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and the pulse rate, according to a study published in Hypertension Research. Plus, breathing exercises increase the flow of nutrients and oxygen in thebody. This improves energy levels and promotes a feeling of well-being. You can follow these steps for controlled breathing:

  • Comfortably lie down on your back.
  • Place your hands below the rib cage and on your chest.
  • Inhale slowly through your nose, with your stomach expanding.
  • Exhale through the mouth, while counting to 5.
  • Repeat this process 10 to 12 times.

3.    Stay Active

Pregnant women who do not stay active are at an increased risk of developing hypertension. Cardiovascular exercises make your heart stronger, which can then pump blood with minimal effort. This reduces the force on your arteries, lowering blood pressure. During pregnancy, avoid exercises that are too intense. A great option can be brisk walking for 30 to 45 minutes each day. It is an exercise you can do through the 9 months of pregnancy. You can also try swimming. But to be on the safer side, always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program, say the best maternity hospitals in Chennai.

4.    Eat Potassium Rich Foods

While sodium can increase blood pressure, potassium canwork the opposite way. Potassium can improve the electrolyte and fluid balance in the body. It also helps in the contraction of muscles, transmission of nerve impulses, and release of energy from fat, proteins and carbohydrates. Try to keep the potassium intake in the 3,000mg to 4,000 mg range.

Apart from these, monitoring your weight is also important for maintaining healthy blood pressure. However, you are likely to increase your weight during pregnancy, and the best way to handle it is by ensuring a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Evie Nasir

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