The low down on high blood pressure during pregnancy
High blood pressure. It's not always an emergency, but it can be bad—especially true during pregnancy. Severe hypertension during pregnancy is called preeclampsia, a medical emergency that requires prompt treatment. Why? Because, in some cases, it can lead to serious conditions like stroke, heart attack, organ injury, seizures, placental abruption and more—none of which are good for you or baby.
Learn more about the different types of hypertension, risk factors and how to lower your risks.
But don't worry, there are ways to manage your blood pressure and make sure your blood pressure readings are within a healthy range during pregnancy. And there are two people who can help the most: you and your provider.
Do it yourself
Remember the blood pressure cuff we sent as part of your welcome gift?
That's a great place to start. You can monitor your own blood pressure readings as often as your doctor recommends. And if you're still not sure how to use it, ask your doctor—they'll help you get started. Here are some additional tips for a successful self-reading.
Correct forearm position for wrist blood pressure measurement:
- Apply the device
- Keep elbow on table with forearm bent
- Place the wrist at heart level
- Keep arm relaxed and hand resting against your body
- Measure blood pressure without moving arm
30 minutes before you check:
- Avoid eating
- Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol
- Don't smoke or exercise
5 minutes before you check:
- Use the bathroom to ensure an empty bladder
- Sit quietly, preferable in a dining room chair (vs. a couch or recliner)
- Don't talk
Read more tips on taking your blood pressure. And if you're still not sure how to use it, ask your provider—they'll help you get started.
See your doctor
You'll have your blood pressure checked at every prenatal visit. That means you'll get at least one reading every month where you'll have a chance to talk to your provider about your blood pressure readings, should they be higher or lower than usual.
If you suspect a problem with your blood pressure or have any questions about it, contact your provider. They can help you find the best ways to manage or monitor your blood pressure given your specific health needs.
Remember, repetitive readings are important and it's best to check your blood pressure as regularly as possible. Learn more about hypertension during pregnancy.