Reduce intake of salt and sodium rich foods like pickles, fried and canned foods. Exercise moderately for 25 mins/day. Maintain a healthy BMI, it reduces gestational hypertension and diabetes risk. Avoid stress, smoking and alcohol. Consume foods rich in potassium (beans, raisins), calcium (milk), folic acid (broccoli, spinach) and magnesium (leafy greens, fish).
High blood pressure during pregnancy, whether chronic (existing before the pregnancy) or gestational (developed after 20 weeks of pregnancy) requires extra care and caution to ensure a safe labor and delivery. Women with gestational hypertension need to watch out for signs of pre-eclamplasia. Pre-eclampasia can often lead to serious complications for the mother and her baby.1
Hypertension during pregnancy affects 10-15% of women. Mild hypertension ranges from 140/90 mm Hg to 150/100 mm Hg. Severe hypertension ranges from 150/100 mm Hg to 160/100 mm Hg or higher.2
How To Naturally Lower Blood Pressure?
The natural methods to prevent and manage blood pressure during pregnancy are safe and fairly easy to follow.
1. Reduce Salt/Sodium Intake
A study in 1991 by the researchers Law, Frost and Wald from Bartholomew’s Hospital, London observed that reducing salt intake by around 3g/per day, significantly brought down blood pressure in about a week. It is important to avoid excess salt during pregnancy to avoid and manage blood pressure.3
Try using low-sodium salt and cut down the quantity used in cooking. Do not consume foods with high salt content like pickles, fried food (chips, salted cashews), canned food (olives in brine) and processed food (instant noodles and pasta). Consume only fresh food with low salt content.
2. Exercise Moderately
Keeping yourself fit and active will help you maintain normal blood pressure levels. Gentle exercises during pregnancy are a good preventive measure. Try some light exercises like Tai Chi or Pilates. Check with your doctor if you can take moderately paced walks for about 20-25 minutes each day.
3. Maintain Healthy Weight
Check your BMI before you get pregnant and maintain the ideal BMI for your height and weight. The National Institutes of Health, USA, maintains that women who are overweight are more likely to develop gestational hypertension and diabetes.
To maintain an ideal BMI, stick to a low-calorie diet, cutting back on bad carbohydrates and unnecessary fat. Go for a protein-rich diet to get your essential nutrients.
4. Change Lifestyle Habits
It is absolutely imperative that you avoid smoking and alcohol during pregnancy as they could lead to deplorable consequences.
5. Keep Stress At Bay
Avoiding stressful situations and events during pregnancy can be a good preventive measure for high blood pressure. Try to get into relaxation techniques like meditation to stay calm. Avoid a fast-paced work life and try to involve yourself in hobbies and other activities such as light reading, gardening or stitching.
6. Include Potassium
Potassium helps reduce high blood pressure. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends a daily dose of potassium to lower blood pressure. The daily dosage is 4,700 mg per day. Natural sources of potassium include bananas, potatoes, beans and raisins.4
7. Add Folic Acid
Folic Acid is a good preventive for high blood pressure. Natural sources of folic acid include foods rich in folate like broccoli, spinach, peas, chickpeas and moong dal.
8. Have Calcium
Foods rich in natural calcium may also act as a preventive. These foods include dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese and paneer. Opt for low-fat dairy products to cut the calories.5
9. Take Magnesium
Magnesium is also known to help reduce high blood pressure. Foods rich in magnesium include seeds, nuts, fish, green leafy vegetables, bananas, yogurt and whole grains.6
While there is a range of blood pressure lowering drugs which are considered safe even during pregnancy, it is better to opt for natural methods to prevent and manage hypertension during this period.
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