Preeclampsia – also known as toxemia – is a condition that occurs when a pregnant woman’s blood pressure rises rapidly, leading to protein in the urine. Many women experience different symptoms, but the most common are weight gain, headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, and rapid heartbeat.
Preeclampsia also affects the unborn baby. Preeclampsia causes there to be a reduced supply of oxygenated blood available to the baby, which often causes the child to be very small when delivered. Preeclampsia also increases the risk of placenta abruptio, in which the placenta separates from the uterine wall before the baby is fully mature.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help prevent preeclampsia. The following are some of the best practices to follow to avoid this pregnancy-related condition:
Attend your prenatal appointments. This is very important so your doctor can correctly monitor your condition. You will have your blood pressure taken during every appointment and will give a urine sample to see if there is any protein in the urine. The doctors can only treat what they are aware of, so be sure to make each and every appointment.
Follow your diet plan. Your physician will advise you on the proper diet to help prevent eclampsia. Drinking water is one of the best ways to keep your blood pressure low, and it’s also a good idea to avoid salty foods, junk foods and foods that are fried. Avoid all alcohol, as well as caffeinated beverages.
Get off your feet. Frequent rest periods with your feet elevated can help lower your blood pressure. For the most benefit, lie down with your feet at or above heart level. It’s also advised that you lay on your left side, to aid the flow of blood to your heart.
Get moving. Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent eclampsia, since it improves your circulation, leading to lower blood pressure. Walking and swimming are two of the best exercises for pregnant women, since they’re relatively low impact. Try parking a little further away from the front door at a store or your place of employment. Even a small increase in exercise is better than none.
Take your prenatal vitamins. These vitamins provide specific nutritional requirements for you and your baby. Unfortunately, many of the vitamins can cause constipation, so speak with your doctor if this occurs – he or she should be able to prescribe you a mild stool softener.
Try relaxation techniques. Meditation or yoga can go a long ways towards helping you relax and lower your blood pressure. Best of all, you should be able to find yoga classes that are specifically designed for pregnancy at your local gym or yoga studio. Avoid any positions that require you be inverted, or upside down, and don’t overdo it. If you feel any strain or pain, it’s time to stop.
Pregnancy is hard enough without having to worry about preeclampsia. By following the above tips, you may be able to prevent the condition. If not, be sure to see the proper doctor during and after your pregnancy. Monitor your blood pressure at home, if you feel it varies many times during the course of a day and address your concerns with a medical professional.