Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Using Blood Pressure Medicines During Pregnancy

Eclampsia and Blood Pressure Medicines Used During Pregnancy

Blood pressure is one of the conditions that have to be monitored very closely during pregnancy. Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes in a women’s body. The cardiovascular system and hormonal releases undergo changes that bring daily challenges to the mother-to-be as well as the obstetrician. In the event of high blood pressure, the body releases hormones to relax the walls of the blood vessels. In certain cases, this is not enough to handle the increased pressure, and it results in an increase in resting blood pressure. As the body is already struggling to handle stress and increased workload, this can be extremely harmful to the baby developing in the uterus.

Furthermore, high blood pressure is also an indicative symptom of preeclampsia, an abnormal state of pregnancy. If not treated, it can lead to eclampsia, a toxic condition characterized by convulsions and possibly coma during or immediately after pregnancy. There is no way to prevent preeclampsia but women who already have high blood pressure are at a greater risk of developing preeclampsia during pregnancy.

In conditions of chronic hypertension, the doctor may continue with high blood pressure medication, but if they are not safe for the development of the baby, the doctor may want to change or completely discontinue the medication. In that case the doctor may advise more frequent ultrasound examinations to monitor how the baby is growing.

When the pregnant mother is already suffering from preeclampsia, the treatment depends upon individual symptoms, the condition of the baby and time left until the due date. The only way preeclampsia can be stopped is the actual delivery of the baby. There may be conditions that may compel your doctor to deliver the baby prematurely or suggest a termination of pregnancy. If the pregnancy is continued, you may require bedrest for the remainder of the pregnancy.

If the rise in blood pressure is perceived to be transient in nature, it does not require any treatment and may only be monitored in order to see its progression, if any.

First and second choice medications prescribed for high blood pressure during pregnancy are usually selected from Methyldopa, Hydralazine, Labelatol, and Nifedipine. Magnesium sulfate is considered to be the safest anticonvulsant for eclampsia during pregnancy.

The outcome of pregnancy is greatly dependent upon how high blood pressure is handled during the gestation period. The common way is to manage it with high blood pressure medication, but at the same time it is also true that taking any medication during pregnancy is fraught with dangers.

Sometimes it is mistakenly believed that natural remedies for high blood pressure are safe and can be taken without fear of side effects. Even though the perception is correct, all medication and diet should be monitored under medical supervision.



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