Preeclampsia is defined as high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman who previously had normal blood pressure. If you are thinking about having a baby and you have high blood pressure, talk first to your doctor or nurse. Taking steps to control your blood pressure before and during pregnancy, and getting regular prenatal care, go a long way toward ensuring your well-being and your baby’s health.
Before becoming pregnant:
- Be sure your blood pressure is under control. Lifestyle changes such as limiting your salt intake, participating in regular physical activity, and losing weight if you are overweight can be helpful.
- Discuss with your doctor how hypertension might affect you and your baby during pregnancy, and what you can do to prevent or lessen problems.
- If you take medicines for your blood pressure, ask your doctor whether you should change the amount you take or stop taking them during pregnancy. Experts currently recommend avoiding angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and Angiotensin II (AII) receptor antagonists during pregnancy; other blood pressure medications may be OK for you to use. Do not, however, stop or change your medicines unless your doctor tells you todo so.
While you are pregnant:
- Obtain regular prenatal medical care.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco.
- Take certain vitamins, such as vitamin D which may lower the risk of preeclampsia.
- Talk to your doctor about any over-the-counter medications you are taking or are thinking about taking.