Rising Blood Pressure

Momma health: rest & keep BP down

The following are some ideas about how to de-stress and/or support your body in order to slow or stop the development of clinically high blood pressure. Of course, there is no guarantee that if you do any or all of the following, that you will not still go on to develop Gestational Hypertension.

  • 2-3 L water, daily
  • Nutritious meals, NO trans fats
  • Eat tabouleh (parsley minimizes swelling)
  • Moderate exercise, especially if calming such as yoga or walking
  • Swimming (hydrostatic pressure minimizes swelling, decreases stress)
  • Epsom salts baths … 2 cups in tub, daily
  • Lavender essential oil … 3 drops in bath
  • Full body massage 1-2x/wk
  • Foot massage, evenings
  • Quit work

Baby health

Sometimes continuously high blood pressure can start to have an effect on baby. For this reason we advise:

  • Fetal movement counting, daily:

Pick a time of day that baby is normally active and count how long it takes to get 10 movements. If you don’t get 10 movements in two hours, you should call your midwife.

Cervical ripening if >36 wks

The cure for high blood pressure in pregnancy is to birth the baby. When blood pressures get too high, induction is usually advised. For this reason, anything that speeds the ripening process and increases the chance of a natural labour or straightforward induction is positive.

  • Evening Primrose oil … 3000mg orally a.m., 1000mg vaginally at bedtime
  • Nine-month Tea … 3 cups daily
  • Homeopathic Caulophyllum … 200C 4x daily
  • Acupuncture labour stimulation
  • Cervical sweeps (aka cervical massage, membrane stripping/sweeping)

Further suggestions by your midwife may include:

  • More frequent BP checks, possibly including checking your own BP at home
  • Bloodwork
  • Calcium … 2mg daily
  • Magnesium … 150-200mg 4x daily
  • Skullcap tincture… 15 drops, 3x daily
  • Hawthorne berry tincture… 15 drops, 3x daily
  • Bed rest
  • Non Stress Testing
  • Ultrasound to measure fetal growth

Taking your BP at home

Normal blood pressure in pregnancy is anywhere between 90/50 to 140/90.

The best time to take your blood pressure is when you are physically and mentally relaxed. Because of this, first thing in the morning while still in bed can be a good time.

Some women’s blood pressure is steadily the same no matter what. Others have wide differences in blood pressure depending on stress, time of day, hunger, etc, so if you find that your pressure is variable, you can be reassured that this is normal.

When to call your midwife

Your midwife may give you more specific instructions, but the following is a list of symptoms or situations that are generally a reason to call your midwife. Although these are symptoms of pre-eclampsia, don’t panic, a number of these symptoms also can be a result of other normal causes, or can just be a reason for increased frequency of monitoring:

  • Blood pressure: the top number (systolic pressure) over 140
  • Blood pressure: the bottom number (diastolic pressure) is over 90
  • Visual disturbances: consistently seeing stars or floaties
  • Severe headache, not eased by Tylenol
  • Severe upper abdominal pain, in the area under your ribcage
  • Sudden and serious swelling, especially of face
  • Noticeable decrease in fetal movement – less than 10 movements in two hours
  • Nausea with vomiting

Check the clinic answering machine for the name and pager number of the midwife currently on-call for your team. If you have call-display, you may have access to our home or cell phone numbers. We ask that you still use our pagers, as this is the most efficient way to contact us, as well as the least disturbing to our families.

Please respect that after-hours calls are welcome but only if they are for urgent concerns only.

Daily BP Log x 1 Week


  Date/Time Blood Pressure Comments
E.g. Jan 1a.m. 138/80 Resting in bed

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