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Please Help! Need advice to control gestational hypertension naturally!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 



My name is Morel and I'm totally new to the forum. I am 31 years old and am 30 weeks pregnant with my first child (a girl!). Everything had been going perfectly with my pregnancy (except for the food aversions early-on but that was mostly over by week 15) until about week 23 when my blood pressure numbers started going up and I have now been labeled "high risk". I have been receiving prenatal care from the local birthing center, but the midwives tell me that my chances are thin for having a birth-center-birth if this trend continues. I NEED HELP!!!


So my bp has mostly been in the 130's/80's, but has occasionally gotten over 140/90. I've been told that, as long as it stays in this range, I will not be forced to take bp medication. If I do have to take medication, I will have to birth in the hospital, which I'm trying to avoid. Not to mention, I REALLY don't want to put any chemicals in my body as I haven't even taken as much as a Tylenol my whole pregnancy. In fact, I've been mostly following this diet: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/diet-for-pregnant-and-nursing-mothers


BUT, apparently my borderline hypertension has been damaging enough to slow the growth of our DD (she's about a week behind - in the 5th percentile, according to their estimates) and produce elevated levels of protein in my urine (330 mg in 24 hr collection). So far, my blood work has been fine. I will be going back for another ultrasound and have all the testing done again around 32 weeks. The high risk clinic wants to see that our DD has at least caught up enough to be in the 10th percentile, or there's talk of an early induction as she will be labeled as "growth restricted". And, of course, I will have to give birth in the hospital in this scenario, too. Not to mention, our DD may have to be premature and be in NICU - definitely NOT the route we want to go!


How did this happen? A perfect pregnancy (and both my DH and I ate/lived well even before conception), with only wholesome/organic/pastured/nutrient-dense foods, and high hopes of a totally natural birth-center-birth, and now it's looking like a hospital birth (and possibly lots of intervention) is almost a certain reality! I've been trying to rest as much as I can (and have taken naps daily the whole pregnancy) and do yoga/light walking regularly, and eat as well as I can, but nothing seems to be bringing down my bp numbers. All this wonderful nutrition just can't get to my baby - it's SO frustrating! They've determined it's my heart that is overworking but that my blood vessels are more than spacious. Any advice on how I can turn this around naturally???


Thanks SO much!


post #2 of 27

Congratulations on your pregnancy and I'm sorry that it seems to be developing problems.  In my situation I just had slightly elevated bp and have been controlling it with magnesium malate, kyolic garlic capsules, and non-alcoholic rescue remedy for the stress.  You could bring these things up with the midwives and see if they could help in your case?  I wish the best for you for the rest of your pregnancy!

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thanks fljen! I forgot to mention that I've been taking 400 mg of Magnesium Glycinate daily, along with alfalfa tablets, and New Chapter Organics prenatal vitamins. I also take 2tsp of Blue Ice fermented cod liver oil daily. I occasionally take Calms Forte when I'm having trouble sleeping. I'll talk to the midwives about the garlic and rescue remedy, though - thanks!

post #4 of 27
I was going to suggest magnesium citrate, and taking daily Epsom salt baths. It's worth a shot and won't hurt at least. Please don't feel guilty about the blood pressure. Sometimes these things happen and there isn't much you can do to prevent it, unfortunately. I know how frustrating it is when you take such good care of yourself, but end up with a high risk pregnancy anyway.
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 

@fljen - my midwife OK'd the Rescue Remedy and garlic capsules so I got some today. How much do you take?


post #6 of 27

Awesome.  With the Kyolic garlic capsules I took one with each meal until my blood pressure normalized and then take one a day to maintain.  With the rescue remedy I took it when I felt like I was getting stressed, which can cause your bp to go up.  The epsom salt baths that were recommended by a pp would also be a good idea.  Magnesium is what they give you in the hospital in an IV to bring down dangerously high bp and the bath should feel good and help you relax as well.  The magnesium citrate I take two 200mg (of magnesium) capsules a day as well.  Chelated magnesium (magnesium citrate/malate) will not cause the bowel problems that elemental magnesium will.


I do agree that sometimes even when trying to do everything "right", life can find a way to make it go sideways, treat yourself gently :)

post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thanks SO much fljen!!! :)

post #8 of 27

Have you tried measuring your blood pressure before and after walking or in different positions? I didn't have high blood pressure with my last pregnancy but my dad has been recently having blood pressure issues and the only thing that helps him is walking... your pressure usually elevates while resting and lowers when your blood start flowing so you may want to track the trends throughout the day and start walking if it starts to get high. 

Also, I don't think your diet has much to do with it, I had the worst diet while I was pregnant because I was so sick and mine was still perfect... I probably consumed literally 10x the maximum recommended sodium per day and it did nothing to me. My dad has been trying to control his blood pressure with a better diet but it's not helping much, his issues are the same whenever he isn't walking. 

I haven't read this anywhere but personally believe that babies can be situated "wrong" and interfere with breathing and circulation so it might help to try some light aerobic exercises or yoga.

post #9 of 27
Hi, I was just wondering how you're doing and if any of the supplements had helped. I have mild hypertension (seems to have been pre-existing since it's so early in my pregnancy) and am starting various supplements & herbal treatments to try to bring it down. Calm brand magnesium is supposed to be very good (my bottle arrives today!) And passionflower & hawthorn tinctures as well as skullcap infusions. Susan Weed's book Wise Woman's Herbal for the Child Bearing Year has good information... I'm just hoping it helps! (I may have the words of the title a bit wrong, but it's something like that.)
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 

Hi FencedinFamily, thanks for asking! It's hard to say if anything is actually helping yet. We had some good news w/our last ultrasound - DD had grown exactly the amount she was suppose to grow between ultrasounds, so it *appears* that her growth hasn't been affected by my condition thus far. And, while my bp numbers haven't gone down, they also haven't gone up. However, I did another 24 hr urine collection and they found 462 mg of protein, up from 330 last time. So my urine protein levels are going up, which has them very concerned and considering me high risk for developing pre-e. Now they want me to get weekly ultrasounds to track her growth. We were trying to get as few of ultrasounds as possible since they haven't been proven to be safe, but seems like that's out the window now.

How many weeks are you? Think mine developed around week 23. Have they been testing your urine protein or tracking growth w/ultrasounds? I sure hope you have better luck curving your numbers than I have, but I'm gonna keep it up! Thanks for sharing the herb info - I'll look into those!

post #11 of 27
Sorry your protein levels have gone up. I developed pre-eclampsia in my first two pregnancies so I totally understand how nervewracking this is. I'm 16 weeks now and, like I said, was apparently hypertensive before pregnancy because my BP was elevated from the first visit. My protein is fine now, thankfully. Haven't had an ultrasound since 9 weeks though.
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 

Bless your heart, FencedinFamily! So sorry to hear that you had to deal with this with your first two pregnancies, and now may be dealing with it a third time! Have they talked about putting you on bp medication? They were talking about this with me, but my numbers haven't gotten high enough for it so far (not that I want to be on medication). I'm really hoping I can keep things in check and won't have to deal with either medication or pre-e, but I realize it's not totally in my control (some would say there's really nothing I can do about it, period). It's good to hear that your urine protein levels have been fine, though. Keep me posted!

post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 

Hi again, FencedinFamily! I was wondering if you would mind sharing your experiences w/2 pre-e pregnancies? Did you have to be induced early? If so, how early? Anything else you'd like to share? Just trying to get an idea of what to expect if my pregnancy goes this route... Thanks!

post #14 of 27

Just another tip, I learned today that hand grip exercises also help lower blood pressure. (I guess that must be how stress balls work?) 

post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 

I should get plenty of that - lol - because I was hand-milking a cow daily for about 14 mo straight up until this week and am now hand-milking goats daily. :) But good to know! Thanks for sharing!

post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 

Another update... my birthing center has officially dumped me; I will now be having a hospital birth. They have officially given me the label of having pre-eclampsia. :(

post #17 of 27

Sorry to hear that! 


My colleague went through almost exactly the same thing. She was supposed to have her baby 6 weeks after me but ended up having him a week after mine. He didn't have to stay in the NICU but they did stay in the hospital for about a week (I'm not exactly sure why, it could be unrelated). A year later, he has no health problems and has no trouble keeping up with my son.


At the time I can't imagine how stressful it was for them, but today she jokes about it saying she got off easy in that she didn't have to go through the torture of the last 5 weeks of pregnancy.

post #18 of 27

I'm so sorry you've been diagnosed with pre-e and won't be able to birth at the birth center. Hopefully birthing at the hospital will still be a good experience!


You asked about my previous experiences, so here goes ...


First pregnancy (12 years ago): Planned a homebirth with a lay midwife, but my bp started to rise around 34-35 weeks. I don't remember what the readings were. She watched me at first, recommended rest, and had me take cayenne supplements. When the readings stayed high, she said she wouldn't be able to attend me at home and that I'd have to go to a doctor. In that area, only family doctors delivered babies so I went to the one who acted as backup for the midwife. He was great, had actually attended a few homebirths many years before. I remember that I went to +1 on the protein, but I can't remember now if that was when I was still with the midwife or after I went to the doctor. I had mild edema in my feet, really nothing worse than what's considered normal. No headaches, no vision disturbances. At 38 weeks, I went in for a regular appointment and they found that I was 5cm so the doctor recommended induction. I was tired of being pregnant so I agreed. The baby was certainly ready since he was born less than an hour after I checked into the hospital. The whole experience was fine, and I have absolutely no complaints. The nurses were kind and warm. We were allowed to room in and went home the next day.


Second pregnancy (9 years ago): Saw a CNM who was now practicing at the hospital where I gave birth the first time. I don't remember when my bp started to go up, but it was somewhat earlier than the first time. She put me on bed rest at home, but I always felt like something was wrong when I'd just get up to go to the bathroom. After 2-3 weeks, I asked her if she could put me on bp medicine. She gave me Aldomet, I believe, but it never reduced my bp in the slightest. I ended up with quite a bit of edema all over my legs, my hands, and even my face somewhat. (None of the pitting edema, though.) I do not remember whether they found protein in my urine. My bp was so high, sometimes 200/150. When I was 37 weeks, I was so sick of being pregnant and not feeling well that I called the L&D department at the hospital to tell them that my left arm was numb (it was) and that I'd like to come in. They went ahead and put me on the fetal monitor and pitocin, and later the CNM came and broke my water. Labor took about 3 1/2 hours this time, but there weren't any complications. The baby was a bit small, 5lbs 12 oz, but otherwise healthy. Again, we roomed in and went home the next day.


Third pregnancy (5 years ago): I lived in a different area where the only people who attend births are OBs. After my first two experiences, I figured I didn't have a choice so I went to an OB. He is a great guy, nice personality, respectful, etc. But he's an OB with all the overly-aggressive tactics that they're taught. Everything was fine until a routine visit when I was 33 weeks and showed an elevated bp. This was the first elevated bp I'd had, and they only took it once - even so, the OB immediately sent me to the hospital for monitoring. They put me on magnesium sulfate, which did bring the bp down, but the OB never would let me go home. He would not consider home-based bedrest or oral medication that I could take at home. He was adamant that I simply stay in the hospital. Well, you can imagine how hard that is (especially when I had a 3 and 7 year old). After a week, I told him he either needed to let me go home or just induce labor. The day after I hit 34 weeks, he induced labor. The baby was born pretty quickly, maybe an hour after labor started. He was little, 4lbs 5oz, but fortunately healthy. He didn't need any oxygen or other "helps," though they wanted him in the incubator whenever someone wasn't holding him. I had to stay in the hospital for several more days until they were sure my bp would stay down without the magnesium sulfate. This hospital experience was so incredibly different from my previous ones. Only one of the nurses was nice. One of the others was so mean that she brought me to tears. They had a rule that I could not hold the baby at night, so I was forced to let them take him to the nursery every night (so he could be in the incubator ... why on earth couldn't they have rolled it into my room?!) After I was discharged, the baby still had to stay another 4-5 days until the pediatrician was satisfied that he'd stay warm without the incubator.


This pregnancy, I live in the same area and truly hope to avoid that hospital if at all possible. Right now, I'm consulting with a midwife who lives in another town and trying these natural measures to reduce my bp. My husband and I talked about it again today, and if the bp doesn't come down in the next week or two, I suppose I'll have to go back to the OB. It's so hard to be in an area where it feels like there aren't any choices. The closest natural birth midwives with hospital privileges are two hours away.


Anyway, I am praying for you to have a wonderful hospital experience! I know it's possible. :-)

post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the personal stories, FencedinFamily, and for the story about your colleague, Escaping! Sounds like things were definitely more stressful at the time, but that they all resulted in healthy babies, which is the most important part! I'm just going to keep doing all the natural remedies/eating well/resting like I've been doing and hope for the best! :) Oh, and also hurry up and get the rest of our baby gear (just in case she comes early) and make a good birth plan! Best of luck w/the rest of your pregnancy, FencedinFamily!

post #20 of 27
Two quick thoughts....one is that is feel Wapf screwed up my health .....long story but I just don't think people were meant to eat that much fat, no matter what the native tribes of x or y country do. No one really should have access to that much fat daily, in the real world where resources are normally scarce.

Second is that sometimes high bp just happens in pregnancy, especially in a first pregnancy. That is what ob told me. My above average bp went away around 34 weeks I wanna say? I was running about 25 PTs above my normal on top and about 10 on bottom number. Mine was always low to begin with, then one day it just shot ip like crazy, stayed high for like 8 weeks, then dropped down to about 120 ish over 80 and hen kept dropping, just from me taking it easier, running less errands, not even ding dishes. So stop being up and about and see what happens. Sometimes it's not anything you did wrong per se, but resting a lot can help.

also try reducing dairy at night. Dairy can inceease mucus in throat/nose and thus worsen sleep apnea, and apneas can raise bp. One last thing to try. But I'd try reduced chores and errands first and foremost...only be on your deet if u have to. I broke down and took a few shorter walks but I was careful to not overheat or let hands get puffy from the walk
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