Suggestions to lower (or at least keep it from rising) blood pressure? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 08-13-2003, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well I'm not in the "danger" area yet according to my midwives... My baseline is about 117/72. Today it read 136/88. They don't want it to go over 150/90, or if it does I'm not eligable for a homebirth (midwife says that pre-eclampsia is an issue if the baseline goes over 30/15)... She said I should lay down twice a day for 30 minutes, but thats all she says I can do to try to lower or at least keep my blood pressure where it is.

I'm not very knowledgable about natural remedies and such, so I'm totally clueless about if there is anything else I can do that is safe... I've read about cream of tartar in lemon juice, epsom salt baths, and perhaps a couple of other things (that I've forgotten now) but I'm hoping that a helpful midwife or two here might be able to give me some suggestions that would be safe? I really REALLY want my homebirth, and figured someone might offer some help!

Thanks so much!

Lisa, mama to Orion (7) , Fiona Star (born sleeping @ 38wks 12/6/08) , our bitty (m/c 7/27/09) , and Charlotte Athena (11/5/10)
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#2 of 10 Old 08-13-2003, 11:15 PM
 
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Here is some information - although, just to be clear, pre-eclampsia is more than just an increase in blood pressure. The only sure way to definitively diagnose pre-eclampsia is to do a 24-hour urine collection with a liver panel (along with high blood pressure).

Some increase in blood pressure is to be expected - especially in the last couple of months. This is normal. When I see this, typically it stays the same until the birth. If you're not planning a waterbirth, I'd suggest getting a tub, as it lowers your blood pressure a great deal during labor.

Immersing yourself in water every day (through a tub or pool) is also helpful.

Please read this as well, as it applies to what you're dealing with right now.

Here are some other suggestions from a midwife email list archive:


In my state a rise of 30 systolic [top number]and/or a rise in diastolic [bottom number] of 30/15 on 2 occasions is an indication for a consult. Of course, I start on 125 g of protein and 2000 mg of Calcium/Magnesium and 3 qts h2o- probably the same as you- after the 1st high bp. I've only had one mom not respond, so the second bp is usually back to normal.

~*~*~*~*~

I use 2 t cream of tartar with the juice of half a lemon taken 3 days skip a day repeat to treat high blood pressure. It will drop the pressure about 20/10 right away.

~*~*~*~*~

My daughter is 37 weeks pregnant, and having BPs, this week for instance, 136/100, and thereabouts. Generalized edema, 2+ reflexes, trace protein, no headaches. The midwife said she needs to get into water (pool) up to her neck and soak twice a day. It really helps the BP after swimming and floating around in the pool, her BP is 98/62........Of course she is resting on her side a lots, and not going to work any more. No shopping, just 'makin a baby'.

~*~*~*~*~

According to Susun Weed in her book Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year Crataegus (Hawthorn Berry) is a strong and relatively safe vasodilator. "[hawthorn] berries work cumulatively and are taken for extended periods for best results. Essential hypertension then, rather than gestational hypertension, is the focus of Hawthorn berry use. The standard preparation is a cold infusion: one ounce of crushed dried berries steeping in two cups of cold water overnight brought quickly to a boil, strained and taken in sips, one cup per day , every day. The tincture dose is 15 drops, two or three times daily."

Here's what Weed recommends for hypertension in order of strength (and probably toxicity):

* biofeedback and positive affirmations and visualizations. Take a few deep breaths and repeat several times daily "My blood pressure is normal. I am at peace."

* yellow, overripe cucumbers -- 1/2 cup of juice or one raw, fresh cucumber daily

* Garlic, Parsley (<-- use caution in pregnancy as parsley is a very mild emmenagogue), and onions. Large quantities of raw garlic is supposed to obtain the best results.

* juice of half a lemon or lime plus two teaspoons of cream of tartar in on half cup water taken once a day for three days. Can repeat dose after a two day rest.

* Hops (Humulus lupulus), but only during the last two trimesters due to hormonal precursors. [If you choose this, try it with lots of lemon grass and fresh cracked coriander to slightly offset the bitterness.)

* Pasiflora (Passion Flower) Two to four capsules or 15 drops of tincture daily is reported by some to successfully control hypertension. Best results are after a few weeks

* Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) Weed's favorite for any tension related problem (mine too for myself)According to Weed the infusion is much more effective (I guess a standard one oz in quart of boiling water capped and infused for at least 4 hours) than the tincture. She recommends one or two cups daily.

* Hawthorn Berries (see top paragraph)

Weed also recommends Dandelion, eating lots of fresh leaves, for to prevent and treat preeclampsia, due to its high mineral content and the fact that it also contains choline, an alkaloid that support healthy liver function (and Tom Brewer links preeclampsia to abnormal liver function).

Weed also mentions nettles and raspberry leaf teas to tone and nourish in general (nettles are especially good for kidneys). And raw beet juice (up to 4 oz daily) or a raw salad of equal parts of one freshly grated raw apple and one grated raw beet. Raw beet is the fastest and most effective way to naturally increase available calcium to the body and it balances the sodium/potassium ratio of your blood. Plus the salad tastes really good, especially with walnuts added -- no dressing required!

She only recommends valerian root for elevated bp IN THE CONTEXT OF BEING IN LABOR (along with hops and skullcap -- she recommends a handful of each valerian root, hops and skullcap in a quart jar, steeped for two hours to temporarily lower bp).

Of course there's also taking an extra b complex vitamin in addition to your regular prenatal vitamins, high protein, NOT limiting salt, etc. for preeclampsia.

~*~*~*~*~*~


In my personal experience, I would say that releasing emotion is probably one of the biggest things you can do. Typically, women that hold in anger or resentment will have blood pressure issues. Journaling is a good way to ensure that you're letting these feelings out. It's not always the case, as I think your bp issues are very normal for the end of pregnancy, and women who have borderline high bp before pregnancy are usually at a higher risk for this sort of thing.

Keep salting your food to taste - do not cut it out. With all the extra blood your body has, it needs sodium. (This is the main reason why the bp rises in late pregnancy - the extra weight of the baby, the expanded blood volume, the increased vascularity to the placenta and uterus....)

Nothing will increase your bp more than worrying about it. Be sure to ask for two different bp readings - and have one of them be lying down. Our bp fluctuates a great deal and lying down will give a better indication of your "true" blood pressure.

I hope this helps, and didn't overwhelm you. Good luck!
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#3 of 10 Old 08-14-2003, 12:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow thanks for all that information! Out of all the exerpts, is there any of them you specifically recommend over any other? I don't want to overdo it or anything... I'm already taking calcium/mag. but its 1000mgs calcium and 500mg mag. Perhaps I should up the dose by taking two? I'm taking them because I'm not so great about getting in enough calcium via milk and such, but I have gotten better (milk tastes a lot better to me now that I'm pregnant!)...

I can certainly go swimming too! Or relax in the pool, whichever... We were swimming daily, it helped my pelvis pressure/pain SO much, but now that we're moving, we haven't had the chance so much. But I can certainly squeeze it in every other day or so....

I will ask my midwives if they do the liver panel or automatically rule out patients with the 30/15 rise... I can certainly see them wanting to be safe and not have a pre-eclampsia woman having a homebirth, but it would make sence to make *sure* its pre-eclampsia first! They do have their own doc. backup and work out of a birth center as well, so I know they have access to a lab....

And I usually can get my BP to go down if I spend a moment or two before and during the reading being calm and well, I suppose meditating (thinking calm things, breathing slowly, ect)... But I don't always get a chance to do that, since both my midwives and doctor do the blood pressure the second I sit down... a 2nd reading after I've been sitting is *always* better too... so perhaps I should just ask my midwives to do the reading at the end of the appt instead of the beginning. That would make sence to me.

I am being pretty calm and not worried about the blood pressure, which is sort of surprising to me, since I tend to be a worry wart. I dunno, I've just been able to sort of let go of the issue. Well not let it *go*, I've been very persistant in speaking up when I think my pressure is being read wrong (the nurses have done everything from forearm readings to using the small cuff, and I'm a plus sized woman) but in letting it go stress wise. No clue really HOW I've done that, but I'm not complaining! Being pregnant has really given me a reason to not stress out as bad as I used to... don't want to stress out the baby!

Oh could I ask you one more question (or anyone else)... where in the world can I get comphrey tea, or another mix of herbs for a sitz bath? The local whole foods doesn't have it, and since I don't generally go herb hunting I have no idea where to go...

Thank you so much for the info Pam! I'll look at the links here in just a bit.

Lisa, mama to Orion (7) , Fiona Star (born sleeping @ 38wks 12/6/08) , our bitty (m/c 7/27/09) , and Charlotte Athena (11/5/10)
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#4 of 10 Old 08-14-2003, 12:56 AM
 
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Whole comfrey herb can be found online in many places.

There is a specific afterbirth sitz bath herbal combination that can be bought at: http://www.gentlemoon.com/catalog.php?category=BabyMoon

This is the best blend, I use it with my clients. All the herbs here are from WishGarden herbals, which I love.

Oh, and regards to any one rx for blood pressure, I'm partial to water immersion and hawthorne berry. I see alot of success with both.....of course, daily massages (or weekly from a massage therapist!) is a nice bonus, too!
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#5 of 10 Old 08-14-2003, 01:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Awesome! Thanks so much for your help!

Lisa, mama to Orion (7) , Fiona Star (born sleeping @ 38wks 12/6/08) , our bitty (m/c 7/27/09) , and Charlotte Athena (11/5/10)
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#6 of 10 Old 08-16-2003, 06:22 PM
 
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With our clients, we have had great success with increasing protein to 100 gr a day or above, submersion in water as often as possible, but at least once a day, deep breathing/meditation/guided visual imagery (visualizing your blood pressure lowering), a (over)ripe cucumber every day, and plenty of water with a little lemon squeezed in. Make sure the midwife has an appropriate sized cuff, and that you don't take your blood pressure when you are excited (like, right after coming up the stairs or something).

HTH!

Lori
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#7 of 10 Old 08-16-2003, 08:23 PM
 
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I had accupuncture which helped blood pressure in the final stages of pregnancy and helped shut up my overzealous OB.
Just remember that pre-eclempsia is far more than just blood pressure, and don't be made to stress over worrrying about it, as that will make it rise anyway! Mine went down once I went into labour and learned that my OB was out of town.
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#8 of 10 Old 11-14-2007, 06:43 PM
 
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I'm dragging out this seriously old thread because it relates to my current situation.

My BP has been labile (all over the place) this pregnancy, with a low of 100/50 at 19 weeks and a high this Monday at 38.5 weeks of 141/90, and pretty much everywhere else in between. Diastolic reading has been in the mid-80s for about 4 weeks. I've also had pretty squishy edema of the ankles/feet for, oh, 10 weeks or so.

Last week, I had complete labs and 24-hr urine--everything was perfect.

At Monday's appointment, midwife recommended an induction at 41 weeks and twice weekly NSTs until then. I declined the induction but agreed to the NSTs. Had a BPP on Monday and baby scored 8/8, and my placenta was graded as a 2.

I know that water immersion, celery, and cream of tartar/lemon juice help to lower BP, and I've been trying all of those tricks. (just started the cream of tartar).

My question is about magnesium. I had been taking a Cal/Mag supplement for restless legs. Gave it up on Monday because I understand that as a smooth muscle relaxant, Mag can delay or inhibit contractions. I'm 39 weeks on Friday and don't want to do anything that will put off contractions, especially if I'm fighting off an induction. My concern is, though, that the Magnesium was helping my bp, and going off it will cause it to rise even more.

Any suggestions or advice?

Thanks so much!
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#9 of 10 Old 11-23-2007, 10:02 AM
 
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hawthorn tincture helped me. and, not stressing about life, in general.

doula mama to my nov 05 and my feb 08 babes who wrap me in love.
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#10 of 10 Old 11-27-2007, 08:49 PM
 
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Cornsilk tea, also helps with the swelling. I took it with DD2 when I was horribly swollen and had high bp. It was amazing. Fish oil also helped. There is a great kind out there that is lemon flavored and tastes very fresh and clean. Norweigan, I think it is called.

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