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Preeclampsia (cont.)

Prevention

Lowering your blood pressure helps to prevent preeclampsia. If you have chronic high blood pressure, you can lower your blood pressure before pregnancy by:

  • Exercising.
  • Eating a diet low in sodium and rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Staying at a healthy weight.

When you are pregnant, regular checkups are key to early detection and treatment. Prompt treatment is vital to preventing the development of severe and possibly life-threatening preeclampsia.

Home Treatment

Expectant management

If you develop signs of preeclampsia early in pregnancy, your doctor or nurse-midwife may prescribe something called expectant management at home, possibly for many weeks.

This may mean you are advised to stop working, reduce your activity level, or possibly spend a lot of time resting (partial bed rest). Although partial bed rest is considered reasonable treatment for preeclampsia, experts don't know how well it works to treat mild preeclampsia or high blood pressure.2 It is known that strict bed rest may increase your risk of getting a blood clot in the legs or lungs.

Whether you are required to reduce your activity or have partial bed rest, expectant management limits your ability to work, remain active, take care of children, and fulfill other responsibilities. It may be helpful to follow some tips for dealing with bed rest.

Daily monitoring

You may be required to monitor your own condition on a daily basis. If so, you or another person (such as a trained family member or a visiting nurse) will:

Keep a written record of your results, including the dates and times you checked. Take this record with you when you visit your doctor or nurse-midwife.

Social support

Worry and reduced activity are difficult parts of having preeclampsia. It often helps to talk with women who are or have been in the same situation.

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