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Gettin scared!

Posted by on Feb. 2, 2013 at 12:15 PM
  • 9 Replies
My csection is Monday morning and I'm starting to get really scared! Ther taking her a few days early because my blood pressures been really high! Thursday at the obgyns office it was 159/111 this isn't my first csection, I had my son 8 years ago. I guess I'm so afraid cuz it's been so long and my blood pressure. Anyone have any words of wisdom for me?
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by on Feb. 2, 2013 at 12:15 PM
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by on Feb. 2, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Are you taking meds for your BP, or doing anything else to help?

Do you have help at home now, and through the process?

by on Feb. 2, 2013 at 12:33 PM

I have some info saved, hope this helps:

  1. Put your feet up. Aching legs and ankles are a common problem in pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, so give yourself regular breaks and take the pressure of your feet. Sit in a comfy chair with your feet on a footstool or propped up on cushions, lie on the sofa or lie on your bed - whatever is comfortable for you. If your ankles are swelling, stack several cushions together to raise your feet up higher, as this helps reduce swelling.

  2. Listen to calming music. Take time out from the madness of life and whisk yourself away to a calmer place, with the help of some relaxing music. Choose one of your favourites or treat yourself to a special pregnancy relaxation CD. Sit back, close your eyes and let the music wash over and relax you.

  3. Have a massage. Massage is great for easing tension and relaxing the muscles. Rope your partner in to give you a massage or book a treatment with a specialist (many places offer special treatments for pregnant women).

  4. Try a reflexology treatment. Reflexology is a natural therapy that believes your feet are in a sense a ‘map of your body.' A reflexologist will clear blockages and ease ailments by putting a small amount of pressure on your feet - it's a bit like a foot massage. It can be very relaxing, can relieve tension and help any pregnancy ailments you're suffering from.

  5. Have a go at antenatal yoga. Yoga designed for pregnancy can help tone up your body, but most classes also teach special relaxation tips too. These can help relieve any stress you're experiencing during pregnancy, as well as ease worry about the birth itself. Ask you midwife for antenatal yoga class recommendations.

  6. Try meditation or visualisation. Relaxing your mind is just as important as relaxing your body, but it can be hard to do. Meditation or visualisation could help and there are lots of CDs and classes available that teach it especially with pregnancy in mind.

  7. Have a laugh. Laughter is a great form of natural - and free - therapy. Meet up with your friends, or watch your favourite comedy or film and have a good laugh. Your baby will pick up on the feel-good factor too.

  8. Get some fresh air and sunshine. It's good to get fresh air and sunshine when you can and can be a good pick-me-up if you've been inside all day. Have a stroll around your neighbourhood, walk to the park or even walk around the shops, breathe in the fresh air and relax.

  9. Enjoy a night out with your partner. Spend some time unwinding and relaxing together - especially if it's your first baby, as life will change when it arrives. Have a lovely meal, go to the theatre or indulge in your favourite pastime.

  10. Enjoy water. Water is another form of natural healer. Swimming is ideal during pregnancy, as the water is supportive, and it's not too exhausting. If you fancy a class, most places offer antenatal swimming sessions, but if a swimming pool isn't your cup of tea, enjoy a nice long soak in the bath instead.

And finally, enjoy the course of your pregnancy. The nine months will fly by and a new baby will soon be part of your life.

C-section Relaxation: Preparing for Your Surgery

C-section Relaxation: Preparing for Your Surgery

Author: Elizabeth Mcgee

Moms that deliver babies vaginally are presented with loads of advice for preparation. They're offered pre-natal classes and help through books that they read.  The classes prepare them for relaxing and natural pain relief with various techniques such as breathing, hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and visualization techniques for the labor and for the birth.  

But, what about women that need to have emergency or planned c-sections instead?  They need TLC and relaxation help as well!
The Cesaream surgery is a big deal and because you're almost guaranteed to be wide awake during the procedure, it can be stressful! 

Here are some tips to help you whether you're having a planned caesarean or in case you find yourself in an emergency surgery situation.

Take The Classes Anyway!

Most women who don't expect to have a c-section would typically take pre-natal classes to help them prepare for a safe and healthy childbirth. However, if you need to have a planned c-section, you might not think it's worth your trouble to take pre-natal classes, but remember, there are some great techniques taught in those classes that can help you regardless of whether you're in active labor or not.

Depending on where you live there may even be classes that are geared to a planned or elective caesarean. 


There are some awesome relaxation sounds that you can play on an MP3 player or aloud during preparation for the surgery.  Music and other sounds can be very soothing when a situation is otherwise stressful. Slow and deep breathing can be helpful as well in terms of keeping your heart rate and blood pressure at a healthy pace which, by the way, will help with the baby's vital signs as well. 

The relaxation CD or MP3 recordings can also be helpful to you as can relaxation exercises such as deep breathing and visualization.


One of the most important aspects of dealing with a new situation is being prepared with knowledge of what is going on.  If you at least prepare yourself with knowledge about the surgery and what to expect, this can help significantly. 

It can be frightening to think about being cut open and about not knowing what is going on behind the curtain that is up below your waist.  Many women are afraid they'll feel the pain, but also the incision itself and the loss of sensation in your legs after a spinal block can sometimes induce an anxiety attack.  Don't be afraid to ask questions when you go for your hospital registration and research information about preparation and procedures during the surgery.

When a c-section is planned the hospital staff will often talk to you through the procedure because it will be at a more relaxed pace than during an emergency when every moment counts.


Having your spouse or birthing partner in the room during your c-section can be very soothing and reassuring.  The procedure itself doesn't typically take very long but it can feel like it takes a long time when you're not sure what is going on.  A supportive birth partner can make a big difference in how stressful or relaxing the experience is for you.

Planning Ahead

When you plan ahead and you're prepared yourself for a c-section or the potential for an emergency cesarean, you'll be less stressed.  Because recovery time is longer than with a vaginal birth you might prepare by having help around the house and preparing for living as much on one floor of your home as possible.

For the first few weeks you cannot pick up anything heavier than your baby and planning around this possibility will make things easier in those first few weeks after the baby and you are home and getting acquainted with one another.

Statistics have shown that women suffer a much lesser degree of emotional stress and depression from having a c-section if they are prepared for the process, meaning they fully understand why their c-section is needed and take part in the decisions being made.

Relaxation techniques, knowledge, support and a bit of planning can go a long way together in helping your baby's birth experience be as stress-free as possible.

About the Author:

Elizabeth is the creator and author of The Worry Free C-Section , an essential guide to c-section planning, recovery comfort, care & support. Put your c-section fears to rest with this practical yet powerful C-Section Recovery guide.

Article Source:'s-health-articles/csection-relaxation-preparing-for-your-surgery-631313.html

After a Cesarean

Recovering from a C-Section

By Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE,

After your cesarean surgery is over you will be wheeled into a post-operative recovery room. Usually there are several beds in one room separated by curtains. You will remain in recovery for a varied amount of time, depending on the anesthesia that you had (general or regional), typically it's about a two to four hour period. If you had an epidural or spinal it's about the time you can wiggle your legs. If you've had general anesthesia you may fall asleep and wake up repeatedly, and possibly feel nauseated.

During this recovery period your vital signs will be monitored carefully and the firmness of your uterus will be periodically checked. As will the flow of blood. You may begin to feel after pains as your uterus contracts down.

The best advice for recovery is to begin to move as quickly as you can. Obviously you will want to start out with simple things like breathing. While breathing sounds like an easy thing, taking a deep breath is not that easy; remember to begin to do this early and frequently.

As you move to your regular room some of your equipment will be coming with you, including your catheter, blood pressure monitors and IVs. The catheter will usually be removed the day after your surgery. The IV will stay until your intestines begin working again, as evidenced by rumbling sounds in the intestines and possible gas pain for mom. Avoid carbonated, hot or cold drinks as they tend to cause gas pain to be worse.

You will feel pain from the surgery and it's important to deal with it early on, because the less pain you feel the more likely you are to be up and moving about, which is key to a speedy recovery. If you've had a regional anesthesia you may have been given Duramorph prior to the removal of the epidural catheter. This provides pain relief for up to 24 hours after surgery, without the use of IV, IM (intra-muscular) or oral drugs. After that period or if you've not had Duramorph, you may request medications for which your doctor has left an order. Some patients will also leave surgery with a special pump on their IV that allows them to dispense their own IV pain medications when it unlocks every so often. These are also used mostly for the initial 24 hour period. While medications will get to breastmilk, some are better than others for nursing mothers, talk to your doctor and the baby's doctor about what is right for you and your baby.

One of the biggest milestones in the hospital will be your first walk. I've been there three times before and it's scary. Here's my advice:

  • Splint your incision by holding a pillow over it. Your insides will feel like they are falling out, but they are held in places by several layers of stitches and staples.
  • Avoid the tendency to lean forward, stand up straight.
  • Do not look down, but focus on an object as a goal: the chair, the bathroom, etc.
  • Always begin your walking with help.
  • Walk as frequently, even if only a few steps, as possible.

Your Incision

Don't be afraid to look at your incision, it's actually very important that you do so. The first day it may be covered by gauze, and some women may have special drains to help remove fluids that are collecting on the inside. There are different types of external incision, that may not match the incision on your uterus, make sure to ask the doctor who did your surgery about the uterine incision. The area may look bruised, red, and irritated. You will notice that there are staples or stitches. These will usually be removed within a few days of the surgery or will dissolve on their own like the internal stitches. Looking at the incision now will allow you to be able to report changes that may indicate infection to your doctor at a later date.

One thing that surprised many women including me, was the numbness and itching. This is supposed to go away within a few weeks but doesn't always. It doesn't indicate that there is something wrong.

The best advice that anyone can give you, whether your at home or in the hospital, is to rest. Rest is very important after any birth and particularly true when you add the surgical aspect, even if you did not labor. Ask that visitors wait for awhile, enlist the help of hospital staff at keeping them to a minimum. Be sure to ask for help from your friends and family who offer. And sleep whenever possible.

Your Baby After a Cesarean

Your baby may need special care, particularly if that was the reason for the cesarean. So he or she may spend extra time in the nursery. If this is the case ask that your bed be wheeled to the nursery or a wheelchair as soon as you are able.

If your baby is doing well after the birth and is healthy, you may be able to hold your baby through the entire recovery room period, bringing the baby to your postpartum room with you. Even if you are feeling sleepy or in pain, your family members can help you with the baby while in your room.

Breastfeeding is also still possible after a cesarean, although the positioning may be a bit trickier with your incision. Pain medication can help relieve some of this and there are also great tips on positions to be had from the hospital lactation consultant, breastfeeding educator, or your local La Leche League.

Side lying is a great position to nurse in because it takes so little effort on your part and the baby avoids the incision. The football hold is also great, prop up with a lot of pillows for this one.

Emotions After a Cesarean

Your emotions, as with any new mom, will probably be all over the place for the first few days. In addition to the new mom feelings, you may have certain feelings about the birth.

You may have been afraid when told that you needed a cesarean, that something was wrong with you or your baby. That may have ended with relief as a healthy baby was born, or more fear if your baby had to go to the special care nursery. You may feel disappointed for the way things went or that certain things didn't happen, like a vaginal birth or breastfeeding your baby in the recovery room. It's okay to have these feelings or questions.

The questions can be asked of those who were around, your doctor or midwife, your partner, the nurses. get explanations, which will explain why the surgery was necessary. It's important to realize that these feelings need to be dealt with just as much as the physical healing.

Some women don't feel negatively about their cesareans, and that's one part of the range of normal as well. It's neither right nor wrong to feel either way, but it's important to remember that each side of the fence is valid and that we must be supportive of this mother, no matter how she feels.

Recovering From a Cesarean Birth: Tips on Healing

Cesarean birth is major abdominal surgery. New mothers need and deserve to have extra support during this special time of birth and healing. Women who have experienced either a planned or an unplanned cesarean section react to the surgery in very individual ways. Some women physically heal very quickly; others report that recovery took several weeks or even months. Avoid putting time limits on yourself. Emotionally, women’s feelings about their cesarean sections vary in range from acceptance, to disappointment, to devastation. Some women need as much emotional support as physical support for a healthy recovery. Each woman heals and grows into her new role of motherhood at her own pace. In time, you will regain your energy level and sense of well being.

To Relieve Pain and Assist Physical Healing:

At hospital:

  • Ask for physical assistance, and keep nurses’ call button within easy reach.
  • Take pain medication as needed for comfort. Try to avoid pain medications containing codeine as they cause constipation, making it hard to void after cesarean surgery.
  • If possible, obtain a private room so that a family member may remain with you.
  • Use pillows to support your abdomen when turning, standing, coughing, and when feeding the baby.
  • Rest as much as possible and limit visitors. Sleep when baby sleeps.
  • Rock in a rocking chair as soon as possible after surgery to speed recovery and reduce gas.
  • Take short walks.
  • Eat nutritious food and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid cold and carbonated beverages.
  • The surgery will slow down your digestive tract, to help with constipation, try an over-the-counter stool softener, NOT a laxative.
  • Each time you stand after the surgery stretch up to uncramp stomach muscles and reduce adhesions.

At home:

  • Have several diapering stations so you can change baby easily.
  • Let others do household chores like cooking, cleaning, and laundry.
  • Check the incision daily, or have someone check it for redness, which can be a sign of infection.
  • Have a list to things that need done, so when people ask, you can remember what needs done.
  • Take care of yourself and your baby only.
  • Remember not to lift anything heavier than your baby.
  • Stay in your pajamas, so people remember you are recovering from birth and surgery.
  • On the other hand, sometimes taking a shower and getting dressed really does wonders psychologically. Even in the hospital, it can help to put on your OWN clothes.
  • Keep the baby near you at night so you do not have to get up.
  • Have a basket that you can carry easily with nutritious snacks, fingernail clippers, lotion, a book, and other little necessary things in it.
  • Eat well and drink water freely. Have a pitcher of water or juice near you.
  • If you have other children, secure assistance in caring for them from family and friends.
  • Consider hiring a postpartum doula.
  • Increase activity gradually.

To Promote Emotional Healing:

  • Keep your baby near you as much as possible and get to know your new baby.
  • Breastfeed your baby to promote bonding, and release beneficial mothering hormones.
  • Share your feelings with others and talk about your experience as much as you feel necessary.
  • It is normal to experience a wide range of emotions including relief, happiness, sadness, anger, and feelings of loss and failure.
  • Write your baby’s birth story.
  • Write letters to the hospital and your doctor, explaining what you did and did not like about your birth- you can mail them, or not, but it is beneficial to write your thoughts down.
  • Seek support from available resources including breastfeeding, parental, and cesarean support groups.

Read books on natural childbirth, cesarean birth, and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). There are many varied reasons why a birth may have ended in a cesarean section. If you plan to have any more children, it is important for you to know that it is very likely you can have a vaginal birth next time. When you are ready to learn about VBAC, ICAN can help you find the information and support you need.

This may be copied and distributed with retained copyright.
© International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Nursing after a Cesarean Birth

By Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

These are a collection of suggestions for nursing after a cesarean birth. You can do it!

by on Feb. 2, 2013 at 12:51 PM
No not on any meds and my husband is on leave for 15 days so I have help from him, however we also have an 8 year old and my disabled mothe living with us so it's hard

Quoting doulala:

Are you taking meds for your BP, or doing anything else to help?

Do you have help at home now, and through the process?

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by on Feb. 2, 2013 at 12:52 PM
1 mom liked this

Do you have help from others?   A doula?
I would encourage you to work on your health/BP, too.


Quoting katielawlor:

No not on any meds and my husband is on leave for 15 days so I have help from him, however we also have an 8 year old and my disabled mothe living with us so it's hard

Quoting doulala:

Are you taking meds for your BP, or doing anything else to help?

Do you have help at home now, and through the process?

by on Feb. 2, 2013 at 12:53 PM

4) Hypertension

(Editor's note: E-News readers responded to an inquiry about hypertension and salt restriction posted in Issue 2:15. Following are some interesting and informative responses.)

It is vital that your friend NOT cut out salt! In fact, salt restriction
will probably make her blood pressure increase, not decrease. This is an alarming prescription for disaster: please read on.

Your friend's doctor has prescribed the most common medical treatment for high blood pressure in pregnancy, also known as "pregnancy induced hypertension," or PIH. It can be an early symptom of toxemia, but in the well-nourished woman, it seldom is.

Your friend needs to be sure that her diet is indeed adequate for pregnancy. If not, she may be on the road to the very problems her doctor suspects. See Dr. Tom Brewer's "Blue Ribbon Baby Pages" at
for the proper prenatal diet to
prevent toxemia.

As for hypertension and salt restriction, here's the scoop:

[The following is adapted from What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know by Gail Sforza Brewer and Thomas Brewer, M.D., Chapter 4.]

Salt is a vital nutrient. No woman, expectant or otherwise, can live without it. Neither can the unborn baby, who receives sodium from his mother's blood stream, through the placenta. Sodium requirements vary widely depending on activity level, environmental conditions, personal health, and many more factors. Pregnancy is one condition where the body actually requires MORE salt in order to remain healthy.

Each person has many finely tuned mechanisms that work in the body to preserve the appropriate concentration of sodium in the tissues and in the bloodstream. In normal pregnancy, the mother's blood volume must expand by more than 40% to meet the metabolic demands of the placenta. Salt is a chief element in maintaining this dramatically expanded blood volume. Salt causes the body to retain fluid, which, under normal conditions, is retained in the bloodstream for use in placental perfusion.

Salt restriction during pregnancy limits the normal expansion of the blood volume, with disastrous consequences. Depending on the degree of sodium restriction and the subsequent blood volume limitation the placenta may: * grow slowly, or not at all,
* develop areas of dead tissue (infarcts) that cannot function,
* be unable to accomplish the transfer of nutrients to the baby,
* even begin to separate from the wall of the uterus, causing hemorrhage and cutting off the baby's oxygen supply.
Under these conditions, the baby's growth, development and even life are imperiled.

Cutting out salt frequently leads to an inadequate diet in other areas as well. Foods such as eggs, milk, cheese and salty meat products are often on the list of restricted foods for a low-salt diet. These foods are sources of essential high-quality protein, necessary for baby's growth, and for prevention of toxemia. It may also mean reduced food intake overall, as food is no longer quite as palatable without salt. Inadequate calorie consumption leads to the body using protein for fuel...protein needed for the baby's growth and development.

Some women live and/or work in conditions that cause their bodies to lose more sodium than is healthful (hot climate, "sweaty" work, aerobic exercise, etc.), and thus boost the body's sodium need. If the mother does not take in more, her depletion will activate temporary sodium-conserving mechanisms in the kidneys and adrenal glands. If salt deprivation continues, these organs can become exhausted, and show signs of degenerative disease.

The best way for any pregnant woman to be assured of meeting her body's (and her baby's) need for sodium is to follow the wisdom of her body and salt her food to taste throughout pregnancy. The body's simplest salt-regulating mechanism, the taste buds, are the most reliable guides to salt intake management.

The low-salt diet doesn't work because it overlooks the body's physiologic self-conserving mechanism and brings about the very conditions it was designed to prevent:

* High blood pressure--when salt is restricted below body requirements, the kidney reacts by releasing a hormone, renin, into the bloodstream. Renin influences other hormones which, in turn, cause the arterioles to constrict. The effect is to raise the blood pressure since the same amount of blood is being pumped with the same force through a smaller opening. The obstetrician worries about high blood pressure since it often accompanies one of the most dangerous pregnancy diseases, toxemia. By putting the mother on a low-salt diet he can *cause* hypertension where there was none before.

* Low protein intake--the low-salt provision sharply reduces the mother's range of food choices, and makes the permitted foods less palatable. Her appetite wanes, so she will probably eat less than she should. She will then be even more severely malnourished than a first look at the low-salt diet indicates. As her intake of protein falls, her liver becomes less able to manufacture circulating serum proteins, such as albumin, and albumin levels start to fall. As a result, water is lost from her bloodstream in the the area surrounding the cells (interstitial space) and it appears that other substances in the blood, such as iron, are present in adequate levels (true anemia resulting from the diet is masked). Fluid lost from the bloodstream shows up as generalized swelling of tissues (edema). Edema caused by this fall in albumin levels is abnormal, a sign of the disease of metabolic toxemia.

* "Excess" weight gain--the edema will increase as long as the woman's body is malnourished. Her kidneys excrete less water in the urine as they scramble to keep salt and water in the body within normal limits; the reabsorbed water cannot be held in the bloodstream since albumin levels are too low, so it leaks out into the tissues. Result: added swelling and added pounds. [end excerpt]

It is not unusual for obstetricians to make a reflex diagnosis of toxemia whenever one or more of the "classic" symptoms are present: swelling of the hands and face, excess weight gain, protein in the urine or elevated blood pressure. Your friend is fortunate to have been only diagnosed as "borderline hypertensive," but her treatment may still CAUSE her to develop toxemia, because she is being treated for a problem she may not actually have. Her blood pressure should be rechecked several times before making a diagnosis, and her diet must not be ignored. Her BP may be high because she's not eating well--not having enough salt, fluids or protein to expand her blood volume as needed for pregnancy. Again, see the Blue Ribbon Baby web site for more on this.

[Quoting again from Brewer, p. 82]
Elevated blood pressure (hypertension) may result from many different causes. "Anxiety" hypertension is engendered by emotional stress of any sort. Many women become anxious during physical examinations or during laboratory testing. Women whose blood pressure has been normal throughout pregnancy may develop hypertension at the time of admission to the hospital for labor and birth. These mothers do not have MTLP; the liver is functioning normally and the blood volume is expanded.

"Essential," chronic, or benign hypertension is most common in women over thirty years of age. However, many black teenagers have already developed the condition and will continue to have it the rest of their lives. These mothers require exactly the same diet as mothers with normal blood pressures--including the use of salt to taste--since their blood volumes must expand, too, as pregnancy advances.

Sodium deficiency can trigger hypertension, as mentioned previously.

Obese women are often incorrectly diagnosed as hypertensive when a
standard-size blood pressure cuff is used to take a reading. When the cuff is too small, additional pressure on the mother's arm reads on the meter as elevated blood pressure. Using a larger cuff prevents this error.

Pheochromocytoma, an exceedingly rare tumor of the adrenal gland, also causes hypertension.

Kidney diseases also result in high blood pressure. [end quote]

There is so much more I could share with you. Please check out Dr. Brewer's web site, for more information. Also, I have been working with Gail (Brewer) Krebs (excerpted above) on publishing both of her books on prenatal nutrition online. She is working on updated versions of them, but it is taking longer than expected. Visitors to the web site can click a button to be notified when the books are available. I hope it will be soon!

To reach Dr. Brewer personally:
phone number (hotline number): (802) 388-0276
He LOVES to hear from expectant moms and from midwives and other professionals. He needs to know that his work is influencing lives, because the medical profession has completely ignored, even disdained, him!

(Note: I'm not getting personal benefit from promoting Dr. Brewer's web site. It's truly a labor of love because I believe in his work, and have seen too many benefits from it to let it be ignored. If you have suggestions for the site, please let me know. I will be putting the above information on the site, so you may refer other clients to it as well.)
-Marci O'Daffer, CCE
Reply to:

5) From Metabolic Toxemia of Late Pregnancy: A Disease of Malnutrition By Dr. Tom Brewer

In the last fifteen years obstetricians have narrowly focused on the blood pressure of the pregnant woman as being of central concern regardless of her nutritional metabolic status, liver function, blood volume and placental function. If the diastolic blood pressure rises 15 or 20 mm Hg or the systolic rises 20-30 mm Hg, a diagnosis of "pregnancy-induced hypertension" (PIH) is made. All "PIH" is then "managed" the same as if every hypertensive pregnant woman were in jeopardy of convulsions, brain hemorrhage, abruption of the placenta, fetal death, etc. This is simply not true; *most hypertension in human pregnancy is physiological or benign, not related to MTLP at all.*

British investigators Mathews et al. have shown the benign nature of hypertension in the well-fed pregnant woman. (British Medical Journal, vol. 2, p. 623, 1978) When these workers abandoned the traditional "therapies" for hypertension in pregnancy, bed rest, low calorie, low salt diets, sodium diuretics, sedatives, pre-term induction, for women with "non-albuminic hypertension" as they termed it, they found that their hypertensive patients achieved *the same outcome of pregnancy* as in women with normal blood pressures attending their prenatal clinics. Their recommendation for those with hypertension not attributable to any medical disease is simply to refrain from aggressive therapies and have [the patient's] case followed by the district midwife. In the United States this would translate to having her continue to be followed by her chosen care provider, not to be referred to a "high-risk" perinatal specialist.

6) More Approaches to Elevated Blood Pressure

I would recommend taking blood pressure at another location than the doctor's office. During my second pregnancy, I was seeing an OB for backup in case of an emergency. My blood pressure was always high at the doctor's office, but normal at my midwife's house. The doctor's office made me tense and nervous and was causing the change. This may not be the reason for borderline high blood pressure, but it might be worthwhile to consider it. My doctor would have probably suggested inducing me, if I hadn't been planning a homebirth.
-Lauren Poindexter

Your hypertensive client may benefit greatly from massage. I am a certified doula and work mostly in the hospital. I found that massage lowers the BP and promotes general well being. I use it prenatally, but especially during labor. Possibly, you could go with her to a massage therapist and learn a few strokes and tips from the therapist. Loving hands, good breathing technique (both you and client!) and some soothing music or a quiet room can work true wonders!
-Alex Wagner

A very effective way to quickly reduce high blood pressure is with vegetable juices. I have seen a friend with high blood pressure due to preeclampsia respond the same day to 16 oz of carrot (8 oz.), cucumber (4-5 oz.), beet (2-3 oz.), lemon (1 oz.) and garlic juice (3-4 cloves). Drink the juice in 3-4 serving through the day. This can be repeated daily as long as desired. Susun Weed, in her herbal for the child bearing years also has a chapter on herbs and food to correct high blood pressure.

Certain forms of yoga are clinically proven to reduce blood pressure. I believe yoga in general is effective in lowering BP.

..Salt is one of the essential components of a cell, and to reproduce cells one must have some salt in the diet. Salt to taste....Salt is also needed to regulate fluid levels throughout the body and amniotic fluid, which recycles itself every 8 hours or so, also contains salt, as does the expanded volume of blood.

We all know what sitting on one's behind does for pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. My first inclination would be to record diet for 3 or 5 days and check her protein and calorie levels. If she is in the early stages of toxemia, then a protein intake of 100g per day may help, calories need to be 2500 per day, calcium is important also.

How are your friend's stress levels? Is she in a stressful situation at home? Is she a coffee or other caffinated beverage drinker? As for herbs, I like to start with food and progress to herbs from there. Beet juice, cucumbers, and lemon juice all help (see Susun Weed's 'Herbal for the Childbearing Year), then hops, passionflower, skullcap, and dandelion in addition to the usual raspberry leaves and nettles.

Your friend could try taking hawthorn berry tincture, 20-30 drops three times per day. Hawthorn is a gentle normalizer and toner of the entire circulatory system and can lower high blood pressure. Interestingly it can also normalize low blood pressure. If the blood pressure reading shows an elevated diastole (the bottom number), she may also add passionflower, a sedative to the arteries. You could try 20 drops hawthorn and 10 drops passionflower together, in a little water, three times per day. I don't know how long these herbs take to show an effect. They are both gentle enough to be used during pregnancy.
-Adrienne Leeds

I had borderline p/e (called PIH) during my pregnancy, and my midwives suggested going to a pool every day to use the water pressure to drain fluids from my tissues. It not only worked, it did wonders for my heavy, tired pregnant body--I was weightless for a little while. Your friend will pee quite a bit more after she gets out of the pool (she needs to be in for at least 15 minutes submerged up to her neck constantly--1/2 hour would be optimal).

Also, she should ask her doc, but taking more calcium/magnesium tablets (with a 2 to 1 calcium/magnesium ratio) will greatly help bring her b/p down. It is exactly what they give moms with hbp (magnesium sulfate). It's terrible to receive during labor because it makes one woozy and one tends to forget most of what's going on. I had this and wished I would have educated myself then.

As with anything free, seek professional medical advice before following any of this info!
-Kristine Owens

by on Feb. 2, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Brewer Diet   to protect against pre-eclampsia, toxemia, and have a healthier pregnancy:

The Brewer Pregnancy Diet

Dr. Tom Brewer was a pioneer in women's health. At a time when doctors were trying to treat symptoms of Preeclampsia, Dr. Brewer attacked the problem at its cause: poor nutrition. He learned very quickly that when a woman is given the tools to make good nutritional decisions, she will eat healthy.

Dr. Brewer first recommended his pregnancy diet to women in his practice in the 1960's. He served women from a very poor community whose families had passed on seriously flawed cooking and eating habits. When he implemented his program, the health of the women and babies was better than that of their well educated neighbors. During his 12 years in practice over 25,000 women experienced healthy pregnancies with his diet. Dr. Brewer's research demonstrates that good nutrition can help prevent still birth, premature birth, preeclampsia, anemia, placental abruption, infection and miscarriage.

The Brewer diet is built around ensuring you adequate amounts of protein every day. Proteins are broken down into amino acids by your body and used to repair and build body tissues and organs. Your baby will be built from these amino acids. It is the minimum recommended food you should eat every day, if you need more food eat more.

Unlike carbohydrates which can be stored as fat, your body has no mechanism to store extra protein. The unused proteins are broken down until they can be made into fate and the unique protein part is excreted from the body. If you do not eat enough protein to repair your body and build your baby, your body will begin to break down its own tissues to get building blocks for your baby and neither you nor your baby will have what you need to keep your bodies healthy. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot build a baby from the extra stores of fat on your hips.

Every day you need just about .4 grams of protein for each pound of body weight (0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight). So a 140 pound woman should eat about 56 grams of protein a day when she is not pregnant. When you are pregnant, your protein needs increase. Dr. Brewer recommended aiming for 80 to 100 grams of protein every day while pregnant.

Eggs and Milk

To eat this much protein, Dr. Brewer recommended building your daily menu around 2 eggs and 4 cups of milk. Milk and eggs are inexpensive, readily available, provide high quality protein and can be prepared in a variety of ways. In addition to the protein, eggs and milk provide a variety of vitamins and minerals and are a good nutritional value for the number of calories they contain. By starting with 2 eggs and 4 servings of milk, you will already have 32 grams of protein every day.

Beans and Meat

In addition to the eggs and milk, you should eat 2 additional servings of high protein foods each day. Choose the protein foods you prefer to eat. Lean meats such as turkey, chicken, pork, lamb, beef or fish are all acceptable. Depending on the type of meat or fish you choose, you will have around 25 grams of protein per 3 ounce serving. Vegetable proteins are also acceptable when they are properly combined, however they do not provide the same volume of protein per serving so you may need to eat more food to reach the recommended 80-100 grams of protein per day.


Dr. Brewer also recommended you eat one or two servings of fresh green leafy vegetables every day. Green vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals and provide folate. This includes the leafy greens such as mustard, collard and kale, dark lettuces, cabbage and broccoli. A serving of leafy vegetables is 1 cup.

In addition to the green vegetables, you should eat a yellow or orange vegetable 5 times a week. This can be squash, carrots, sweet potato, rutabaga or any other yellow or orange vegetable. You should also have two sources of vitamin C every day, such as a whole potato, large green pepper, grapefruit, orange, strawberries, papaya or tomato. A serving of vegetables is 1/2 cup chopped raw or cooked. The serving size of fruit is 1 medium piece or 1/2 cup of canned or chopped fruit. This will average out to about 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day.

Whole Grains

The Brewer diet also includes 5 servings of whole grains or whole grain products every day. These include oatmeal, barley, brown rice, whole grain cereals, whole grain breads and other less common grains. A serving of a grain is 1/2 cup of the grain, 1/2 cup of pasta or rice, 1 slice of bread, 1 tortilla (or 1/2 if they are large), or 1 oz of a ready to eat cereal.

Dr. Brewer believed this was the minimum amount of food needed to maintain a healthy pregnancy. If you are hungry for more, eat more but do not try to consume less in an effort to control your weight gain. The amount of weight you gain is not an indicator of the nutritive value of your diet. Concentrate on choosing good healthy foods and eating enough to satisfy your body's needs.

Many women read the Brewer pregnancy diet and become concerned it recommends too much food to eat in one day. However, when compared to the food guide pyramid (the recommended eating plan from the United States Government), it only requires an extra milk and protein each day.

Remember, the serving size is not the same as what you may be used to considering a helping. One slice of bread is one serving of a grain, so when you use two slices for a sandwich you are having at least two servings (and more with many of the larger bread products available).

Dr. Brewer concluded his diet by recommending you salt your food to taste and drink water enough to quench your thirst. Your body needs both salt and water to function properly.


A study conducted at Harvard University found that by eating at least 75 grams of protein per day, pregnant women could prevent diseases of pregnancy such as preeclampsia (metabolic toxemia of late pregnancy).
During pregnancy a woman's blood volume increases as much as 40 to 60 percent, and in order to reach this necessary level and maintain it, a woman's body needs adequate protein, salt, calcium, potassium and water from her diet.

Here is the rest:




Nutrition during Pregnancy   by Amy V. Haas

The single most important thing that you can do for your baby is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. A well-balanced diet is one that includes foods from all food groups in appropriate amounts, so as to ensure proper nutrition. Proper nutrition ensures that all essential nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and water) are supplied to the body to maintain optimal health and well-being. Good nutrition is essential for normal organ development and functioning; normal reproduction, growth and maintenance; for optimum activity level and working efficiency; for resistance to infection and disease; and for the ability to repair bodily damage or injury. While pregnancy is a normal alternative condition for the female body, it is stressful, and all nutritional needs are increased in order to meet the needs of the pregnancy.

Dr. Tom Brewer found through more than 30 years of research that each day, pregnant women need a well-balanced, high-quality diet that includes 80 to 100 grams of protein, adequate salt (to taste), and water (to thirst), as well as calories from all of the food groups. The World Health Organization recommends that a pregnant woman eat a minimum of 75 grams of protein per day, but protein is just a marker for a nutritious diet. It must be obtained from a wide variety of whole food sources in order to get all of the important nutrients a woman needs during pregnancy. While the government's food pyramid is a good example of a well-balanced diet, pregnant women need more protein and calories in general. This means including:

  • 2 to 3 servings of meat, fish, nuts or legumes, and tofu
  • 2 to 3 servings of dairy (milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese)
  • 2 servings of green vegetables; 1 serving of a yellow vegetable
  • 3 servings of fruit
  • 3 servings of whole grain breads, cereals, or other high-complex carbohydrates
  • salt to taste
  • 6 to 8 glasses of clean, filtered water each day.

While this may seem like a lot of food, it will supply the 2000 to 3000 calories needed per day to make a healthy baby.

saladA study conducted at Harvard University found that by eating at least 75 grams of protein per day, pregnant women could prevent diseases of pregnancy such as preeclampsia (metabolic toxemia of late pregnancy). During pregnancy a woman's blood volume increases as much as 40 to 60 percent, and in order to reach this necessary level and maintain it, a woman's body needs adequate protein, salt, calcium, potassium and water from her diet. In April of 1996 the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article indicating that calcium may also help reduce the incidence of preeclampsia. Other recent research indicates that pregnant women need adequate folic acid (a B vitamin) to prevent neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. The Food and Drug Administration now recommends that breads and pastas be fortified with folic acid to ensure that all women of childbearing age get enough of it. Four hundred micrograms of folic acid a day is recommended. This can be obtained by eating whole grain breads, citrus fruits and dark green leafy vegetables.

As long as junk food and excessive sweets (sugar) are avoided, or kept to a minimum, weight gain should not be an issue. The diet listed above (or something similar) should provide all of the necessary nutrients, and a woman should have little problem obtaining everything she needs. A "whole food" is one that is unprocessed and is as close to its natural state as possible. While vitamin supplements are very popular these days, there are risks to taking supplements of certain vitamins while pregnant (i.e., vitamin A), and others are simply poorly assimilated (i.e., calcium or iron). The B vitamins, for example, must be taken in congress (B complex supplement), as absences, insufficiencies or excesses of one or another can cause problems. Check with your care provider before taking anything while pregnant. Vitamins and minerals should be obtained from natural, whole sources whenever possible, to ensure quality and proper assimilation by the body. A qualified nutritional expert should assess special dietary needs.

Cravings for foods are common in pregnancy and, in theory, can indicate a need or deficit in a diet. Cravings for healthy foods can be indulged, but cravings for non-food substances such as clay or laundry starch, a condition known as "pica," can be harmful and should be reported to your care provider.

eggsMilk, eggs and other dairy products are inexpensive sources of calcium and protein. For those who are vegetarian, or simply to provide variety in an omnivorous diet, soy products, beans and nuts can be substituted. Dark green vegetables provide carbohydrates, water, bulk fiber, vitamins A, C, and B, calcium, iron, and magnesium; the darker green, the better. It is best to eat these vegetables raw whenever possible, but steaming or baking will also retain most of the nutrients. Citrus and berry fruits provide a great deal of vitamin C, and yellow fruits and vegetables such as cantaloupe, sweet potato, carrots and mango are good sources of vitamin A. Both of these vitamins are important for fighting infection, boosting the immune system, cell structure development and preventing placental detachment (abruption). Zinc is another important mineral for pregnant women, as it aids in supporting the immune system. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, zinc also helps to improve birth weight and certain aspects of fetal development.

While a vegetarian diet is a good, healthy choice when well balanced, vegetarians do have to work harder to obtain all the protein needed to increase their blood supply. If a woman follows a strict vegan diet, it may be even more difficult to get the necessary protein, but it is possible with diligence. See the supplemental reading list for sources of information on this subject.


Good Sources

meat fryingProtein: chicken, fish, beef, pork, turkey, tofu, nuts, legumes (beans), milk, eggs, cottage cheese, whole grains, wheat gluten, soy cheese

Whole grains: brown rice, kasha (buckwheat groats), whole oats, whole wheat bread, whole grain cereals, quinoa, wild rice, wheat gluten, wheat germ, whole wheat pastas

Fruits: strawberries, kiwi fruit, apples, oranges, bananas, mangos, cantaloupe, pears, grapefruit, plums, nectarines, and peaches

Green vegetables: spinach, broccoli, zucchini, dark green lettuces, kale, Swiss chard, green beans, asparagus, arugula, lambs lettuce

Dairy: milk, yogurt, hard cheese, cottage cheese, egg

Other good whole foods: baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, green peas, soy products, corn

Iron: red meats, organ meats, eggs, fish poultry, blackstrap molasses, cherry juice, green leafy vegetables, dried fruits (raisins, apricots, etc.)

Zinc: pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, sunflower seeds, seafood, organ meats, mushrooms, brewer's yeast, soybeans, eggs, wheat germ, meats, turkey

Folic acid: spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, Brussels sprouts, lima beans, soybeans, organ meats, brewer's yeast, root vegetables, whole grains, wheat germ, bulger wheat, kidney beans, white beans, salmon, orange juice, avocado, milk

Trained and certified as a Bradley® Method Childbirth Educator in 1995, Amy Haas' educational history includes a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Plattsburgh State University of New York. For the past six years she has taught Bradley® classes to pregnant families, empowering them to make healthful decisions. Amy's article, "How to Stay Healthy and Low Risk during Pregnancy and Birth" appeared in the Winter 2001 issue of Having a Baby Today. The original version of this article was shared through The Rochester Birth Network.


  • Dunne, Lavon J., ed. 1990. The Nutrition Almanac. 3rd ed. New York: Nutrition Search, Inc., McGraw-Hill Publishing.
  • Brewer, Gail Sforza and Tom Brewer. 1985. What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know: The Truth about Diet and Drugs in Pregnancy. New York: Penguin Books.
  • Frye, Anne. 1993. Understanding Diagnostic Testing in the Childbearing Year. 5th ed. Portland, OR: Labrys Press.
  • Frye, Anne. 1995 Summer. Unraveling Toxemia. Midwifery Today 34: 22–24.
  • Frye, Anne. 1995. Holistic Midwifery, Vol. 1. Portland, OR: Labrys Press.
  • American Medical Association. 1996 Apr 10. JAMA. 275(14).
  • American Medical Association. 1995 Aug 9. JAMA. 274(6).

Other Recommended Reading:

  • The Brewer Pregnancy Hotline by Gail Sforza Krebs and Dr. Tom Brewer (
  • Pregnancy, Children, and the Vegan Diet, by Michael Klaper, MD
  • Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappé
  • The Birth Book, by William Sears, MD, and Martha Sears, RN
  • The Pregnancy Book, by William Sears, MD, Martha Sears, RN, and Linda Holt, MD





by on Feb. 2, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Try to relax.  It won't help the blood pressure to be stressed and worried.  Talk to your doctor more about it so you are more comfortable.  I understand the surgery is stressful and scary :\  Key thing is to find a good way for you to relax and destress though

by on Feb. 2, 2013 at 2:58 PM
Thank you for all the info! And sadly no my husband is the only help I have, my sister lives 10 mins away but she won't help at all
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
by on Feb. 2, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Quoting katielawlor:

Thank you for all the info! And sadly no my husband is the only help I have, my sister lives 10 mins away but she won't help at all

You might like to have a doula---


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