Pregnancy induced High Blood Pressure (PIH)

Swelling by itself is not dangerous, but you must see your midwife as soon as possible, and have your blood pressure checked to rule out any danger to yourself or the baby. If you notice swelling and/or headaches and/or blurry vision, it is absolutely necessary for you to immediately get a check up. Your blood pressure should and must be monitored.

Severe headaches of sudden onset after the sixth month of pregnancy can signal toxemia, a dangerous condition. Your midwife or doctor will determine if your blood pressure is high and if you are at risk for toxemia or preeclampsia.
To reduce high blood pressure:

  • Drink more pure water
  • Watermelon – eat a lot of it.
  • Cucumber – eat one or more whole peeled cucumber everyday
  • Onion – eat raw
  • Garlic – try plain raw or dice two cloves garlic mix with 1 tablespoon honey
  • Prenatal vitamins – a good quality supplement, taken daily or as directed
  • Vitamin C with bioflavonoids – up to 2,000 mg daily
  • Fresh ocean fish – do not fry try it, best to fire-roast, bake or make soup. NOTE: Farmed Salmon is inflammatory and can make the problem worst.
  • Stress reduction – prayer/meditation/Reiki/massage/soft music… let go of worries
  • Gentle exercise – walking, swimming, prenatal yoga, and dancing
  • Choose anti-inflammatory foods: almonds, walnuts, ginger, turmeric, sweet potatoes, beets, dark leafy greens, bell peppers, berries, extra virgin olive oil, etc.
  • Avoid inflammatory foods: refined carbohydrates like pasta and white rice, white sugar, white flour, junk food, all cause inflammation which may lead to hypertension.
  • Be sure you are taking Vitamin D, getting in the sun 15 minutes a day during warm months, and eating foods rich in Vitamin D like wild salmon, mushrooms, and legumes.

What causes high blood pressure in pregnancy?

We still don’t know the answer to that question. We do know that it happens more often with fist time mothers or with women having a baby with a new partner. It may also happen more often if the woman’s Mother also had it.  What we are really concerned about is seizures in the Mother and placenta insufficiency to the baby.

Signs and symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Protein in the urine
  • Swelling – especially of the face
  • High blood pressure – this only occurs 50% of the time
  • Epigastric pain – pain that is localized to the region of the upper abdomen immediately below the ribs.
  • Just feeling “yucky” – often women who have a seizure with PIH later will say that they just didn’t feel good that day.


  • Exercise
  • Not gaining too much weight
  • Magnesium supplementation
  • Eating yogurt daily

What if you develop PIH?

Your midwife will want to do lab tests to make sure you are not developing HELLP syndrome. She may also recommend bed rest, diet and lifestyle changes. If these work, you may still be able to deliver at home. If they do not work, you may have to deliver in a hospital. The safety of you and your baby come first.


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