Chapter 8: Prenatal checkups
Check the mother’s blood pressure at
each visit. Write it down on a chart or on
one piece of paper, so you can look for
changes over time.
If her blood pressure is going up, ask her
to come back every week until you are sure
that it is not still rising.
If it is ever higher than 140/90, then the
blood pressure is too high and can be a
goes up and
down a little
from month to
month. This is
If her blood pressure is 140/90 or higher
If the mother’s blood pressure is high the first time you take it, have her lie on her
left side. Help her relax (stress or fear can cause blood pressure to go up). In 10 to
30 minutes, take her blood pressure again.
• If the blood pressure goes down to a normal level, things are probably OK.
If possible, have the mother come back in a few days so you can take her
blood pressure again. Ask her to rest on her side every day.
• If the blood pressure does not go down, there may be a problem. To find out,
take her blood pressure later that day, or the next day. If the blood pressure
stays high, get medical advice. Teach the mother the danger signs of
pre-eclampsia and check to see if she has any of those signs (see page 125). If
she has these signs, get medical help fast. It will probably be safest for her to
give birth in a medical center.
• If the top number of the blood pressure is over 150, or if the bottom number
is over 100, get medical help now. She must get medical help. In some cases,
she may need to stay at a medical center until she has the baby.
Home care for moderately high blood pressure
(between 140/90 and 150/100)
If the mother cannot see a doctor or if the doctor advises her to rest at home,
• Rest often during the day. She should rest as much as she can during the
day, even if it is just for several minutes every hour. When she rests in bed, it
is best if she rests on her left side. The mother can practice relaxing and
feeling peaceful during these rest times. It is especially important to rest in
the last 3 months of pregnancy.
• Eat a good diet. Help the woman eat a variety of
vegetables, fruits, and protein. Foods high in protein,
calcium, or magnesium all may help prevent
pre-eclampsia. Eating cucumbers, beets,
bananas, or lemon or lime juice might help
lower blood pressure.
A Book for Midwives (2010)