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How To Cope With Pregnancy-induced Hypertension

May 2, 2008
High blood pressure is a condition that can affect all of us, even an increasing number of young people are developing it nowadays. It is often related to lifestyle and stress but this is not always the case. Perhaps the most disturbing thing about hypertension is that it can lead to many other serious health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease and vision problems.

Women are particularly susceptible to high blood pressure during pregnancy and this is an especially dangerous time to have it. It can develop through both external stress and the special physical demands of carrying a child. Whatever the cause, pregnancy-induced hypertension needs to be carefully monitored as around 5% of cases will develop into preeclampsia, a very dangerous condition. Women in their first pregnancy are more susceptible to preeclamsia as are women who become pregnant later in their thirties or early forties.

Stress plays a large part in high blood pressure and this complicates matters because pregnancy is often an extremely stressful time. On top of that, many women feel guilty about feeling stressed (pregnancy should be such a wonderful experience, shouldn't it?) and that just adds to their stress. But guilt is counter-productive; stress needs to be accepted as part of life, especially during pregnancy.

But how should you cope if you're an expectant mother with severe stress? Medication is the last thing you want at this time, except as a last resort. Yoga and exercise are good but they can take up a lot time - time that is especially rare when pregnant and still working as many women do. And many other forms of relaxation feel great at the time but don't produce lasting results.

Probably the best stress-reduction technique for pregnant women is something called slow breathing. Slow and rhythmic breathing is especially good because it soothes both mother and baby, something that other relaxation methods are not able to do. And since it requires only 15 minutes a day - even a few brief minutes can be useful - slow breathing fits into an expectant mother's busy schedule.

How is slow breathing different from other forms of relaxation? Most stress-reduction techniques like listening to relaxation tapes or meditating are passive. Slow breathing is active and and opens blood vessels by relaxing muscles in the diaphragm. In fact, it's clinically proven to reduce high blood pressure in this way and the effects are not just temporary.

You can increase the effects, and enjoyment, of slow breathing by adding relaxing music. Music is another thing with therapeutic benefits of its own, again for both mother and child. Studies have shown that the unborn child in the womb can actually hear and respond to music. We just can't tell if they prefer the Beatles or the Stones!

The right kind of slow tempo music is extremely relaxing and has been shown to lower blood pressure. In the case of music alone the effects tend to be temporary but when combined with slow breathing this is a powerful technique indeed.

Slow breathing with music is an extremely effective method of alleviating stress during pregnancy and expectant mothers will be pleased to know that it is 100% safe and natural.
About the Author
"Jan Oliver is an academic, writer and researcher in natural health. See more of her work at http://www.control-your-blood-pressure.com/. Discover genuine natural ways to lower blood pressure immediately. Click Here to get your free report on dealing with blood pressure."
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