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Visit the Doctor Early

October 07, 2002|Jonathan Fielding and Valerie Ulene

Sometimes, the best time to schedule the first prenatal visit is before getting pregnant.

The doctor can obtain a baseline blood pressure and help a woman get in the best possible health before her pregnancy begins. This is particularly true for women with chronic high blood pressure or other risk factors for preeclampsia.

Women with hypertension should get their blood pressure under control before becoming pregnant, using lifestyle changes such as salt restriction and weight loss in lieu of medications whenever possible.

In severe cases, however, medications may be indicated. Although certain types of antihypertensive drugs should be avoided in pregnancy (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors such as captopril and angiotensin receptor blockers such as losartan), other types can be safely taken.

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