Neighborhood Health Center's OB-GYN department is collaborating with our onsite Neighborhood nutritionists on initiatives aimed at decreasing low birth weight rate, hypertension, and pre-eclampsia. The collaboration begins at a pregnant patient's first obstetrics visit.
“We are working on scheduling a nutrition appointment...at their first appointment," explains Neighborhood Health Center Nurse Midwife Rachel Muroff, CNM, WHNP-BC.
These initiatives also encourage better blood pressure monitoring, and Neighborhood is partnering with the American Heart Association to provide blood pressure monitors at no cost to high risk patients.
"Through the AHA's 'Lower the Pressure initiative,' these monitors will be provided to pregnant patients with pre-existing hypertension and those at high risk for gestational hypertension/pre-eclampsia so that they can take control of their health with home monitoring in addition to frequent follow-up OB visits,” say Muroff.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Although cardiovascular disease impacts some women at higher rates than others, most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented with lifestyle changes, education, and managing blood pressure. Because heart disease and stroke can affect women at any age, knowing one's family history and personal risk factors is vital.
Unique life events such as pregnancy and menopause can impact the risks of heart disease and stroke. Research has shown that stress may impact health, making it vital that women understand the connection between mind and body and how improving one's mental well-being can have an impact on their physical health.
Focusing on a healthy diet, exercise, and quitting smoking or substance use prior to pregnancy or as soon as becoming pregnant, can decrease these risks for expecting mothers. Neighborhood offers a wide range of primary and integrated services under one roof, allowing our OB-GYN providers to collaborate with dental, nutrition, behavioral health, and pharmacy services for patients who want to manage their health through healthy eating, physical activity, and active planning before, during and after pregnancy.
For women who are pregnant, gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia can lead to lifelong issues with hypertension and heart disease. Gestational hypertension is a condition that happens when a pregnant woman is showing signs of high blood pressure during pregnancy, typically after 20 weeks of pregnancy or close to delivery. Gestational hypertension usually goes away after birth, however, some women have a higher risk of developing chronic hypertension in the future.
Gestational Hypertension symptoms
The following are the most common symptoms of gestational hypertension, however, each woman may experience symptoms differently.
Symptoms may include:
- Increased blood pressure
- Absence or presence of protein in the urine (to diagnose gestational hypertension or preeclampsia)
- Edema (swelling)
- Sudden weight gain
- Visual changes such as blurred or double vision
- Nausea or vomiting
Preeclampsia is a condition that happens when a woman who previously had typical blood pressure suddenly develops high blood pressure and protein in her urine or other issues after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Women who have chronic hypertension can also get preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia symptoms may include:
- A headache that will not go away
- Changes in vision, including blurry vision, seeing spots, or having changes in eyesight
- Upper abdominal pain or pain around the upper stomach area
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swelling of the face or hands
- Sudden weight gain
- Trouble breathing
- Urinating small amounts
- Changes in liver or kidney function tests
In rare cases, preeclampsia can happen after you have given birth. This is a serious medical condition known as postpartum preeclampsia. It can happen in women without any history of preeclampsia during pregnancy. The symptoms for postpartum preeclampsia are similar to the symptoms of preeclampsia. Postpartum preeclampsia is typically diagnosed within 48 hours after delivery but can happen up to 6 weeks later.
Click here to learn more about the OB-GYN services available at Neighborhood.