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Blood Pressure Medications Safe for Pregnancy

By Gail Morris ; Updated August 14, 2017

Any medication that is taken during pregnancy can affect the health of the baby. While some antihypertensive medications used to lower blood pressure are considered safe, others can increase the risk of illness or death of the baby. The FDA created a rating system in 1979 to categorize the potential risk of medications to a developing fetus. Every medication released on the market carries with it a category rating to fully inform physicians and pharmacists of the risk versus the benefit of taking the medication when a woman is pregnant.

Methyldopa

According to OBFocus.com, Methyldopa is in antihypertensive medication that is safe to use during pregnancy. The medication lowers blood pressure by decreasing the levels of specific chemicals in the bloodstream, which then allows the arterial walls to relax in the heart, beating more slowly and easily. Stopping the medication suddenly can increase the possibility of severe high blood pressure, anxiety and nervousness. It can also cause dizziness or drowsiness.

Labetalol

According to Drugs.com, Labetalol is used for the treatment of hypertension during pregnancy because of the low number of side effects to both the mother and child. The medication does not appear to negatively impact blood flow to the uterus, but does reduce the mother's systemic blood pressure. The medication is in a group of drugs called beta-blockers. These medications affect the heart and circulation by impacting the ability of the arteries and veins to relax. Women who have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart conditions, liver or kidney disease, or diabetes may require special testing, dose adjustments or consideration of other medication to help treat hypertension.

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Hydralazine

According to RxList, hydralazine may be used to manage severe elevation of blood pressure when a woman is suffering from preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a medical condition that causes hypertension during pregnancy. The only real cure for preeclampsia and eclampsia is the birth of the baby. During the pregnancy physicians will attempt to treat the hypertension and protein loss to allow the infant as much time as possible in the uterus. Hydralazine is a vasodilator that relaxes the muscles of the blood vessel, lowers the blood pressure and allows the blood to flow more easily. Women who have coronary artery disease, rheumatic heart disease, kidney disease or a history of stroke may have to reconsider this medication choice.

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