Let's keep the pressure down!
During Preeclampsia Awareness Month in May, WIC staff can help spread awareness about this potentially life-threatening condition, as well as other hypertensive disorders. Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period, affecting both the mother and the unborn baby. If the condition results in lower blood supply to the fetus, less oxygen and fewer nutrients may be available for optimal fetal development. Eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome are two other pregnancy related blood pressure conditions.
Some examples of preeclampsia symptoms may include a headache that will not go away, changes in vision, nausea or vomiting, and swelling of the face or hands. Some have no symptoms, which is why it is important for pregnant women to visit their health care team regularly. Share resources that can help WIC moms understand the importance of early and regular prenatal care and talking with their health care provider about symptoms of preeclampsia and high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders during pregnancy are a leading cause of maternal and infant morbidity.
CDC resources for WIC staff to learn and help educate participants on this topic include information about:
The types of high blood pressure conditions before, during, and after pregnancy, such as gestational hypertension and preeclampsia;
The complications of having high blood pressure during pregnancy;
Steps to take before, during, or after pregnancy if high blood pressure is present; and
Ways to prevent and manage high blood pressure.
Nutrition and Physical Activity Related Resources
While managing preeclampsia is outside WIC's scope, managing high blood pressure that existed before pregnancy includes lifestyle changes consistent with general recommendations for a healthy pregnancy: eating a heart healthy diet, managing stress, and not smoking. Examples to share include:
Recipes from WIC Meals of the Month and What Do I Do With (the latter is a series featuring recipes highlighting possibly unfamiliar WIC-eligible foods);
Tip sheets (offering active play suggestions and daily food checklists for pregnant and breastfeeding moms), and other nutrition education publications you can download; and
MyPlate print materials including recipes, food fact cards, posters, games, and coloring sheets; many of which are available in Spanish. Additionally, find Food Group Quizzes and digital tools like the Start Simple with MyPlate and MyPlate on Alexa apps.
Looking for activity resources? Check out Physical Fitness and Sports Month, which features activity materials from the Move Your Way® Campaign, Physical Activity Basics for Healthy Pregnant or Postpartum Women, and more.