1st, you do not need a particularly high BP to have a stroke, while generally a bp of like 140/110 will cause worry about sdtroke, some woman can go to 180/150 and never stroke while some woman can still be in the 130/80's when they do. It can be a very specific thing to you, and the lower your pre pregnancy BP the greater the differnece is to your body (if your normally like 110/60 and know your 130/90 thats a 20-30 point jump which is alot, if your 130/80 a 20-30 point rise would be 150/110!)
2nd, any rise in your BP will mean that either you or the baby is suffering a deterimental environment. Oxygen and blood supply can be limited to the placenta and thus to the baby. This can result in slower growth or growth stopped completely. In my first pregnancy I was diagnosed with PE at 24/25 weeks at which time my baby was estimated to be 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. Over the next 13 weeks, which is the time they gain the most weight, he only gained 3 more lbs. From week 34 to 37 in which babies gain on average 1/2 to 1 lb a week, he gained 1 lb. This was due to the fact that the blood supply getting to him was much lower then it should be. I was on bed rest and while lying down my BP's would clock in at 135/85-140/90 and standing up I was 150/98.
After reading several articles on the research database Lexis-Nexis and Eric, I have come to the conclusion that no long term studies have been done on how medicines affect the baby.
There are almost NO studies done on any medications on how they affect pregnant woman and the babies they carry. Almost everything that has been tested as either been tested on just woman, not pregnnat, or on pregnant test animals, usually rats. The issue that comes down to is that you need to address YOUR medical problems, and while it may run a risk to your child, you have to realize what the risks of not taking the medication maybe to your child as well.
I have heard from a lot of woman that stop taking their allergy medications while pregnant becuase its a type c drug (most meds are b or c drugs). They choose instead to be miserable through their allergy season instead. I've even been chewed out by some woman because I chose to take my medications instead of forgoing them, telling me how bad a mother I was. The difference is that if I don't take my allergy meds, then I have trouble breathing, and if I am not breathing, then neither is my baby. The possible effects of the medication, of which most are fairly rare, must be weighed against the dangers that occur by not treating whats wrong. Things to consider would be IUGR, prematurity, developmental delays, etc.. caused by the problems.
personally, my OB did not believe in giving the BP meds for my situation even when my BP was 150/105 because she felt that all it would do was mask my symptomns and prevent her from getting a true reading, thus limiting her ability to make a sound decision on when the pregnancy should end. She felt that even with the BP meds, what was going on internally to the baby would still be occuring.
You are looking at a fairly constant BP rise of 15-20 points on the top and 10-20 points on the bottom, this is an indication that something may be going on, further with the fact that most BP's drop in the 2nd trimester, you could easily be looking at third trimester readings of 140/90.
4th, I too wanted a natural child birth (almost made it but didn't) the first pregnancy I was on so many drugs it wasn't funny. I had the drugs for the induction, then the mag sulfate (if your BP goes up over whatever level your doc sets you'll get it) and then finally 24 hours into the induction and having hour long contractions ofr 6 hours an epi. My second pregnancy was much easier as my BP could be controlled via positioning and it wasn't until I started having asthma attacks that I got the epi (and he was born 3 hours later). Not to say you can't do a natural child birth, but you also need to be prepared for lots of intervention. Not just medication, but c-section as well as that is very common with PE patients (as the baby typically needs to be delivered NOW and they don't want to risk an induction failing, nor the fact that your BP can rise quickly when under the drugs for the induction and the pain of labor)
My blood work always came back perfectly normal and my urine tests were always in range. I think i tested +1 for protein maybe 2 times through 2 pregnancies, yet while that was good news, it did not mean everything was okay. My oldest son was born at 5lbs 10 oz (5th % in weight) have jaundice, blood sugar problems, etc at birth and now has language delays, which we will never know if it was caused by his rough start. I suffered with PE for 13 weeks and rising BP's since my first OB visit with him. My youngest son was born 4 weeks early, spent 4 days in the special care unti, but got a much easier start in life then my oldest. He has rarely been sick *knocks on wood* versus the 7 months of ear infections my oldest had his first year, he was a 1lb heavier at birth, and while also had some jaundice everything else has checked out.
While I personally don't think that BP meds help much if your suffering from PE (I also feel they mask one of the easiest symptomns and thus hide just how bad it may be getting), I feel that you have to weigh the risks of the medication versus the risks of not taking the medication and this goes for any medication. I am suprised though that your OB went for meds first versus trying bedrest. Though some OB's do not think bedrest works, it did work fairly well for me and since you showed a 10 point drop by lying on your left side, that may indicate that bedrest on your side would help control your BP as well as the medication, the only problems is that you do HAVE to stay down as your BP will rise back up within 1-3 minutes of sitting up and can take up to 15 minutes to drop back down again once you lie down. Also, some woman (like me) get no benefit by lying semi prone or by lying on their back (always had to be on a side, but didn't matter which side) I was able to control my BP through my second labor this way and thus avoid mag completely (I would be 120/70 on my side, 140/90+ on my back, sitting up, or standing)
My doc did weekly blood tests, urine tests, and NSTs which all came back normal. My symptomns ranged from the high BP, headaches, spots, blurry vision, and heart palpultations. Finally, we know it was truely real (and not a figment of my imagination like so many times I was starting to think it was) as I do have a blood clotting disorder which most likely caused my problems.
You will never get concrete data because it simply pretty much doesn't exist. Most woman who get PE delviery within the first 2 weeks. In fact, those that have it for a long time seem to be in the minority. Its also very difficult to seperate out what is causing the problem as it could be this med or that med, it could be the lack of blood, or it could be the age at which the child is born. One thing to also note is that with BP problems you do have a risk of having an abruption. Also, stess is typically not associated with a rise in your bottom number, but rather a rise in your top number. A general rule of thumb is your top number reacts to outside influences (stress, weather etc..) and your bottom number reacts to internal influnces (foods, illness, problems within your body).
Oh on the Low BP's, unless they are dropping like below 100/50 they really shouldn't cause you any problems. The preferred BP is between 110-120/60 so anything in that range is considered ideal. There can be problems with low BP and there are treatments for that, but usually people on BP meds do not hit BP's in an area that would even be considered low BP.
GL with the next few months
Mommy to Alex and Mason