We are often asked how long people were on blood pressure medication following delivery for preeclampsia, HELLP, gestational hypertension, or eclampsia.
First, every body is a bit different. The treatment for a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy is delivery plus time -- and your body will take the time to heal that it needs to take. You really cannot control this timing. Some people are able to stop their meds very quickly, and others need longer, and none of it is in our control. During the first six weeks postpartum, diet, exercise, and so on will not likely affect your BP, as it is controlled by protein chemicals that your placenta dumped into your system, which your body needs time to clean up so it can heal.
Most women with a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy will be able to stop their meds by six weeks postpartum, often sooner. For some of us, the experience brings out our genetic tendency toward chronic hypertension, and we need meds for a while longer or even permanently. At the six week point, it is reasonable to ask your doctor if any dietary or lifestyle changes would be recommeded for assisting in blood pressure control, but for many of us, genetics is a big factor. This post about life with chronic hypertension is for those of us who need meds after six weeks postpartum.
You should ask your doctor what signs, such as dizziness or feeling lightheaded, to watch for that could indicate that your BP is low enough to reduce or stop your meds. You should also ask what BP numbers would be considered low enough to reduce or stop your meds; they often want us to be running quite a bit below 120/80 before lowering meds, so that if we rebound a bit higher when we stop our meds, we are still in normal range, not high. Here is our post about BP meds and how they work -- please do not reduce or stop your meds without checking with your doctor first. If it is after hours, it is okay to call the on call doctor to check if you should modify your meds schedule if you are feeling poorly or have very low BP.
If you were placed on BP meds, when did you stop them postpartum, or did you stay on them permanently? What were your symptoms and/or BP that told you and your doctor it was time to stop the meds? If you remained on meds longer than six weeks, were you switched to something different for longer term use? We would love for you to share your stories in this thread!