bookLast week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Darline Turner-Lee, the owner of Mamas on Bed Rest. Darlene had reviewed The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy and was taping our interview for her podcast (click During the interview, Darline asked what I thought the most important thing pregnant women should do in order to have a healthy pregnancy and I said “trust your instincts.” Last Friday, I had to practice what I preached.

Like millions of Americans, I have high blood pressure and am taking medication. Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to a perilous path that includes strokes, heart disease and possible death. However life style changes can improve the condition considerably and release us from the bondage of the pharmaceutical industry.

For the past two months, I’ve experienced a dry, hacking cough. When it became unbearable, I reviewed the side effects of a medicine I had been taking for over 2 years and lo and behold, I had found the culprit. I immediately contacted my cardiologist who changed my medicine. However, despite the change of medicine, the cough not only persisted but became worse. I was not only hacking and coughing, but now had wheezing. Enough was enough. I stopped taking the medicine. I checked my blood pressure and gratefully it was normal although I am acutely aware that it could “rebound” and become dangerously high. I contacted my cardiologist’s office again but was informed by his nurse that he would be away for two weeks. I described my symptoms but she stated that the medicine I was taking “shouldn’t have that type of effect.” I said it did and I was not going to take any more of it. When the nurse mentioned the medication’s category, I suddenly recalled a recent medical study that associated that type of medication with an increased risk of lung cancer. My instincts were correct. Although I trusted my cardiologist (who happens to be brilliant and a former med school colleague) I still needed to do my own research. And when my body was giving me signals that something was wrong, I was wise enough not to ignore them. As a pregnant mother, you MUST do the same. If something doesn’t “feel right” regarding your pregnancy, bring it to your provider’s attention immediately. Your persistence could very well save your life. And also the life of your baby.