As a mother of three, Elisabeth Zulik is used to juggling a lot. The 36-year-old recently gave birth to her third child and knows that many mothers often put their children’s well-being ahead of their own medical care.
“Some days I’ll realize the whole day has gone by and I haven’t eaten anything. It’s chaos, that’s the only way to say it,” said Zulik, who lives outside Boston with her family.
But it turns out there may be more help out there for new moms like Zulik who are trying to manage their health right on their cellphones.
Researchers have found a way to use text messaging and remote blood pressure monitoring as an easier way to catch problems early.
“This is a really challenging period for many new mothers,” said Dr. Adi Hirshberg, who studies maternal fetal medicine at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia.
Hirshberg and his colleagues have spent the past few years helping mothers who have recently given birth monitor their blood pressure. They gave new moms a blood pressure monitor, then sent those moms a text message every day asking them to text back with their blood pressure numbers.
“You can do it anywhere from your home or car, check your blood pressure, text it back and you’ll know immediately what the results are,” he explains.
The study found that new mothers with high blood pressure who participated in postpartum remote blood pressure monitoring were less likely to have complications and hospitalization after giving birth.
With daily monitoring, doctors can treat problems early.
Most new moms with high blood pressure don’t have any symptoms and don’t know anything is wrong, Hirshberg said.
“We hope this will make life easier for them, and it will also empower them to focus on their health after such a challenging time period,” Dr. Hirshberg said.
“They’re so focused on taking care of their child that they don’t realize they also need treatment for their own health,” Hirshberg said.