Pregnancy, Labor & Eye Pressure: What You Need to Know!

What could pregnancy, labor and your eye pressure have to do with one another?  For the clear majority of “new moms to be” the thought of their upcoming labor can cause them to voice concerns about their physical as well as emotional wellbeing. Typically, your obstetrician will be a sound source of information about what to expect in terms of pain, discomfort and how they will help you manage the physical discomfort and stress of labor. From time to time we have a patient who is pregnant and who has a family history of glaucoma or is perhaps “ocular hypertensive,” meaning that they have had a high intraocular pressure (IOP) measurement as part of their annual routine eye exam who shares their concern about the physical stress of labor and if there is any chance of eye and optic nerve damage during delivery. Fortunately, recent data from a study we reviewed in the Journal of Glaucoma showed us that eye pressure and blood flow into the optic nerve during the various stages of vaginal labor are not changed and there is no increased risk to those who have a family history of glaucoma or high eye pressure. Mom’s to be can put this fear to rest!

If you are pregnant and have a family history of glaucoma or have been told that you at risk for glaucoma due to a high eye pressure, please be reassured that labor and delivery will not expose you to greater risk. It is important however to continue your regular eye exams-even during pregnancy-and especially if you experience any changes in your vision or general eye health!

Please call your local optometrist to schedule an appointment. If specialty care, treatment or surgery is required, please ask to be referred to one of the physicians at Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020,  or visit Eyecare Medical GroupGoogle+ or