low blood pressure in pregnancy

Low Blood Pressure In Pregnancy

A low blood pressure in pregnancy is not uncommon. In most cases this issue will not cause any major issues and blood pressure returns to normal levels after you have given birth. However, in some instances the very low blood pressure could be harmful for the mother as well as for the baby.

Effects of pregnancy on blood pressure

Low blood pressure in pregnancy is common. Not always, but very low blood pressure in pregnancy may harm the fetus. So it is always best to take self care initially. With very easy ways one can control the issue of low blood pressure in pregnancy.

If you’re expecting then your physician or nurse is likely to examine your blood pressure at every visit to  the hospital during pregnancy.

Blood Pressure refers to the force exerted by your blood when it presses against the walls of your arteries while your heart pump. It could go up and down during certain times of the day and it can fluctuate if you’re anxious or excited.

Your blood pressure reading can provide vital information regarding your health and that of your child. It is also the way for your physician to determine whether you are suffering from another health issue that requires to be examined for example, preeclampsia.

The changes that take place within your body during pregnancy could alter the blood pressure. While carrying a baby, your circulatory system expands rapidly and can cause the blood pressure to drop.

It is normal for blood pressure to drop within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. So, low blood pressure in pregnancy within first 24 weeks can be seen.

Other elements that are contributing factor to the low blood pressure in pregnancy or in a person include:

  • Dehydration
  • Long-term sleep
  • Certain medications
  • Heart problems
  • Endocrine disorders or hormonal issues
  • Kidney disorders
  • Infections
  • Nutritional deficiencies

What’s considered to be low blood pressure in pregnancy

Current guidelines set a standard blood pressure reading to be less than 120 mm Hg in systolic (the top number)  blood pressure over 80 mm Hg diastolic (the bottom number) blood pressure.

Doctors generally determine the presence of low blood pressure when your reading falls below 90/60 mm Hg. Here top number 90 represents systolic blood pressure as 90 mm Hg and bottom number 60 represents diastolic blood pressure as 60 mm Hg.

Certain people suffer from low blood pressure for their entire lives, but show no signs of it. Usually when people are normally having more prone to low blood pressure and causes no signs and symptoms, it usually is not a concern.

To consider blood pressure as low depends upon how much the pressure fall from the person’s normal blood pressure. Here normal blood pressure means the pressure that normally the person has in other times.

Though the blood pressure differs with time, body positions and many other associated factors, but falling blood pressure with associated sign and symptoms needs urgent care.

Dangers of low blood pressure in pregnancy

Generally speaking, having a low blood pressure in pregnancy shouldn’t be an issue unless you notice symptoms. Large drops could indicate an urgent, and possibly life-threatening issue.

Blood pressure levels that are extremely low could cause falls, organ damage, or even shock. Low levels of blood pressure can cause harm not only to the mother, but also to the baby of the womb.

A low blood pressure could be an indication of ectopic pregnancy that occurs when fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus.

Does low blood pressure in pregnancy affect the baby

A lot of study has been conducted to determine the ways that high blood pressure in pregnancy affects babies. However, information on the effects of low blood pressure is not as extensive. Data are limited to conclude about the effects of low blood pressure on the developing baby.

Certain studies have found the possibility that blood pressure levels if become low in pregnancy can cause issues including stillbirth and the low birth weight. However, research from other sources has revealed that other risk factors may also be the reasons for these outcomes.

Further research is required to determine the effect of low blood pressure in pregnancy on the health of the baby.

The signs that indicate low blood pressure in pregnancy

The signs and symptoms of low blood pressure in pregnancy are same as the signs and symptoms of low blood pressure at other times. These are the following

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness, particularly when sitting or standing
  • Fainting
  • Blurred vision
  • Unusual thirst
  • Cold, pale or clammy skin
  • Breathing that is shallow or rapid
  • Lack of concentration

If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is best to consult with your physician. Low blood pressure in pregnancy needs to be monitored if showing signs and symptoms. Follow your doctor’s instructions.

Low blood pressure in pregnancy Diagnosis

Low blood pressure in pregnancy is detected through an easy test. This test is the simple test that measures the blood pressure.

Your physician or nurse will wrap an inflatable cuff on your arm, and will utilize a pressure measuring gauge to determine the blood pressure.

This test is performed at your doctor’s office. However, you can also purchase your own test kit and monitor your blood pressure at home.

If you’ve experienced low blood pressure throughout the pregnancy period, the doctor could request additional test to determine if you have any other medical issues.

Low blood pressure in pregnancy treatment

Generally, one needs no treatment for low blood pressure in pregnancy if not causing any additional issues. But if the low blood pressure is threat to the mother or for the baby, then appropriate treatment is given. Though low blood pressure in pregnancy causing life threatening condition for mother and baby is rare, but one should not ignore low blood pressure and should consult with the doctor to avoid future complications.

The majority of doctors don’t prescribe medications for pregnant women for low blood pressure in pregnancy, unless the signs are severe or complications are likely to occur.

 Your blood pressure could increase by itself during your third trimester.

Self-care for low blood pressure in pregnancy

If you are experiencing symptoms that suggest low blood pressure in pregnancy like dizziness, you may want to consider these suggestions:

  •  Be careful not to get up fast when sitting in a chair or lying down.
  •  Avoid standing for long durations of time.
  •  Consume small portions of food throughout the day.
  •  Avoid taking very hot showers or baths.
  •  Take more water.
  •  Wear loose clothes.
  • Always stay happy and positive.

It’s an excellent idea to consume a balanced diet and take your prenatal vitamins throughout your pregnancy to avoid symptoms of low blood pressure in pregnancy. We already have a article of to do list during pregnancy so you can read that too.

Postpartum blood pressure

Your blood pressure will return to pre-pregnancy levels after your delivery.

Medical professionals will check your blood pressure frequently during the time after you have given birth to your baby. Your doctor is likely to check your blood pressure on the postnatal visits to the office.

Takeaway

The low blood pressure that occurs in pregnancy can be a normal finding. The issue is usually not a concern until you experience symptoms. Based on the severity of low blood pressure symptoms, the treatment varies.

If you are experiencing any of the signs related to low blood pressure, be sure to let your physician know. Your doctor will guide you. Follow all the doctor’s instructions. Stay healthy and happy.

Sources

  1. Goldman-Cecil Medicine
  2. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine 20th edition
  3. Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine 23rd edition
  4. Burket’s Oral Medicine
  5. Peterson’s Principles of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
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