Low blood pressure is common among pregnant mothers. But is it something to worry about? Does it have a negative effect on the baby? Your answers are in this article.
What is Low Blood Pressure?
The name says it all. Low blood pressure, or hypotension, is when your blood pressure is lower than normal. Normal blood pressure is 120 mmHg/90mmHg or anything close to that. Your blood pressure is low when it falls below 90mmHg/60mmHg.
Low Blood Pressure in Pregnant Women
Pregnant women often experience low blood pressure in the early stages of pregnancy. The blood pressure dips even further in the second trimester. However, this is completely normal. The blood pressure should start rising to the normal level from the third trimester.
You don’t even need medication before it returns to normal. But you still have to check in with your doctor, who will monitor you and your blood pressure. The doctor’s job here is just to make sure that there is no underlying cause of the low blood pressure apart from the pregnancy.
Sometimes, low blood pressure can be a bad thing for a pregnant lady. That is when it is caused by another condition that isn’t pregnancy. One common cause is called an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is when an egg is fertilized and gets implanted outside the uterus. When this happens, it could yank the blood pressure low enough to cause the pregnant woman to fall or go into shock temporarily.
Here’s more on the causes of low blood pressure in women.
Causes of Low Blood Pressure in Pregnant Women
There are many causes of low blood pressure in pregnant women. Some of them are these:
- When you rest on your back or sleep for a while, your uterus enlarges and puts some extra pressure on your blood vessels. This then leads to a dip in the blood pressure.
- Hormonal changes also lead to low blood pressure. This usually happens in the early stages of pregnancy, as the body is adapting to the presence of a baby. The blood vessels dilate when the hormonal changes occur, leading to a drop in the blood pressure.
- Dehydration is another likely cause of low blood pressure in pregnant women. Dehydration leads to low blood pressure because there is a swift reduction in the water level in the body of an expecting mother.
- Postural low blood pressure is common among pregnant women, but it is nothing serious. This happens when you sleep or lay on your back for a while. Blood then accumulates in the legs, leading to less blood flow to the brain. So when you rise too suddenly and feel lightheaded, that is the effect of postural hypotension.
- Another likely cause of low blood pressure in pregnant women is anemia and hypoglycemia. This is a condition that often leads to low blood sugar.
- Low vitamin B12 and folic acid in the body are also known causes of hypotension. When an egg gets fertilized and the fetus is produced, it gets its nutrients from the mother. This leaves the woman at the risk of anemia when she doesn’t take enough vitamin B12 and folic acid. The deficiency of these two nutrients causes low blood pressure.
- Heart-related issues could also cause low blood pressure. This happens when the heart is not pumping as actively as it should.
Symptoms of low blood pressure in pregnant women
When you observe these signs during pregnancy, know that low blood pressure is a possible cause
- You feel dizzy and your vision blurs when you suddenly rise from a lying or sitting position.
- Your skin feels cold, clammy, and looks pale.
- Constant dehydration and inability to concentrate from anemia.
- Acute pain in the pelvic region when the ectopic pregnancy ruptures. This requires immediate medical attention.
- Chest pains, breathing problems, high pulse rate, or vomiting.
Effects of Low Blood Pressure on the Baby
Studies have not been able to ascertain that low blood pressure has negative effects on your baby. Of course, some research has it that low blood pressure causes low birth weight and stillbirth.
However, there is no strong evidence to name low blood pressure as the sole cause, as there are many other factors that could have those effects on babies.
You have nothing to fear concerning the effects of low blood pressure on the baby. As long as you check in with your doctor regularly during pregnancy to make sure everything is okay.
Diagnosis of Low Blood pressure in Pregnant Women
Diagnosing a pregnant woman is as easy as diagnosing any other person. The doctor uses a device called the sphygmomanometer, which is just a fancy name given to an expandable cuff that is attached to a pressure gauge. The pressure gauge is in charge of calculating the blood pressure and the expandable cuff goes around your arm.
You could even have this device at home so that you can monitor your blood pressure with ease and from the comfort of your home.
Treatment of Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure during pregnancy is not an ailment. It is just the normal reaction of your body to pregnancy. Therefore, you don’t need medication to treat it. Only when the symptoms get serious do you have to check in with your doctor concerning it.
But if you are looking for a way to control the symptoms of low BP, there are some things you can do about it. First, you need to exercise regularly. This helps your blood to flow more actively, allowing every organ in your body to receive enough oxygenated blood.
Taking enough rest is also another way to control low blood pressure. And when you lie down for long, make sure you stretch your ankles before rising. This gets the blood that has accumulated in your feet to flow. Drinking lots of water to keep dehydration at bay is also a way to control the symptoms of hypotension.
Those are the things you can do to control the symptoms. But as for the low blood pressure, there isn’t much you can do about that. It will pick up on its own from the third trimester.
When Do You Need To Consult the Doctor?
Consult the doctor when the symptoms get too unbearable to live with. In addition, if you have an underlying ailment that may result in low blood pressure, then you would need to see your doctor regularly and have a close eye kept on your blood pressure.
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