All pregnant women have their blood pressure checked at each visit to the doctor. People constantly talk about watching high blood pressure, but what about low blood pressure during pregnancy?
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Of course, high blood pressure presents more risks, but low blood pressure during pregnancy should also be closely monitored: fatigue, dizziness, possible headaches, or unusually fast heart rates are common for many pregnant women during their first three months.
During pregnancy and the associated hormonal change, many functions in a woman’s body, including the cardiovascular system, change. As a result, blood pressure generally decreases slightly, while the heart rate increases.
In general, blood pressure below 120/80 is considered optimal. Some women even have no problems at 90/60, this only became a concern if low blood pressure levels persist for a long time and if the blood pressure regulation stops working.
Low blood pressure or hypotension is normal during pregnancy. In most cases, this condition doesn’t lead to serious complications and blood pressure returns to normal levels after delivery. However, very low blood pressure can be dangerous for both mother and baby.
Low blood pressure symptoms
A blood pressure below 120/80 mmHg with no symptoms should be considered normal. If a pregnant woman has a symptom associated with lower blood pressure than normal, then we talk about low blood pressure.
The symptoms are the following:
- Lightheadedness and dizziness, especially after getting up quickly.
- Blurred vision.
- Difficulty in focusing.
- Clammy and pale skin.
- Fatigue and weakness.
- Rapid and shallow breathing.
- Increased heart rate.
It is also proven that low blood pressure during pregnancy worsens morning sickness. Pregnant Women vomit and their bodies become dehydrated.
You should regularly keep checking your blood pressure parameters during your pregnancy. Numbers will tell you a lot about your health and how your pregnancy progresses.
Best Blood Pressure Monitors To Try:
If any of these symptoms occur with a decrease in blood pressure, you should always discuss them with your healthcare provider to rule out any possible cause for such manifestations.
Causes of low blood pressure during pregnancy
Women may have low blood pressure during pregnancy due to the following reasons:
- Hormonal changes.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Prolonged rest in bed.
- Severe blood loss.
- Heart Diseases.
- Allergic reactions.
- Hypoglycemia, most likely in women with diabetes.
During the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, a woman’s blood pressure may be lower than normal due to the circulatory system, as blood vessels expand allowing blood to flow into the uterus.
Very low blood pressure can also indicate complications in early pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when a fertilized egg is implanted outside the uterus. In addition, other temporary factors also apply, like getting up too fast or having a prolonged sunbath.
Some medications can also lower blood pressure, so it is important for pregnant women to discuss with their doctors about medications being consumed.
Risks of low blood pressure during pregnancy
Very often, pregnant women experience low blood pressure at night. This happens when a woman sleeps on her back and the fetus blocks blood flow by pressing on the vein vascular system. This situation affects negatively the mother’s heart.
Besides the common discomforts, low blood pressure during pregnancy induces slow blood flow with a lack of oxygen in the mother’s and baby’s inner organs. Poor uterus blood supply is closely associated with several problems affecting fetal development and childbirth.
A miscarriage at an advanced stage is the worst possible scenario in such condition. On the other hand, low blood pressure during pregnancy can cause a fatal collapse for the baby.
Another possible risk for the baby may be dizziness and frequent fainting caused by low blood pressure: the baby may die if the mother faints and hits her belly too hard after a fall.
When to seek medical help?
Hypotension is more common during pregnancy, but it is important to know when to consult a doctor or midwife. A doctor regularly monitors a woman’s blood pressure during periodic pregnancy checks and provides advice or treatment solutions if it is too low or too high.
In general, doctors don’t recommend medication to pregnant women unless the symptoms are severe or potential complications are more probable. However, some women with abnormal episodes of hypotension may need medication.
Consult a doctor as soon as possible if you experience frequent dizziness or fainting spells with severe headaches, changes in vision or shortness of breath, a sudden drop in blood pressure with increased heart rate.
A pregnant woman with a history of hypotension should also discuss it with her health care provider at the first check-up to ensure that her blood pressure does not decrease too much.
While you have a possible explanation for your low blood pressure like having a prolonged sunbath or an intense workout causing dehydration, then such symptoms are resolved quite early once rehydration is initiated.
But, if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above and you have no possible explanation, it is always recommended to discuss your low blood pressure problems with your doctor to rule out any underlying conditions.
How to control low blood pressure during pregnancy?
Hypotension during pregnancy is not considered a significant problem as long as it is not accompanied by any symptoms. The level often returns to normal around the third trimester.
Pregnant women can try several home remedies to relieve their complaints and prevent blood pressure disorders. Follow a diet high in protein and sodium, maintain an active lifestyle, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to keep weaknesses away.
A balanced diet during pregnancy can greatly improve your health and adjust your blood pressure. Even if you feel bad, you have to eat regularly, but in small meals: hunger increases nausea and low blood pressure during pregnancy.
Drink plenty of fluids: your body needs at least 1.5 liters of water on regular days. Of course, coffee or black tea can be included with moderation. Coffee is an effective way to increase blood pressure, one or two cups a day does not hurt and can also help with the associated headache.
Doctors may also recommend increasing your daily salt intake if you have low blood pressure during pregnancy. It may sound a bit strange, but salt can help. However, too much salty food can have a negative impact, so it is essential to seek advice from your health care provider before adding salt to your diet.
If you experience nausea or if your dizziness becomes more severe due to low blood pressure, it is better to lie down and lift your legs to avoid fainting. This is an effective way to help blood flow into the upper part of your body and add oxygen to your brain.
Do not get up immediately after waking up. A sudden change in your body position can cause dizziness and nausea. It is best to lie down slowly and stay in bed for a few minutes before getting up. You can also try sleeping on a higher pillow.
If physical disorders are excluded, exercise is the best way to help pregnant women fight their own complaints. You need to be active to help reduce symptoms of low blood pressure as much as possible.
The most important thing is to move while practicing an adapted sport: swimming, yoga, a little game of badminton, everything is allowed as long as your belly is not compressed by jumps and bodily contact.