Treating High Blood Pressure
Similar to the treatment approaches for hypertension in non-pregnant patients, women who have high blood pressure prior to pregnancy can manage symptoms of hypertension through medication and lifestyle modifications. These are the same treatments used with preeclampsia as well.
Dr. Atlas says most mothers with elevated blood pressure will generally be treated with medications to lower the blood pressure. We use Labetalol and Nifedipine often for patients as they have generally been shown to be safe in pregnancy, he explains.
That said, Dr. Atlas does point out that some people may be on medications prescribed by internists or renal doctors that are not safe to take in pregnancy. “Medications such as ACE and ARB inhibitors can be potentially harmful to the developing fetus,” he explains.
In addition to medication, treating high blood pressure during pregnancy involves:
- Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates
- Limiting sodium
- If overweight, limiting weight gain
- Managing stress levels
- Avoiding alcohol
- Quitting smoking
If high blood pressure spikes too high and does not respond to medication and/or lifestyle accommodations, other possible treatments include bed rest and induction of labor. Particularly with preeclampsia, if a woman’s pressure is too high and her baby is viable , inducing labor will be considered.
High Blood Pressure In Pregnancy
Young women in their childbearing years can have high blood pressure before becoming pregnant. This is called chronic hypertension. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have high blood pressure and youre hoping to get pregnant. If youre already taking blood pressure medications, youll want to be sure that they are safe for you and your unborn baby.
Some women with normal blood pressure before pregnancy or during early pregnancy get high blood pressure in the second half of pregnancy. This is pregnancy-induced hypertension.
Whether you have high blood pressure or not, it will be measured at every pregnancy check-up. If your blood pressure was normal early on but then goes above 140/90 on two separate readings, then you have pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. Either the top number or the bottom number can be high. It doesn’t have to be both. For example, 148/82 would be high, but so would 136/96.
Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure usually goes away after you give birth, but it can cause problems for mom and unborn baby up until after the baby is born. Some women will also be more at risk of having high blood pressure after their pregnancy than they would have been before.
When Does A Pregnant Woman Have Low Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure may start falling in early pregnancy and might touch its lowest around the middle of the second trimester. The readings of blood pressure are important, as they can indicate yours and your babys health. Low BP is commonly reported among pregnant women, and it may remain on the lower side till 24 weeks of gestation.
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What Are Signs Of Low Blood Pressure
For many people, low blood pressure is not a problem. However, during pregnancy, its important that we keep a close eye on it to ensure there are no issues or complications.
You should contact us immediately if you experience any of the following signs of low blood pressure:
- Fainting, or the feeling that youre going to faint
Does Preeclampsia Go Away After Delivery
Preeclampsia typically goes away within days to weeks following delivery. Sometimes, your blood pressure can remain high for a few weeks after delivery, requiring treatment with medication. Your healthcare provider will work with you after your pregnancy to manage your blood pressure. People with preeclampsia â particularly those who develop the condition early in pregnancy â are at greater risk for high blood pressure and heart disease later in life. Knowing this information, those women can work with their primary care provider to take steps to reduce these risks.
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Causes And Medications For Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Low blood pressure during pregnancy is normal. Hormone changes and other changes that occur in your body can affect blood pressure, especially if you are in the first or second trimester of pregnancy. Low blood pressure during pregnancy usually does not cause serious health problems,
Low blood pressure during pregnancy is normal.
Hormone changes and other changes that occur in your body can affect blood pressure, especially if you are in the first or second trimester of pregnancy.
Low blood pressure during pregnancy usually does not cause serious health problems, and most women can treat it at home, reports Telegrafi.
However, very low blood pressure can be cause for concern.
What causes a drop in blood pressure during pregnancy?
Blood pressure varies depending on the woman’s energy levels, nervousness, lifestyle and stress levels.
Blood pressure can increase and decrease depending on the time of day.
A pregnant woman’s blood pressure may be low in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, and this can happen from the circulatory system because the blood vessels dilate to allow blood to flow to the uterus.
In addition, other factors that affect the reduction of blood pressure in pregnant women are infections, allergic reactions, dehydration, internal bleeding, anemia, etc.
Risks and effects of low blood pressure on the baby
One of the biggest dangers of pregnant women suffering from low blood pressure can be falling out of fainting.
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Is There Anything You Can Do To Deal With Low Blood Pressure When Youre Pregnant
Although medication is not normally needed when this happens, there are some simple changes you can make that may reduce the likelihood of its happening.
Take it easy. Try to slow down, avoid making sudden movements, and dont stand up too quickly. If you do feel faint or dizzy, lie down on your left side, which may help to increase the blood flow to your heart.
Drink lots of water. As well as preventing dehydration, this increases your blood volume, and thus your blood pressure.
Eat a healthy diet. Your doctor may also recommend that you increase your salt intake, though its important not to overdo this.
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Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Many women experience low blood pressure, defined as below 90/60, while theyre expecting a baby. This is not usually a problem, doesnt normally require medication, and will start returning to its previous level during the third trimester. Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure throughout the pregnancy.
Low blood pressure during pregnancy happens because your body secretes hormones, and progesterone in particular, which help to relax the walls of your blood vessels and increase the flow of blood to you and your baby.
Occasionally, low blood pressure may be indicative of some other problem. It may be the result of an ectopic pregnancy, in which a fertilised egg becomes implanted outside your uterus. And if its very low, it may cause falls, or shock, in which your brain and other vital organs dont get enough blood to work properly.
Low blood pressure has a variety of symptoms. If you experience any of these, you should mention them to your doctor.
- Pale, clammy skin
Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy: Should You Be Worried
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Hypotension or low blood pressure is often a commonly occurring phenomenon in pregnant women, however, it becomes a cause for concern only when it fluctuates unnaturally. Typically, you do not need a structured treatment for low blood pressure but in certain scenarios, very low BP can be devastating for the baby and mommy both!
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Eclampsia And Hellp Syndrome
Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and preeclampsia can lead to serious and life-threatening conditions like eclampsia and HELLP syndrome.
Eclampsia: This is when blood pressure in pregnancy rises so high that it causes seizures or coma in the mother. Sixty percent of eclampsia comes on during pregnancy, 20% during delivery, and 20% after delivery.
HELLP syndrome: This acronym stands for hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count. In this condition, your body destroys its own red blood cells, liver cells are damaged, and you may bleed too easily. Seventy percent of cases happen during pregnancy and 30% after delivery.
The terms preeclampsia and eclampsia sound like you need to have preeclampsia before getting eclampsia. But thats not always true. Some women with eclampsia dont have any symptoms of high blood pressure or preeclampsia before they start experiencing seizures. The same thing goes for HELLP syndrome. It can appear without warning.
Luckily, these conditions are rare. Eclampsia happens in less than 0.1% of pregnancies in the United States, while HELLP happens in 0.1-0.2 % of all pregnancies. Rates are higher for black and some latino women, as well as women who have pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and preeclampsia.
What Pregnancy Complications Can High Blood Pressure Cause
High blood pressure can cause problems for you and your baby during pregnancy, including:
Problems for moms include:
If you have high blood pressure during pregnancy, youre also more likely have a cesarean birth . This is surgery in which your baby is born through a cut that your doctor makes in your belly and uterus.
Problems for babies include:
- Premature birth. This is birth that happens too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Even with treatment, a pregnant woman with severe high blood pressure or preeclampsia may need to give birth early to avoid serious health problems for her and her baby.
- Fetal growth restriction. High blood pressure can narrow blood vessels in the umbilical cord. This is the cord that connects the baby to the placenta. It carries food and oxygen from the placenta to the baby. If you have high blood pressure, your baby may not get enough oxygen and nutrients, causing him to grow slowly.
- Low birthweight. This is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
- Fetal death. When a baby dies spontaneously in the womb at any time during pregnancy.
- Neonatal death. This is when a baby dies in the first 28 days of life.
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If You Are Already Taking Medicine For High Blood Pressure
If you’re already taking medicine to lower your blood pressure and want to try for a baby, talk to your GP or specialist first. They may want to switch you to a different medicine before you get pregnant.
If you find out you’re already pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. They may need to change your medicine as soon as possible.
This is because some medicines that treat high blood pressure may not be safe to take when you’re pregnant. They can reduce the blood flow to the placenta and your baby, or affect your baby in other ways.
How To Raise Low Blood Pressure
If youre dealing with hypotension, the first step is making an appointment with your doctor. After discussing your medical history, lifestyle, and other factors, your doctor may change your medication or suggest certain lifestyle changes to get to the root of the issue.
Its important not to stop taking any medications or change dosages without talking to a healthcare professional first. The same is true of dietary or other changes.
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Can Low Blood Pressure Harm Your Baby
We know a lot less about the effects of low blood pressure on babies than the effects of high pressure. Some research suggests that it may lead to stillbirth and low birth weight, but this correlation is difficult to establish because there are so many other variables and risk factors involved during pregnancy. In the vast majority of cases, low blood pressure at this time is nothing to worry about.
Low Blood Pressure In Pregnancy: Causes Signs And Dealing Ways
Blood pressure is the measure of pressure in the arteries for both the diastolic and systolic phases as the heart pumps blood to the body. Blood pressure is expressed in fraction-like numbers. The systolic pressure is represented as the top number in blood pressure reading and its the amount of pressure generated by the heart through pumping of blood to the rest of the body. The diastolic pressure is the bottom number and indicates the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart relaxes between beats. When a woman is pregnant, her circulatory system expands rapidly. The blood pressure may drop and this is a normal phenomenon. Eventually, the blood pressure returns to your pre-pregnancy level after you have given birth.
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If You Notice A Sudden Decline In Blood Pressure
A single lower-than-normal reading is not cause for alarm, unless you are experiencing any other symptoms or problems. If you experience any dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea or other symptoms, its a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider. To help with your diagnosis, keep a record of your symptoms and activities at the time they occurred.
Is low blood pressure related to low heart rate? Find out.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Last Reviewed: Oct 31, 2016
Whats Considered Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Low blood pressure may occur during pregnancy, the systolic reading may drop by 5-10 mm Hg while the diastolic pressure may drop by about 10-15mm Hg. Actually, the readings may vary depending on the overall general health and your past medical history. The table below shows low blood pressure readings during pregnancy.
How Is It Diagnosed
Preeclampsia is often diagnosed during routine prenatal appointments when your healthcare provider checks your weight gain, blood pressure and urine.
If preeclampsia is suspected, your healthcare provider may:
- Order additional blood tests to check kidney and liver functions.
- Suggest a 24-hour urine collection to watch for proteinuria.
- Perform an ultrasound and other fetal monitoring to look at the size of your baby and assess the amniotic fluid volume.
Preeclampsia can be categorized as mild or severe. You may be diagnosed with mild preeclampsia if you have high blood pressure plus high levels of protein in your urine.
You are diagnosed with severe preeclampsia if you have symptoms of mild preeclampsia plus:
- Signs of kidney or liver damage .
- Low platelet count
- Visual impairment or seeing spots.
What Is The Normal Blood Pressure Range While Pregnant
A normal blood pressure reading is less than 140/90
The first number is called the systolic reading, and it is the measurement of the pressure against your blood vessels when the heart beats.
The bottom number is called the diastolic number, and it indicates how much pressure is present when your heart is at rest.
You can find more valuable information about blood pressure and assess your risk from the American Heart Association.
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Check Your Blood Sugar
Diabetes and high blood sugar levels may lead to low blood pressure. Volume depletion can occur from the diuresis that follows high blood sugar levels. This is when your body tries to expel glucose via increased urination.
Consider using a home monitor to check your blood sugar levels throughout the day. See your doctor to find out the best diet, exercise, and medication plan to help balance blood sugar levels.
Risks And Complications During Pregnancy
Pregnancy & Parenting Categories
During pregnancy, you may have many questions about your health and potential complications that can occur during pregnancy. Some women may have underlying health risk factors that can increase the chances of having a health issue during pregnancy.
Risk factors for complications include prior health conditions , being age 40 or over, or use of alcohol or cigarettes. Make sure that you consult with your healthcare professional regularly and discuss any risk factors with them. They will monitor you for issues and ensure that your pregnancy is healthy.
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Causes Of Low Blood Pressure In Pregnancy
Low blood pressure in pregnancy is normal. This occurs because the central nervous system expands quickly. When this happens, blood pressure is likely to drop, though it usually returns to pre-pregnancy levels after birth.
There may be other conditions that contribute to low blood pressure, including:
Additionally, low blood pressure in pregnancy may be caused by:
Supine hypotensive syndrome of pregnancy
This condition, also called maternal hypotension syndrome, can occur when you are pregnant and sleep on your back or right side. The enlarged uterus presses on a main vein and reduces blood flow, leading to low blood pressure.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. When it ruptures, women often have vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain. If you have substantial blood loss, you may feel faint, sweaty, and lightheaded, which can indicate dangerously low blood pressure.
Epidural or spinal anesthesia
During delivery, some mothers have an epidural or a Caesarean section. A side effect of these practices is low blood pressure, which may cause the mother to feel faint or nauseous. Your doctor will monitor and treat this side effect.
How To Raise Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Lets agree on one thing: it is unacceptable to practice self-medication during pregnancy. Its bad for pregnant women to take traditional meds for hypotension: they raise the blood pressure by narrowing the blood vessels and in this case the baby doesnt receive enough blood and nutrients. Some of these meds can cause malformations of the baby. Thats why you have to consult your doctor before you take any meds.
If your blood pressure lowers during pregnancy, you can normalize it by yourself, without taking any meds. Fortunately, there are a lots of ways to do so: by following very simple recommendations youll be able to stabilize your blood pressure.
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