During pregnancy, you undergo plenty of physical changes for your baby to grow and during this period it’s actually better to have normal blood pressure but many women face fluctuating blood pressure. The blood pressure can be defined as the force of the blood that pushes against the artery walls. Everytime time the heart beats, it pumps the blood into your arteries, which carries this blood to all the body organs.
Blood usually moves through your arteries at some certain rate. However, there are different factors that can disrupt this normal rate causing an increase or decrease in your blood pressure. When this pressure increases in your arteries, it can elevate the blood pressure and when this pressure decreases in the arteries, it gives a low blood pressure reading.
The rapid physical changes taking place in your body in these nine months can greatly fluctuate these numbers. Usually, the normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 mmHg and below. If this goes below 90/60 mmHg, it means you have low blood pressure or hypotension and when it goes above 140/90 mmHg it means high blood pressure or hypertension.
Hypertension is more common among pregnant ladies than hypotension. If you get abnormal blood pressure reading then you should think about it seriously. This means both you and your baby are at higher risk of health problems which you can avoid by taking appropriate precautions. Take more prenatal appointments and visit your doctor to monitor your blood pressure. You should also understand the related conditions so that you can manage the situation well.
What Is Abnormal Blood Pressure And How To Detect It?
Abnormal blood pressure simply means that it is not normal. When you get a blood pressure reading anything other than normal reading which is 120/90 mmHg and little lower than this, then it means you have abnormal BP. Here are varying blood pressure readings as per AHA.
Prehypertension: 120/80 to 139/89 mmHg is the usual reading. This means the systolic reading is between 120 and 139, and the diastolic reading is between 80 and 89.
Hypertension Stage 1: The range is between 140/90 and 159/99 mmHg. This means the systolic reading is between 140 and 159 while the diastolic reading is between 90 and 99.
Hypertension Stage 2: The range starts from 160/100 mmHg and goes beyond it. This means the systolic reading can be 160 or higher while the diastolic reading can be 100 or higher.
Hypertensive Crisis: The range starts from 180/110 and goes beyond it. This means that the systolic reading can be 180 or higher while the diastolic reading can be 110 or higher.
It’s always possible to notice your abnormal blood pressure whether it is hypertension or hypotension. You may not be able to always see their symptoms, but if you do then figure out if it is high or low with the help of the list of symptoms given below.
Hypertension or high blood pressure usually gives a reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher.
- Flushed skin
- Breath shortness
- Hands and Feet swellings
- Changes in the vision
Hypotension or low blood pressure usually gives a reading of 90/60 mmHg or lower.
- Clammy and cold skin
- Rapid breathing
- Sudden tiredness
- Unable to concentrate
- Blurred vision
- Extreme fatigue
If you observe any of these hypertension or hypotension symptoms then you should immediately visit your doctor to help prevent any kind of possible complications.
These symptoms are not visible always and so, it’s recommended to go for regular checkups and keep track of your blood pressure. If you know how to check you can purchase a blood pressure checking monitor and take help of a family member to check from time to time more frequently. You can find this in many local drug stores. However, if you are not sure, you can take doctor’s instructions on how to use it and follow them.
What Causes Abnormal Blood Pressure During Pregnancy?
As per AHA 1 among 3 American adults are suffering from hypertension. In pregnancy, this is either chronic or gestational. Chronic hypertension is the one when you have hypertension even before pregnancy. You may have to get diagnosed with this kind of hypertension if you had developed it in the first 20 weeks of your pregnancy. Unfortunately, you still may suffer from this after giving birth. Gestational hypertension is something you get when you develop high blood pressure after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Usually, the reasons behind this include obesity, unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity. Though it gets cured after giving birth to the child, you still have a higher risk of developing hypertension in the future. During pregnancy, your circulatory system expands in order to accommodate your baby. As it expands slowly you may observe a small drop in the blood pressure. As per AHA, this is very common in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Coming to hypotension, it may be caused because of dehydration, low blood sugar, thyroid-related issues, malnutrition, infection, diabetes, heart problems, allergies, blood loss, folic acid and B complex deficiency, etc.
Treating Abnormal Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Hypertension should be monitored from time to time to prevent any kind of life-threatening complications. Your doctor may recommend fetal monitoring frequently which means you need to keep a track of how often the baby kicks you. Even little movements can cause problem leading to early delivery. You also may have to undergo frequent ultrasounds throughout this period to make sure your baby grows properly. Your doctor may recommend you to take aspirin to control the blood pressure and complications like preeclampsia.
Not so serious or mild hypotension may not require any treatment but you may be advised to be careful while standing up to avoid falling down. However, in serious conditions, you need to do the following.
- Drink more water and fluids
- Wear compression socks
- Stand less on your feet
- Use medicines like fludrocortisone or midodrine after taking doctor’s advice
- Take more salt
- Take rest frequently while standing
- Complications of Abnormal Blood Pressure
Hypertension can drag you and your baby into risky complications such as a preterm delivery (delivery before 37 weeks), fetal growth problems, preeclampsia, need for a cesarean, placental abruption, etc.
Hypotension can also cause serious complications. Fainting and dizziness seem nothing but that increases the risk of falling down and injuring yourself and your baby. A significant drop in your blood pressure can reduce the oxygen supply to the baby. This, in turn, damages your heart and brain affecting fetal development.
How To Prevent Abnormal Blood pressure During pregnancy?
The Best way to reduce the risk of developing any kind of complications is to prevent abnormal blood pressure. It’s always recommended to visit your doctor and control the blood pressure if you have before pregnancy. It’s also advised to lose some weight get back to normal if you are overweight or obese before pregnancy. There are few other ways by which you can also control your blood pressure as given below.
- Eat healthy diet all the 9 months
- Manage preexisting health conditions like diabetes
- Quit smoking
- Quit drinking alcohol
- Limit your sodium intake
- Exercise at least thrice a week
Hypertension that develops after getting pregnant usually fades away after giving birth to your child but you may have to continue medication if it is a pre-existing problem. As per Mayo Clinic, breastfeeding might control your BP but your doctor might adjust your medication to prevent any kind of harm to your baby.