Low blood pressure during pregnancy is experienced by most women, the cause of which can be attributed to the cardiovascular changes undergone by the body during pregnancy. This article discusses the causes, symptoms, and treatment for this condition.
Pregnancy is considered to be the most beautiful and enriching experience of a woman’s life. But at times, a condition like low blood pressure could make it a little difficult to enjoy this phase. Low blood pressure or hypotension during pregnancy can be a serious problem, but it is not as serious as high blood pressure or hypertension.
The cardiovascular system undergoes a number of changes during pregnancy. The heart rate increases, and there is an increase in the amount of blood in the body which causes a variation in the blood pressure levels. Hypotension during pregnancy would mean that the blood pressure levels are below 90/60 that is 90 mm Hg systolic or 60 mm Hg diastolic, the normal blood pressure count is approximately 120/80. According to doctors, the blood pressure levels may drop by 5 -15 points during the first trimester, but it should get back to normal at the end of the second trimester.
The symptoms of low blood pressure in pregnancy are:
- Dizziness or fainting
- Blurred vision
- Rapid or shallow breathing
Low blood pressure during pregnancy can be due to various causes like dehydration, expansion of the circulatory system, release of certain hormones, which dilate the blood vessels, etc. As the uterus enlarges, it puts pressure on the large blood vessels causing hypotension. This is usually experienced while lying down and is known as supine hypotension.
Another type of hypotension known as postural hypotension is caused by the pooling of blood in the legs, which restricts the flow of blood to the brain. This is experienced while rising from a sitting position or lying position. Anemia and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) can also cause this condition.
As mentioned before, blood pressure levels usually return to normal at the end of the second trimester. But occasionally, the symptoms of hypotension may continue throughout the term of pregnancy. To avoid low blood pressure in the prenatal stage, there are a few things that need to be followed. They are:
- Follow a healthy diet to prevent anemia and low blood sugar levels. Eat small meals at frequent intervals and avoid going hungry for long hours.
- Drink plenty of water and other hydrating fluids to avoid dehydration.
- While getting up from a sitting or lying position, rise slowly and carefully. Avoid sitting or standing in a particular position for a long time.
- Lying on the side is advised than lying on the back. Lying on the back causes the uterus to pressurize the blood vessels, which restricts the flow of blood and lowers blood pressure.
- Exercise regularly; mild exercises and walking can improve the blood circulation, and thereby prevent the symptoms to some extent. Take an adequate and timely rest.
- Regular visits to the doctor for follow-ups is necessary to rule out any risks related to hypotension or otherwise. In case of aggravated symptoms, be sure to take the medications prescribed regularly.
Preventing low blood pressure can enhance the enriching experience of pregnancy and childbirth. There is nothing really to worry about if the symptoms are mild, just consider it a part of the package and prepare yourself to welcome the little bundle of joy!
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.