Effects Of Low Blood Pressure On Babies
Low blood pressure during pregnancy isnt a cause for concern. However, if the mother is experiencing dizziness, episodes of fainting, and other related symptoms, then it may be hinting at a more serious problem. When a mother’s blood pressure drops rapidly during pregnancy, she may fall, resulting in harm to her baby. Low blood pressure is also a hint of an ectopic pregnancy, which is a complicated pregnancy issue that occurs when a fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus.
What Is Blood Pressure
High blood pressure in pregnancy is a common medical problem that usually disappears once the baby is born. In some cases, it can signal a serious condition called pre-eclampsia.
Your blood pressure is a measure of how strongly your blood pushes against the walls of the blood vessels.
Its normally recorded in 2 numbers:
- The top number is the pressure when the heart is pumping.
- The bottom number is the pressure in between each beat.
When you are pregnant, your blood pressure is considered high if the top number is 140 or more or the bottom number is 90 or more . High blood pressure is sometimes called hypertension.
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.
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If Youre At High Risk For Preeclampsia Your Provider May Want You To Take Low
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of blood that pushes against the walls of your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart to other parts of the body. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood to the arteries. If the pressure in your arteries becomes too high, you have high blood pressure . High blood pressure can put extra stress on your organs. This can lead to heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney failure.
Some women have high blood pressure before they get pregnant. Others have high blood pressure for the first time during pregnancy. About 8 in 100 women have some kind of high blood pressure during pregnancy. If you have high blood pressure, talk to your health care provider. Managing your blood pressure can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
How do you know if you have high blood pressure?
Your blood pressure reading is given as two numbers:
Your blood pressure reading fits into one of five categories:
What pregnancy complications can high blood pressure cause?
Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure
Low numbers are a typical problem among pregnant women. It often stays with them until they are 20-24 weeks into pregnancy. Your body is still accommodating to the changes caused by the fetus growing in your womb. One of many transformations occurring during gestation is the expansion of the blood vessels. It happens due to the need to provide an increased blood flow to the fetus. Such changes can cause low numbers as the pressure in your arteries and veins is reduced.
Women usually notice a drop in blood pressure around their 12th week. Such a change shouldnt be a reason for concern. However, it can lead to bothersome symptoms, including lightheadedness and dizziness. They can also experience:
- feeling cold or having cold hands and feet
While frequent, these signs are not always present in expecting mothers. But if you have some, they can significantly influence your quality of life and mood, cause trouble sleeping, and even provoke depression. Inform your OBGYN or midwife about any changes in your health condition. Healthcare specialists will run tests to see the causes and potential risks of such changes.
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When Should I Worry About Gestational Hypertension
- Sudden headaches that dont go away.
- Blurred vision or seeing double.
- Peeing less than usual.
If youve been diagnosed with hypertension, talk to your pregnancy care provider about how you can best manage the condition. They can help make sure high blood pressure doesnt cause serious complications for you or the fetus.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Gestational hypertension, or high blood pressure during pregnancy, can cause serious complications for both you and the fetus. The good news is that this type of high blood pressure usually goes away after your baby is born. Treatment for high blood pressure involves more blood pressure readings, medication and lifestyle changes. When high blood pressure is well-managed, it doesnt cause serious problems. However, if left unmanaged, it can lead to premature birth, placental abruption or other serious complications. Speak to your pregnancy care provider if you have any concerns about your blood pressure readings or managing your blood pressure.
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High Blood Pressure In Pregnancy
Blood pressure is the amount of pressure the blood places against the blood vessels walls with each heartbeat. A person can experience elevated or high blood pressure, or hypertension, during pregnancy. This is when the blood puts more pressure than normal against the artery walls.
During pregnancy, high blood pressure is also known as gestational hypertension. Gestational hypertension occurs if the womans blood pressure is within the normal range for the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and then increases to 140/90 mm Hg or higher during the second half of the pregnancy.
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Underlying Illnesses Or Conditions
If your GP suspects that a disorder – such as a heart condition, adrenal gland failure or a nerve condition – is causing your low blood pressure, you may be referred to hospital for further tests and treatment.
If adrenal gland failure is found to be causing your low blood pressure, your GP may prescribe fludrocortisone to replace the missing hormone, aldosterone. This will usually be in tablet form and will need to be taken for life.
If a nerve condition is causing your low blood pressure, it can be more difficult to treat. You may be prescribed medication in order to help stimulate your nervous system.
When To Seek A Doctors Help
During pregnancy, low blood pressure can lead to serious symptoms like a severe headache, blurring, weakness, numbness in one side of the body, and shortness of breath. Consult your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above.
With the above-mentioned home remedies and proper consultation of your doctor, you can control low BP during pregnancy.
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Pressure On Your Uterus
You may experience dizziness if the pressure from your growing uterus presses on your blood vessels. This can occur in the second or third trimester, and is more common when the baby is large.
Lying on your back can also cause dizziness. Thats because lying on your back later in pregnancy can cause your expanding uterus to block blood flow from your lower extremities to your heart. This can cause dizziness as well as other concerning symptoms.
Sleep and rest on your side to prevent this blockage from occurring.
Signs Of Low Blood Pressure In Pregnancy
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and has two values:
- Systolic pressure the pressure when the heart pumps blood out
- Diastolic pressure – the pressure of the blood between heart beats
Low blood pressure in pregnancy measures at 90/60 mmHg. Normal blood blood pressure is considered up to 120/80 mmHg.
This may happen when you stand up or change positions quickly, which is called orthostatic hypotension.
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When To See The Doctor For Low Blood Pressure In Pregnancy
Your doctor will check your blood pressure during every prenatal appointment. Blood pressure is an important vital sign that doctors monitor during pregnancy.
It is normal to experience low blood pressure in pregnancy. Be sure to attend your regular appointments and to inform your doctor of your symptoms.
If symptoms appear with sudden bleeding, chest pain, severe headaches, or confusion, seek immediate medical attention. See your doctor if symptoms like fainting cause falls or happen at dangerous times, like while driving.
What Steps Can I Take To Have A Safe Delivery With High Blood Pressure
Steps that you can take to help the chances of having a safe and healthy delivery include:
- Taking any blood pressure medication as prescribed.
- Checking your blood pressure at home.
- Going to all of your prenatal visits.
- Having an early delivery if needed.
- Maintaining a healthy diet and consuming less salt.
- Following your healthcare providers instructions regarding activity and exercise.
Its important to note that most people with hypertension dont have serious complications during pregnancy and delivery if their blood pressure is well-managed.
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Different Types Of High Blood Pressure In Pregnancy
There are 3 types of high blood pressure during pregnancy:
- Chronic hypertension: This is when you already had high blood pressure before you fell pregnant. Chronic hypertension also refers to when your high blood pressure is diagnosed in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Some people with chronic hypertension may develop pre-eclampsia when they are pregnant.
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension: This is high blood pressure diagnosed after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is also called gestational hypertension.
- Pre-eclampsia: Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition that only occurs in pregnancy. As well as high blood pressure, it can also affect the kidneys, liver, blood and brain.
Changing Hormones And Lowering Blood Pressure
As soon as you become pregnant, your hormone levels change to help increase the blood flow in your body. This helps the baby develop in utero.
Increased blood flow can cause your blood pressure to change. Often, your blood pressure will drop during pregnancy, also known as hypotension or low blood pressure.
Low blood pressure can cause you to feel dizzy, especially when moving from lying down or sitting to standing.
Your doctor will check your blood pressure at your prenatal appointments to monitor your blood pressure. Generally, lower blood pressure is not a cause for concern and it will return to normal levels after pregnancy.
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Early Pregnancy Low Blood Pressure
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Treatment For Low Blood Pressure Depends On The Cause
If a cause can be found, a GP will be able to recommend treatment to ease your symptoms.
For example, they may suggest:
- changing medicines or altering your dose, if this is the cause
- wearing support stockings this can improve circulation and increase blood pressure
Medicine to increase blood pressure is rarely needed because simple lifestyle measures or treating the underlying cause is usually effective.
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The Hazards Of Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
If your blood pressure is on the lower end during pregnancy, it typically isnt a cause for concern. However, if your body is reacting through symptoms such as dizziness or episodes of fainting, it may be hinting at a more serious problem. Severely low blood pressure during pregnancy may result in falls , organ failure, and shock. Low blood pressure is also a hint at ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when a fertilised egg implants outside the uterus.
Why Does Blood Pressure Increase During Pregnancy
Pregnant women are at an increased risk of hypertension. According to the CDC and American Pregnancy Association, high blood pressure affects up to eight percent of pregnant women, and that number is increasing. There are different types of high blood pressure women may suffer from during pregnancy, including:
- Gestational Hypertension, which develops twenty weeks into pregnancy
- Chronic hypertension, or high blood pressure occurring before pregnancy or at the twenty-week mark
- Chronic hypertension and superimposed preeclampsia, which occurs in women with high blood pressure before their pregnancy
- Preeclampsia, which is a pregnancy complication caused by high blood pressure and signs of damage to an additional organ system
Because high blood pressure during pregnancy puts additional stress on your heart and kidneys, your risk of heart and kidney disease and stroke increases, other complications may occur as well, including preterm delivery, placental abruption, fetal growth restriction, and others. Therefore, it is vital to monitor your blood pressure levels closely during your pregnancy.
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Low Blood Pressure Complications
While many women who have low blood pressure prior and during pregnancy do not have any related issues, there are some complications to be aware of.
Some symptoms of low blood pressure include:
- Rapid or shallow breathing
One of the most concerning complications is dizziness because it can lead to fainting, falling, and injury, secondary to the fall. Additionally, research has shown a link between low blood pressure and increased symptoms of morning sickness.
Low Blood Pressure Symptoms In Pregnancy
Low blood pressure during pregnancy symptoms are as listed below:
- Heaviness in the head, dizziness, and even fainting
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
If you are pregnant and happen to experience these symptoms, you should consult your health care provider immediately for treatment. While undergoing treatment, you doctor will maintain the blood pressure chart also termed as the low blood pressure during pregnancy chart. You should also follow the points mentioned below in order to prevent the occurrence of hypotension:
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Avoid Standing Up Too Quickly
Pregnancy can cause orthostatic hypotension, which is a sudden drop in blood pressure after standing up from a sitting or lying position.
With orthostatic hypotension, standing up too quickly with low blood pressure may cause you to feel faint or dizzy.
This can increase your risk of falling or even fainting.
Monitoring And Managing Weight
Another risk factor for hypertension is being overweight, so it is crucial to monitor and manage your weight and keep your pregnancy weight gain within healthy limits. By eating right and exercising regularly, you can more easily manage this. Hypertension and weight gain during pregnancy can also cause preeclampsia, which poses a risk for you and your baby. Being overweight also comes with elevated risks for medical conditions, including joint pain, exhaustion, gestational diabetes, GERD or reflux and heartburn, and more. Talk to your doctor about managing your weight and creating a plan to stay on track.
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Causes Of Low Blood Pressure
Throughout the day, your blood pressure can vary by between 30-40 mmHg depending on what you are doing. Having a stressful week at work, the temperature outside, and even what you had for lunch could affect your blood pressure reading.
Each time that you have your blood pressure measured, it is important that the test is carried out under similar conditions to ensure that the results are consistent. If you have a low blood pressure reading, your GP will first consider the everyday causes that might have affected it, before considering the possible underlying causes.
Serious Injuries And Shock
Low blood pressure can also be caused by serious injuries or burns, particularly if you have lost a lot of blood. This can mean that there is less blood being pumped around your body. Low blood pressure can also occur if you go into shock after having a serious injury.
Other kinds of shock are described below.
Anaphylactic shock, or anaphylaxis, is caused by an allergic reaction to something – for example, a wasp sting or a peanut. During an allergic reaction, your body produces a large amount of a chemical called histamine, which causes your blood vessels to widen and leads to a sudden, severe drop in blood pressure.
Cardiogenic shock occurs when your heart cannot supply enough blood to your body, so your blood pressure drops. This can happen during a heart attack.
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