Low BP during Pregnancy

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Blood pressure measures the force exerted by the blood on the walls of the arteries when the heart pumps. The connection between low blood pressure and pregnancy is that due to hormonal changes in your body, the blood vessels in the circulation system dilate, which may bring down your blood pressure.

What Is Low Blood Pressure?

Your blood pressure is considered low if it reflects a reading of 90 mmHg/ 60 mmHg or less. A normal blood pressure has a reading of 120 mmHg/ 80 mmHg.

When May A Pregnant Woman Have Low Blood Pressure?

The 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 predict your and your baby’s state of health. Low BP is commonly reported among pregnant women, and it may remain on the lower side till 24 weeks.

Types Of Temporary Low Blood Pressure

There are typically two types of low blood pressure. Let’s understand each of them.

  • Postural hypotension: The blood pressure may remain low for a brief period after you get up from a sitting or a sleeping position. The condition, also known as orthostatic hypotension, is a result of sitting or lying down for a long period. The blood reaches the brain a little late when you suddenly change position to stand.
  • Supine hypotension: If you are sleeping or resting on your back, then the pressure is forced on the major blood vessels like vena cava, aorta and others, and this may cause a drop in blood pressure. This hypotension happens because of the expanding uterus which may lead to dizziness around the second and third trimester.

Causes Of Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

Some reasons that could be the cause of low blood pressure in pregnancy are mentioned below:

  • Dilation of blood vessels. The reason behind low blood pressure in the first trimester could be hormonal changes that cause dilation of blood vessels.
  • Dehydration lowers blood pressure due to rapid loss of water and can cause dizziness.
  • The enlargement of uterus creates pressure on the blood vessels and may cause hypotension. Supine hypotension is mostly experienced in pregnancy when you lie down on your back.
  • Postural hypotension is caused by the accumulation of blood in the legs, which affects the blood flow to the brain. It usually happens while rising from a sitting position or lying position.
  • Anaemia and hypoglycaemia (a condition that causes low blood sugar levels) can also be the reason for low BP during pregnancy.
  • If you have any heart-related conditions, this could also cause a significant dip in your blood pressure levels.

Other factors include deficiency of vitamin B12 and folic acid. The foetus absorbs nutrients from the mother. So, the mother is prone to anemia if there is less intake of vitamins or folic acid since this deficiency can slow the blood circulation and cause poor blood pressure.

Signs & Symptoms

  • You may experience breathing problems, chest pains, vomiting or an increase in pulse rate.
  • Many women in pregnancy feel dizzy and might experience episodes of fainting because of low blood pressure. It can also cause light-headedness and blurred vision when you suddenly change from a reclining or sitting position to standing.
  • In pregnancy, low blood pressure is usually a temporary condition caused by an increase in blood volume that dilutes blood and possibly causes anaemia. You may often feel thirsty and find difficulties with concentration.
  • You may experience severe pelvic pain along with a lowered BP. This can indicate a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, which could be very dangerous.
  • You may turn pale, clammy and cold besides experiencing fatigue or increased weakness

Some of the symptoms mentioned above might subside after you rest or have enough water to drink. But make sure you discuss it with a doctor as it could be a sign of health problems which have not yet been detected.

Diagnosis Of Low BP When Pregnant

The condition can be easily diagnosed with the help of a device used to measure blood pressure. For this, an expandable cuff will be put around your arm and a pressure-measuring gauge will be used to calculate the blood pressure.

Risks Of Low Blood Pressure In Pregnant Women

While low blood pressure does not pose as much risk as high blood pressure, it still remains a cause for concern during pregnancy. Watch out for the risks below if you have been detected with low blood pressure.

  • Dizziness due to BP may raise the chances of fainting and falling and hurting yourself and the unborn baby.
  • If there is a drastic fall in blood pressure, it can reduce the oxygen supply to your body, thus impeding your body’s crucial functions. It could be risky for your baby in case there is less supply of oxygen, causing significant damage to the baby’s heart and brain.

How To Treat Low Blood Pressure In Pregnancy

Here are the facts and remedies for the treatment of low blood pressure during pregnancy.

Treatment

There is no treatment prescribed for low blood pressure at the time of pregnancy. Even medications are not suggested during pregnancy unless symptoms are serious or there are chances of complications. However, it can be controlled with simple changes in lifestyle like exercising to promote blood flow, being careful while getting up after sitting or lying down, and stretching your ankles and feet before you stand up. It is noticed that the blood pressure starts rising on its own in the last trimester.

Self-Help Remedies

You can try some of the home remedies for low blood pressure during pregnancy mentioned below.

  1. Salt water: It is usually recommended for patients with low BP as the sodium content in salt increases blood pressure. But don’t consume too much salt water as it can prove to be detrimental to your health. Simply add one-half teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and drink it.
  2. Raisins: The best remedy is to eat raisins – a traditional but excellent way to treat hypotension. Soak some raisins in water overnight and consume in the morning on an empty stomach. You can also have the water in which the raisins were soaked. Follow this for a few weeks or even a month.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  3. Basil: Basil contains nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and pantothenic acid, which are good for low blood pressure. Moreover, it also helps to ease stress. You can extract the juice from basil leaves and add a teaspoon of honey and consume this on an empty stomach daily. You can simply chew basil leaves in the morning as well.
  4. Beetroot Juice: You can drink a cup of beetroot juice for about one week, on a daily basis.
  5. Ginger: It is effective in dealing with low and high blood pressures because it contains certain compounds and antioxidants along with chemicals such as shogaol, gingerol and zingerone, which can avert variations in the blood pressure levels.
  6. Aniseed: It contains potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, zinc and magnesium which increase the iron and potassium levels that may help in raising the blood pressure. You can simply add the herb while cooking your food.
  7. Lemon juice: Another excellent home remedy is lemon juice, especially if low BP is caused due to dehydration. The lemon juice can help in providing energy and enhancing the function of liver along with aiding digestion.
  8. Fresh carrot juice: Fresh carrot juice can help in improving blood circulation and hence maintain the blood pressure levels. You can consume fresh carrot juice along with honey every morning.
  9. Almond milk: It is the most commonly prescribed remedy. This combination may work on adrenal glands that can stabilise the blood pressure. Soak five or six almonds overnight, peel the skin and grind to a smooth paste. Add the almond paste to boiled milk and stir it well. Consume a cup of almond milk to improve the blood pressure levels.

Besides these home remedies, you should drink plenty of fluids to keep the condition under control. It is best to consult your doctor before you opt for any home remedies.

Will Low BP in Pregnancy Affect my Baby?

Although some studies suggest that the condition of low BP during pregnancy may cause problems such as low birth weight and stillbirth, other researches have revealed that such issues are accompanied by certain other factors and not just low BP.

When To Seek Doctor’s 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.

Conclusion: With the above-mentioned home remedies and proper consultation of your doctor, you can control low BP during pregnancy.

Also Read: High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) during Pregnancy

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