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- What is Low Blood Pressure?
- When Does a Pregnant Woman Have Low Blood Pressure?
- Types of Temporary Low Blood Pressure
- Causes of Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
- Signs and Symptoms
- Diagnosis of Low BP When Pregnant
- Risks of Low Blood Pressure In Pregnant Women
- How to Treat Low Blood Pressure in Pregnancy
- Will Low BP in Pregnancy Affect My Baby?
- Tips on Dealing With Dizziness Due to Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
- When to Seek a Doctor’s Help?
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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 the blood vessels in the circulation system dilate due to hormonal changes in your body, which may lead to low 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 is a reading of 120 mmHg/ 80 mmHg.
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 baby’s health. Low BP is commonly reported among pregnant women, and it may remain on the lower side till 24 weeks of gestation.
Types of Temporary Low Blood Pressure
There are typically two types of low blood pressure. Let’s understand each of them.
Your blood pressure may remain low for a brief period after you get up from a sitting or sleeping position. The condition, also known as orthostatic hypotension, is a result of sitting or lying down for a long period of time. The blood reaches the brain a little late when you suddenly change your position.
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, causing 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:
- One of the reasons 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 the 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 hypoglycemia (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, they 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. Hence, the mother is prone to anaemia if there is less intake of vitamins or folic acid, as this deficiency can slow down blood circulation and cause poor blood pressure.
Signs and Symptoms
- Breathing problems, chest pains, vomiting or an increase in pulse rate.
- Dizziness and episodes of fainting because of low blood pressure.
- Light headedness and blurred vision when suddenly changing from a reclining or sitting position.
- Excessive thirst and difficulty concentrating, due to anaemia.
- Severe pelvic pain along with a lowered BP. This can indicate a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, which could be very dangerous.
- Pale, clammy and cold skin, besides feeling fatigued or weak.
Some of the symptoms mentioned above might subside after you rest or have enough water to drink. Make sure you discuss it with a doctor, as it could be a sign of health problems that 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 below risks if you have been diagnosed with low blood pressure.
- Dizziness due to low blood pressure may raise the chances of fainting, 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 some facts and remedies for the treatment of low blood pressure during pregnancy.
There is no treatment prescribed for low blood pressure at the time of pregnancy. Even medications are not suggested during pregnancy, unless the symptoms are serious or there are chances of complications. However, the issue 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.
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 blood pressure, as the sodium content in salt increases blood pressure. However, don’t consume too much salt water, as it can prove to be detrimental to your health. Simply add half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and drink it or you can also take oral rehydration solution.
The best remedy is to eat raisins – a traditional but excellent way to treat hypotension. Soak some raisins in water overnight and consume them 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.
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, add a teaspoon of honey, and consume this on an empty stomach, daily. You can also simply eat the basil leaves, if you like the taste, every morning.
4. Beetroot Juice
You can drink a cup of beetroot juice on a daily basis, for about one week.
Ginger 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.
It contains potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, zinc and magnesium, which increase the iron and potassium levels that may help in raising 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 blood pressure levels. You can consume fresh carrot juice along with honey, every morning.
9. Almond Paste and Milk
It is the most commonly prescribed remedy. This combination may work on the 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 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 are not just a result of low BP.
Tips on Dealing With Dizziness Due to Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
One of the main symptoms of low blood pressure is dizziness and feeling faint. This can harm you or your baby’s health, if you faint and fall. These are some ways to manage dizziness caused by low blood pressure in pregnancy.
1. Don’t stand for a long period of time. Take short intervals and sit down, especially while doing any housework such as cooking, laundry, or cleaning.
2. Avoid taking very hot baths or showers, as the hot water further dilates blood vessels, lowering blood pressure and making you feel faint.
3. Stay hydrated by regularly sipping on water throughout the day to keep your mind active and fresh.
4. Avoid changing your position too quickly, as you may feel faint. Get down or sit up slowly to give your body some time to adjust to the change in position.
5. Wear loose clothing, which makes you feel more free than constricted. This will help ease any feelings of lightheadedness.
6. Sleep in the left lateral position, as it increases blood circulation to the baby and also prevents Supine Hypotension Syndrome in the mother.
When to Seek a 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.
With the above-mentioned home remedies and proper consultation of your doctor, you can control low BP during pregnancy.