Dealing with low blood pressure during pregnancy
Are you suffering from low blood pressure? Here's how to deal with it during pregnancy.
Symptoms of low blood pressure can be feeling weak and dizzy, confused, or feeling sleepy with nausea, blurred vision and feeling faint. At this stage of your pregnancy, low blood pressure is usually a transitional phenomenon caused by a remarkable increase in blood volume that temporarily dilutes your blood and may cause a shortlived anaemia. This is nothing to worry about – just make sure that you’re taking an iron supplement and drinking enough fluids during the day.
More worrying is persistent low blood pressure that causes fainting, because this could indicate an underlying problem such as anaemia or diabetes. Some women who have low blood pressure in the first and second trimester may have high blood pressure in the later stages of her pregnancy – a condition that’s more problematic. Acute or sudden low blood pressure accompanied with severe pelvic pain could be a life-threatening emergency such as a burst ectopic pregnancy that needs urgent medical attention.
The increased circulating blood volume at this stage of your pregnancy is to help your womb cope with the extra demands of your growing baby and is also a preparation in anticipation of a normal blood loss (about 500mls or two cups) when you give birth. Thanks to the pregnancy hormone oestrogen that helps the heart and blood vessels to cope with this extra volume, your blood pressure quickly settles down to what it should be– 120/80 mm Hg (mercury).
When there is an underlying health problem, the heart slows down, resulting in low blood pressure, and the blood is not pumped efficiently around the body, denying vital organs of nutrition and oxygen. Hypotension or low blood pressure is diagnosed when readings are persistently below 100/65 mm Hg.
Causes of low blood pressure:
- Standing up too quickly- after sitting or lying down.
- Lying on your back in a very hot bath for too long.
- Insufficient fluid intake, or nausea with vomiting, or problematic morning sickness.
- Anxiety, especially combined with hyperventilation (breathing too quickly).
- Low blood sugar levels as with diabetes and gestational diabetes.
- Underlying problems with heart, kidneys or blood vessels.
Natural ways of dealing with low blood pressure:
- Take your time getting up in the morning- ideally have somebody bring you tea in bed!
- Make sure you get enough liquid to drink during the day.
- Deal with nausea and vomiting- see a doctor.
- Ask your doctor to check for anaemia.
- Sit down periodically during the day especially if your job involves a lot of standing , eg. hairdressers and school teachers.
- If the dizziness and fainting continues, see a doctor.