It is very common for pregnant women to experience low blood pressure, because quite a lot of body changes occur at this time. Most women will notice their blood pressure dropping at some point early on in their first trimester, and reaching its lowest in the middle of their second trimester. Every prenatal appointment will involve checking your blood pressure by the doctor to ensure your pregnancy proceeds well, as a crucial part of care during pregnancy. In most cases, this drop won’t lead to serious consequences, but in certain circumstances it can pose a danger to the mother and the baby.
Causes of Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
1. Expansion of Blood Vessels
Low blood pressure during pregnancy can be due to the blood vessels and their expansion. In fact, pregnant women may drop by 5 to 10 points of systolic pressure and 10 to 15 points for diastolic pressure. In pregnancy, blood vessels expand to prepare for supplying the fetus, while the blood volume won’t reach to that much, your heart therefore must work hard to circulate blood, leading to lower blood pressure.
2. Hypotension in Supine Position
Supine hypotension refers to when a woman experiences low blood pressure during pregnancy while lying down. When you lie down, your uterus spread pressure to major blood vessels within the body, including the vena cava and aorta. This in turn slows down blood circulation. Some women say they feel anxiety or a sense of suffocation when this happens but it can be prevented by lying on your side instead of your back.
3. Hypotension When Rising (Postural Hypotension)
Even you are not pregnant, you must have experienced postural hypotension at some point in their lives. It is more common among pregnant women due to their larger blood volume. Postural hypotension is when your blood pressure drops when you rise quickly from squatting, sitting, or other resting position. Gravity makes your body work harder to successfully circulate blood throughout your body. Standing or getting out of bed more slowly can help to reduce low blood pressure during pregnancy due to postural hypotension.
4. Deficiencies like Anemia
You may develop anemia if you don’t get enough folic acid or vitamin B12. Anemia leads to low blood pressure, causing the issue. It is also possible for dehydration to lead to body deficiencies that slow down circulation. You can fight these potential nutritional deficiencies with a prenatal vitamin.
Should I Worry About Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy?
It is quite normal to experience a drop in blood pressure during early pregnancy, because this usually occurs when your blood volume increase, helping the body to work harder to compensate the fetus development. Your blood pressure will get lowest during your second trimester before slowly increasing back to the normal level during your final trimester. If blood pressure remains low during labor, however, you should keep in mind that an epidural can further lower it, requiring close supervision.
During the first trimester, this decrease in blood pressure can lead to feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness. Yet, dizzy feelings can also be due to low blood sugar or anemia, so it is important to see a doctor if your symptoms continue. Your doctor may suggest several tests to determine whether your blood pressure is harmless or when to give medical intervention to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
How to Deal With Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Keeping track of your blood pressure on a regular basis is a good way to see how healthy your pregnancy is. It also helps you monitor yourself, detecting potential complications such as preeclampsia. You should track your low blood pressure during pregnancy along with other data such as sleep, activity and nutrition. This will let you and your doctor draw patterns between behaviors that affect blood pressure or vice versa. Be sure to tell your doctor if your blood pressure remains consistently high.
Usually, this condition requires no treatment. If it shows some underlying causes, you can take some targeted methods. Intravenous fluids are required to relieve low blood pressure due to dehydration. Graduated compression stockings can help with low blood pressure caused by pooling blood. Sometimes eating a little more salt can improve it, but always talk to your doctor before trying this method.
You can also follow a few steps to help prevent low blood pressure during pregnancy.
- First, keeping hydrated can serve various supports to your pregnancy.
- When lying down, try to rest on your side instead of your back. This will help blood pressure as well as sciatic nerve and back pain.
- Anytime you feel like fainting, take the time to sit down and lower your head until the faintness passes. Always take it slow when standing up from a sitting position.
- You can also help maintain a normal blood pressure by getting regular exercise so talk to your doctor about a safe routine during pregnancy.
What Others Have Experienced
“I had low blood pressure of 80/50 which led to a fainting spell. My doctor suggested drinking lots of water and eating hourly since my twins were stealing blood flow. It was annoying, but the suggestion helped.”
Salt Can Be One Option.
“My doctor told me that low blood pressure during pregnancy is normal and isn’t concerned about mine at 80/40. He said that since I’m active it will be low. I just need to stay hydrated and keep track of other symptoms. I eat something salty if I feel dizzy, but it takes a day to kick in. I make sure to eat enough salt and am not dizzy the next day.”
Low Blood Pressure and Cold Feeling
“My blood pressure keeps dropping down during the pregnancy, make me struggle a lot. Along with feeling cold all the way, has anyone else experienced the same as me? I just guess that there might be some relations between the two. I am keeping track of it and staying hydrated.”