Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Overview
Low blood pressure or hypotension is less common than hypertension or high blood pressure during pregnancy. The causes of low blood pressure in general are much easier to understand than the causes of low blood pressure.
What is low blood pressure during pregnancy
Low blood pressure during pregnancy occurs at about 24 weeks of pregnancy. It is more frequently associated with dehydration which is a loss of blood fluids without any replacement. When the amount of fluids in the bloodstream falls to a critical level, low blood pressure will be experienced.
To demonstrate that loss of fluids leads to a fall in blood pressure, blood pressure medications such as diuretics reduce high blood pressure in patients by excreting excess fluids from the body in the form of urine. This lowers blood pressure in hypertensive patients. It therefore follows that low blood pressure can be a blood pressure medication side effect.
Apart from dehydration, low blood pressure in pregnancy may also occur as a result of being very hot or letting one's self stand for a very long time. Pregnancy also has the effect of pooling blood in the legs thereby depriving the rest of the body of necessary blood supply. This has a low blood pressure effect on the rest of the body.
Low blood pressure during pregnancy symptoms and how to treat it
Symptoms of low blood pressure in pregnancy will include fainting, dizziness or vision blurs. Fainting is particularly dangerous as one is standing as they can easily hit against a blunt object after suddenly collapsing.
The following is a list of some more symptoms associated with low blood pressure;
In considering these symptoms it is important to remember that they may not all manifest and that it is not necessary for all of them to show in order for one to conclude they have low blood pressure.
Moreover, these symptoms may also indicate other medical issues that are not right in a pregnant woman's body and not necessarily low blood pressure. A full doctor's examination will be required when one has any or more of these symptoms.
General hypertension treatment involves lifestyle modifications apart from the use of blood pressure medication. This is also applicable in patients with low blood pressure in pregnancy. Parallel to the high blood pressure's hypertension diet doctors may recommend avoiding well known foods that lower blood pressure as they will likely worsen the patient's condition.
Certain salty dishes may be prescribed that will use the sodium in the salt to boost blood pressure readings. Sodium found in different types of salts is well known for spiking blood pressure readings. The salt and high blood pressure association can therefore be used in reverse to benefit low blood pressure patients.
Apart from salty dishes, to control low blood pressure during pregnancy pregnant women may also modify their daily diet to include specific foods that help boast blood pressure. It has been established that a lack of vitamin B12 and folate in your diet can lead to anemia. This is a condition by which there is a sharply decreased level of the number of red blood cells.This leads to low blood pressure as one of the symptoms.
Eating fortified cereals and meals including beef braised liver, trout, beef, tuna, milk and swiss cheese will give a pregnant woman a good supply of B12 and folate. This is also found in day to day vegetables such as green peas, broccoli and avocado.
Other food stuffs to consider in treating low blood pressure in pregnancy will include canned soup. This is recommended as it contains higher levels of sodium which has the beneficial effect of raising blood pressure. Canned foods are often highly processed foods and naturally contain higher levels of sodium.
Treatment of low blood pressure in pregnancy will also directly address the causes of the low blood pressure in the first place. Dehydration will require increased intake of fluids. These fluids should be specifically recommended by your doctor otherwise simply taking water will address the problem. Your doctor may even prescribe intravenous fluid intake.
Typical fluids to take include water. Drinking more water will increase your blood volume which is beneficial in both preventing dehydration and increasing your blood volume which is necessary for higher blood pressure. Alcoholic drinks are strongly discouraged as these lead to dehydration. For pregnant women, alcohol and tobacco use should be crossed out from the onset anyway. These are some contributors to low blood pressure during pregnancy.
Pooling of blood in the legs is usually resolved by wearing specially designed soaks that squeeze the lower legs in the ankle area all the way up to the sheen forcing blood to go up and circulate. These socks are found in leading pharmacies and stockists or pregnancy accessories suppliers. They are known as compression socks designed to be theraputic in nature. These can be very useful remedies for women suffering from low blood pressure in pregnancy.
They use graduated pressure application. Instead of having blood pooling in the legs, using stronger elastics than everyday socks they put pressure on your legs, feet and ankles forcing circulating blood through narrower channels. More blood volume is sent to the heart creating some form of normalcy.
Your doctor may also recommend regular specific type of exercise that regulates blood pressure helping to keep your blood pressure normal. This can be in addition to taking time to rest at home.
Treating Hypotension With Midodrine
Known in full as Midodrine hydrochloride, in some cases of low blood pressure during pregnancy may lead doctors to elect to use this pharmacological drug. This drug is administered orally in the form of tablets.
It has the overall effect of increasing blood pressure in patients suffering from low blood pressure. The well know side effect of using Midodrine to treat low blood pressure is significant elevation of supine blood pressure. This is high blood pressure while lying down.
The other concern to do with this drug is the fact that it has not been tested on pregnant women. Suffice to say when tested on rats and rabbits the drug led to reduced fetal body weight in both rats and rabbits. Fetal survival rates were also reduced. There are no satisfactory studies of the impact of the drug on pregnant women.
(c) All Rights Reserved. 2010-2015