During pregnancy, blood pressure may decrease, especially in the first weeks, which causes pregnant women to get dizzy and even faint. However, this does not represent any danger for the pregnant woman or for the fetus in formation, unlike hypertension, unless the pressure drops dramatically. During the first 24 weeks, especially in the second trimester, it is normal for blood pressure to decrease. This is because the blood must also flow to the fetus, which makes the circulatory system of the woman have to work faster to keep the baby stable. The result is the low blood pressure of the pregnant woman. However, the body can adapt to that and hypotension can subside.
This problem can be solved by leading a healthy lifestyle and following the instructions of the gynecologist. As already mentioned, it is not a dangerous condition. However, precautions must be taken to avoid frequent fainting, such as carrying a balanced diet and avoiding sudden changes in movement. In the last weeks of pregnancy these uncomfortable symptoms decrease. Before that period, pregnant women should be more careful.
Symptoms of low blood pressure in pregnancy
The symptoms of hypotension in pregnancy do not affect the health of the baby or the body of the pregnant woman. However, they can be very annoying and interfere with her daily life. The most common symptoms are the following:
- Decay or feeling of weakness.
- Blurred or darkening vision when the pregnant woman makes a quick movement.
- Ringing in the ears.
- Shortness of breath after walking.
- Increase of cardiac frequency.
- Dizziness (may even be accompanied by nausea and vomiting)
When fainting is very frequent, it is best to go to an obstetrician for treatment.
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Causes of hypotension in pregnancy
During the first semester, when the placenta is in formation, it is more necessary to produce blood to meet the needs of the mother, the placenta and the embryo. In this period of time the woman’s body is not prepared to provide the amount of blood necessary for both, which causes pressure drops.
Another factor is the hormonal changes during pregnancy, which cause the relaxation of the blood vessels so that the blood circulates more quickly to the placenta. This causes the blood to circulate more fluidly and causes a decrease in blood pressure.
It is also very common for the pressure to decrease when pregnant women get up abruptly after sitting or lying down for a long time. This is more frequent in pregnant women who have a tendency to hypotension.
It should be noted that women who are not physically developed, especially those who are going through puberty, are at greater risk of suffering a drop in pressure, as well as those who lead a sedentary lifestyle or suffer from stress. Infections and cardiovascular diseases are also a risk factor.
How to prevent hypotension in pregnancy?
A moderate blood pressure can be maintained during pregnancy by following these tips, which include eating and physical activity:
- Always bring a salty snack such as a cookie, bread or nuts to stay energized.
- Drink 2 liters of water a day to keep the body hydrated.
- Make sure that the medicines that are being taken have no effect on blood pressure. In that case consult with the obstetrician.
- Avoid staying for a long time in very hot or humid places.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and coffee. These increase the risk of dehydration.
- Don’t get out of bed or chair suddenly. Do it slowly and with support.
- If you feel any suspicious symptoms, consume something sweet like candy.
- Avoid sleeping on your back. Gynecologists recommend sleeping on their side.
- Wear compression socks.
If the low blood pressure is very constant, it is advisable to go to a doctor to rule out any disease that may endanger the health of the baby and the mother.
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Risks of low blood pressure in pregnancy
While a low pressure is not dangerous at the time it occurs, you may have long-term risks if your blood pressure drops to less than 90/60 (mmHg) very frequently. This can lead to risks such as slow blood circulation, which prevents oxygen from reaching the fetus and the mother’s organs. By not supplying enough blood to the placenta, placental insufficiency may occur. The fetus does not receive the necessary nutrients and this prevents its development, which may result in an abortion.
In addition, if the hypotension is not treated correctly, it can cause a dysfunction in the internal organs of the mother, this is known as gestosis. It can also cause a collapse for the baby. Another very imminent risk is related to fainting. This can cause the pregnant woman to suffer a blow and the baby would result injured.
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Diet to raise the pressure during pregnancy
Good nutrition is one of the keys to having a normal blood pressure. Poor nutrition puts women at greater risk of suffering a decrease in blood pressure. Therefore, it is very important to follow a balanced diet.
It is advisable to include fruits and vegetables rich in hemoglobin, such as red fruits and celery. This will favor the blood supply to the placenta and to the mother’s organs.
It is known that salt increases blood pressure. It is recommended to take 5 gr. of salt in meals. However, it should not be abused since it can cause swelling.
It’s also advisable to drink plenty of liquids during pregnancy, because if there is not enough hydration there can’t be good circulation. You can also resort to coffee as it helps to raise the pressure. However, do not drink too much.