What Is Normal Blood Pressure In Pregnancy

Hypertension And Diabetes Before And During Pregnancy

Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

Using all available blood pressure measurements, preeclampsia was defined using the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy definition as SBP at least 140mmHg and/or DBP at least 90mmHg as well as proteinuria of 1+ or more on urine dipstick testing on two occasions after 20 weeks gestation in a woman who was not known to be hypertensive prior to pregnancy . Women who responded to a questionnaire administered during pregnancy that they had previously had hypertension outside of pregnancy were considered to have essential hypertension. Women who responded that they had previously had diabetes outside of pregnancy were classed as having existing diabetes, and for those without existing diabetes, any diagnosis of gestational diabetes was obtained from obstetric records.

High Blood Pressure Complications

While many women who have hypertension prior to pregnancy do very well, there are some potential complications to be aware of. You and your doctor will come up with a plan to manage your symptoms. Additionally, women who have chronic or gestational hypertension are at risk of developing preeclampsia in their second or third trimesters.

Physiologically, the effects of progesterone typically lower blood pressure during the first and second trimester of pregnancy, according to Robert Atlas, MD, an OB/GYN who specializes in high-risk pregnancy issues at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. Blood pressure will return back to pre-pregnancy levels in the third trimester.

Additionally, he says the following are some of the more common complications associated with high blood pressure in pregnancy:

  • 20% to 30% chance of developing superimposed preeclampsia, if you have hypertension prior to pregnancy
  • Increased risk of preterm birth
  • Increased risk of fetal growth problems, which may result in low birth weight
  • Women who have underlying kidney problems have an even higher risk of blood pressure complications in pregnancy

How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure In Minutes

If your blood pressure is elevated and you want to see an immediate change, lie down and take deep breaths. This is how you lower your blood pressure within minutes, helping to slow your heart rate and decrease your blood pressure. When you feel stress, hormones are released that constrict your blood vessels.

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How Is Preeclampsia Diagnosed

Your health care provider will check your blood pressure and urine at each prenatal visit. If your blood pressure reading is high , especially after the 20th week of pregnancy, your provider will likely want to run some tests. They may include blood tests other lab tests to look for extra protein in the urine as well as other symptoms.

Eclampsia And Hellp Syndrome

Blood pressure readings: What they mean

Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and preeclampsia can lead to serious and life-threatening conditions like eclampsia and HELLP syndrome.

  • Eclampsia: This is when blood pressure in pregnancy rises so high that it causes seizures or coma in the mother. Sixty percent of eclampsia comes on during pregnancy, 20% during delivery, and 20% after delivery.

  • HELLP syndrome: This acronym stands for hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count. In this condition, your body destroys its own red blood cells, liver cells are damaged, and you may bleed too easily. Seventy percent of cases happen during pregnancy and 30% after delivery.

The terms preeclampsia and eclampsia sound like you need to have preeclampsia before getting eclampsia. But thats not always true. Some women with eclampsia dont have any symptoms of high blood pressure or preeclampsia before they start experiencing seizures. The same thing goes for HELLP syndrome. It can appear without warning.

Luckily, these conditions are rare. Eclampsia happens in less than 0.1% of pregnancies in the United States, while HELLP happens in 0.1-0.2 % of all pregnancies. Rates are higher for black and some latino women, as well as women who have pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

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What Can You Do About High Blood Pressure Before Pregnancy

Heres what you can do:

  • Get a preconception checkup. This is a medical checkup you get before pregnancy to take care of health conditions that may affect your pregnancy.
  • Use birth control until your blood pressure is under control. Birth control is methods you can use to keep from getting pregnant. Condoms and birth control pills are examples of birth control.
  • Get to a healthy weight. Talk to your provider about the weight thats right for you.
  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Do something active every day.
  • Dont smoke. Smoking is dangerous for people with high blood pressure because it damages blood vessel walls.

Who Is At Risk For Preeclampsia

You are at higher risk of preeclampsia if you

  • Had chronic high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease before pregnancy
  • Had high blood pressure or preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy
  • Have obesity
  • Damage to your kidneys, liver, brain, and other organ and blood systems
  • A higher risk of heart disease for you
  • Eclampsia, which happens when preeclampsia is severe enough to affect brain function, causing seizures or coma
  • HELLP syndrome, which happens when a woman with preeclampsia or eclampsia has damage to the liver and blood cells. It is rare, but very serious.

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When To See A Doctor

Any pregnant woman who has any concerns over their health or the developing fetus should talk to or see their doctor or midwife.

People who have high blood pressure or are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure might want to monitor their blood pressure at home.

A healthcare provider can likely recommend the best blood pressure cuffs to use.

If home monitoring indicates that blood pressure is too high or too low, contact a healthcare provider.

Any pregnant woman who experiences signs or symptoms of preeclampsia must seek immediate medical assistance.

There are several ways for a pregnant woman to manage blood pressure safely.

According to March of Dimes, a person can take the following steps:

  • take approved blood pressure medication daily
  • monitor blood pressure at home
  • eat foods rich in nutrients and avoid salt, processed foods, and added sugars
  • go to all medical checkups
  • avoid drinking, smoking, and recreational drug use
  • stay active through walking or other exercises unless otherwise instructed

Women who have high blood pressure during pregnancy should follow all instructions from their healthcare provider. They should notify their doctor or midwife if they have any changes in their blood pressure or feelings.

It is not always possible to prevent high blood pressure, but a person can take steps to keep their blood pressure at normal levels before and during pregnancy.

The recommend a person take the following measures to prevent high blood pressure:

Can High Blood Pressure Affect The Baby

Normal blood pressure levels in Pregnancy – Dr. Maheshwari V.G of Cloudnine Hospitals

High blood pressure in pregnancy can prevent blood from flowing to the placenta. Because the baby doesnt get enough nutrients or oxygen, they are at higher risk of being low birth weight or being born prematurely.

For this reason, its very important that high blood pressure is picked up early and treated.

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Proteinuria In Pregnancy With Normal Blood Pressure

Pregnant women face a number of changes in their body such as weight gain, swelling of legs, puffiness of eyes and fluid retention. It is important for them to find the exact cause of that change as some of these changes can be a sign of health disorders such as kidney disease. Excretion of protein traces in urine found to be normal but when the protein excretion gets higher, it terms as the condition of proteinuria in pregnancy. Proteinuria in pregnancy with normal blood pressure can be a health disorder or can be a symptom of kidney dysfunction.

Situations like edema , Proteinuria , and sudden weight gain, needs to get monitored on-time.

Risk Factors For High Blood Pressure In Pregnancy

There are many factors that can put you at risk for developing high blood pressure during pregnancy. Knowing these risk factors ahead of time can help you and your provider develop a treatment plan or prevention plan for high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Some risk factors for high blood pressure in pregnancy include:

  • Being overweight
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Age
  • Diabetes or kidney disease
  • A sedentary lifestyle

These risk factors put you at greater risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy, which can lead to pregnancy complications.

Some complications that can result from high blood pressure during pregnancy include:

  • Placenta abruption

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What Are The Different Forms Of High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

High blood pressure complicates about 10 percent of all pregnancies. There are several different types of high blood pressure during pregnancy. These types vary in severity and impact on the body. The forms of high blood pressure during pregnancy include:

  • Chronic hypertension: High blood pressure which is present prior to pregnancy.
  • Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia: Preeclampsia, which develops in someone who has chronic hypertension .
  • Gestational hypertension: High blood pressure is noted in the latter part of pregnancy, but no other signs or symptoms of preeclampsia are present. Some women will later develop preeclampsia, while others probably have high blood pressure before the pregnancy.
  • Preeclampsia: A condition only found in the latter half of pregnancy and results in hypertension, protein in the urine, and generalized swelling in the mother. It can impact other organs in the body and also cause seizures .

How Common Is High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

What Should Your Blood Pressure Be According To Your Age ...

High blood pressure during pregnancy is quite a common problem.

  • About 1 in 10 pregnant women have problems with high blood pressure.
  • Up to 3 in 100 pregnant women have pre-existing high blood pressure.
  • About 4 to 8 in 100 pregnant women have gestational high blood pressure and do not go on to develop pre-eclampsia.
  • Between 2 and 8 in 100 pregnant women develop pre-eclampsia.
  • For every 100 women who have already developed pre-eclampsia in one pregnancy, 16 will develop it again in a future pregnancy. Up to half of these women will develop gestational hypertension in a future pregnancy.

Problems with new high blood pressure are more common during your first pregnancy.

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When To Know If You Have Chronic Hypertension In Pregnancy

In such cases, the increase to prepregnancy values in the third trimester may suggest gestational hypertension. It may not be until elevated blood pressures persist beyond 12 weeks postpartum that, in retrospect, the correct diagnosis of chronic hypertension is recognized.

Not to mention the concerns of high blood pressure when pregnant at 37 weeks. Most of them affected the mother, the worst being seizures during and after labor, the more common being high or low blood pressure after delivery.

How High Blood Pressure Impacts Labour And Birth

If you have high blood pressure, both you and your baby will be closely monitored during the pregnancy. During labour, the babys heart will be continuously monitored and you may have an intravenous drip to give you fluid and medication. If your condition seems to be worsening during labour, you may need an emergency caesarean.

If you have pre-eclampsia, it will normally be recommended that you have the baby in a large maternity hospital which can provide expert care for both mother and baby. It may mean the baby is born early or is smaller than expected.

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Why Is My Blood Pressure Determined

Measuring your blood pressure is a method of informing how well your pregnancy is going. Your midwife will be looking for signs of a possibly major problem called pre-eclampsia, particularly later in your pregnancy.

Pre-eclampsia isnt totally comprehended, but its thought it to happen when the placenta is not working along with it should. This can lead to high blood pressure and other problems. Your midwife will test your urine in addition to taking your blood pressure. Protein in your urine and high blood pressure are both signs of pre-eclampsia.

Having either pre-existing hypertension or gestational hypertension does suggest you are more likely to establish pre-eclampsia. Although it does not indicate you will absolutely get it. However the earlier gestational hypertension sets in, the greater your chance of establishing pre-eclampsia.

You might develop gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia without realizing it. In reality, you might feel perfectly well. Thats why its important to go to all your antenatal appointments so your midwife can routinely examine your blood pressure and urine.

You might also ask your midwife to describe to you the symptoms to look out for. And if you feel weak or odd for no obvious reason in between antenatal consultations, contact your midwife or doctor. Occasionally, pre-eclampsia can develop fast and its essential to get medical help quickly.

Treatment Options For High Blood Pressure In Pregnancy

Blood Pressure Medications and Pregnancy

It is important to keep blood pressure down during pregnancy because of the potential complications for both mom and baby. There are several ways to reduce blood pressure during pregnancy including:

  • Attend all prenatal checkups
  • Take medication regularly, if prescribed
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid smoking, drinking and substance abuse

Stress can also be a factor on the body during pregnancy so it is important to avoid stressful situations, if possible, and be sure to get enough rest. Breathing exercises, prenatal yoga, baths and prenatal massages are all ways to help beat stress and take care of the body while pregnant.

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Low Blood Pressure Complications

While many women who have low blood pressure prior and during pregnancy do not have any related issues, there are some complications to be aware of.

Some symptoms of low blood pressure include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Rapid or shallow breathing

One of the most concerning complications is dizziness because it can lead to fainting, falling, and injury, secondary to the fall. Additionally, research has shown a link between low blood pressure and increased symptoms of morning sickness.

What’s A Healthy Range

According to the Mayo Clinic, a normal blood pressure during pregnancy is below 120/80, although some doctors prefer to see readings lower than 115/75.

Prehypertension occurs when the blood pressure reading is between 121/80 and 139/ 89. High blood pressure is defined as anything above 140/90.

Low blood pressure occurs when the reading drops below 90/50. A diagnosis of high or low blood pressure can be made using either the systolic or diastolic reading if only one of the two measurements is outside of normal range.

During pregnancy, a woman experiences changes in blood pressure as a side effect of the increase in blood volume that occurs to support the developing baby. The most significant change in blood pressure is usually a drop in systolic pressure of five to 10 points and a drop in diastolic pressure of 10 to 15 points over the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, explains the Mayo Clinic. According to the , about 8 percent of women experience high blood pressure during pregnancy instead of following the normal pattern of lower blood pressure.

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Severe Hypertension Or If Pre

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If your blood pressure becomes severely high or you develop pre-eclampsia, you may be referred to an obstetrician or a specialist for treatment or monitoring and may need admission to hospital. You will need much closer supervision and will probably need to have your baby early.

The treatment and monitoring aim to keep you and your baby safe while your baby grows and develops as much as possible. If your baby does need to be delivered early there are treatments available to decrease the complications of being born prematurely.Read more about pre-eclampsia.

  • New onset hypertension after 20 weeks.
  • Severe hypertension systolic pressure 160 mmHg or diastolic pressure 110 mmHg.

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Severe High Blood Pressure Or Pre

Severe high blood pressure, especially with pre-eclampsia, is serious.

  • The risks to you as the mother include:
    • An increased chance of having a stroke.
    • Damage to your kidneys and liver.
    • An increased risk of blood clotting problems.
    • An increased risk of severe bleeding from your placenta.
    • Having fits if you go on to develop eclampsia.
  • The risks to your baby include:
    • An increased chance of poor growth.
    • An increased chance of premature birth.
    • An increased chance of stillbirth.

What Causes High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

Any woman can develop high blood pressure during their pregnancy, but you are at increased risk if:

  • you have had pre-eclampsia before
  • close relatives have had pre-eclampsia
  • you have a medical condition such as kidney disease, diabetes or chronic hypertension
  • you are older than 40
  • you are obese
  • you are carrying twins or more

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Will I Still Have High Blood Pressure After The Baby Is Delivered

High blood pressure during pregnancy typically goes away after the baby is delivered but increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease in the future. Women who had chronic hypertension before pregnancy will usually still have the condition after delivery. Sometimes, blood pressure can remain high after delivery, requiring treatment with medication. Your healthcare provider will work with you after your pregnancy to manage your blood pressure.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/21/2019.


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