How does your blood pressure change during pregnancy?
Blood pressure is the force exerted against your vessel walls as the heart pumps to circulate blood. A healthy blood pressure reading is 110/80 mmHG, although this varies from one mom-to-be to another.
Gestational hypertension occurs when one develops high blood pressure after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Other moms-to-be may develop low blood pressure instead.
Your blood pressure levels will return to normal a few weeks after birth but during pregnancy, gestational hypertension can increase the risk of developing pregnancy complications, such as pre-eclampsia. High blood pressure may also result in your baby’s slower growth and a lower birth weight.
What causes these changes?
Low blood pressure can happen during the first and second trimester as hormonal changes relax the blood vessels. As for pregnancy-induced hypertension, the causes are unknown, but the risk of developing it is higher if a mom-to-be has pre-existing hypertension or diabetes before pregnancy, and is carrying twins or more.
How can you have healthy blood pressure levels?
- Have a nutritious diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Monitor and reduce your salt intake.
- Sleep on your left side to avoid having the weight of your baby press on your blood vessels.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Exercise to reduce high blood pressure, but do check with your doctor on appropriate prenatal exercises.
- Call your doctor immediately if low blood pressure leads to dizziness, chest pains, and if you faint. This also applies if you notice sudden swelling in your fingers, feet or face, headaches, and hear a ringing in your ears, which can be signs of gestational hypertension.