Low blood pressure during pregnancy – causes and treatment

Low blood pressure (also called hypotension) is often associated with fainting and dizziness.  In general, low blood pressure is not considered a health risk in the same way that high blood pressure is.  However, during pregnancy especially, fainting and falling due to low blood pressure can be of serious concern.

The greatest cause of low blood pressure tends to be dehydration.  When the body dehydrates it drastically affects to flow of blood in the body.  Additionally, being very hot can contribute to low blood pressure.  Standing for a long period of time can also be a risk factor.

While you are pregnant, there are other factors that can cause low blood pressure.  Pregnancy causes blood to pool in your legs, making less blood available to the brain.  Thus, when you rise from a laying or sitting position you may feel dizzy or faint.  This can also cause vision problems in a pregnant woman.

Low blood pressure may or may not require treatment. The treatment of low blood pressure is directed toward the underlying cause;  if low blood pressure is caused by dehydration, it may be treated by a physician with intravenous fluids.  If it is caused by pooling blood, your physician may recommend graduated compression stockings.  A little extra salt may also help, but in this case you need to discuss the other risks with your physician.

There are some things you can do to prevent low blood pressure:

-  Drink plenty of fluids, especially water

-  Lay on your side, rather than on your back.  This may also help with back and sciatic nerve pain.

-  If you feel faint, sit down.  Put your head lower than your body until you no longer feel faint.

-  When getting up from the sitting position, take it slowly.

-  Regular exercise helps keep blood pressure normal.  Keep up with your physician-approved exercise regimen.



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