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Blood Pressure during Pregnancy

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It seems every time you go to the doctor, your blood pressure is different. Blood pressure changes throughout pregnancy. Here are a few facts and tips on how to ease this rollercoaster.

Blood pressure is the pressure of the arteries as the blood flows through them. The doctor tests the pressure by putting a tunicate on your arm and listening with a stethoscope to the blood flow. Normal blood pressure ranges approximately 120/80 and below. High blood pressure or hypertension starts needing special attention as it reaches 160/100 +.

High blood pressure manifests itself as frequent headaches, dizziness and/or nausea.
These symptoms are a bit tricky because when you are pregnant, you are most likely to experience these symptoms anyway.

Your blood pressure is bound to drop in the first few months of the pregnancy. The extra body inside you takes a lot of your nutrients, transferred by blood. As your body is not yet accustomed to this new state, there is not enough blood "to go around". You may feel fatigued, dizzy and "out of focus", common symptoms for low blood pressure.

Normally, toward the end of the second trimester, the blood pressure returns to normal. For some women, the elevating blood pressure does not even out, causing hypertension.

The important thing to remember is to relax. Blood pressure only worsens if you are nervous and anxious.  If you are relaxed, eating well and do not suffer from chronic hypertension, you may experience transient high blood pressure. This is a state that is very common during pregnancy and is not harmful to the mother and baby.

If you suffer from chronic hypertension, consult your physician. Make him aware of your condition. Chronic hypertension can make your baby grow slower than normal, can cause birth defects and negligence can cause a complication called Pre-eclampsia, which may appear in the second half of the pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia manifests itself with high blood pressure, blood changes, protein in the urine and in extreme cases, liver or brain problems.

In most cases the blood pressure will go back to normal after birth. In cases of Pre-eclampsia it will go back to normal after six to twelve weeks.

Related Readings:

Weight Gain During Pregnancy - A Dietary Guide



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