Hypotension refers to the abnormal condition of low blood pressure. It is a common phenomenon during pregnancy and yet hardly any attention is paid to it. It is a dangerous condition which requires medical supervision and timely treatment.
In this condition, the circulation of blood in the arteries slows down. Since the circulation is slow, the blood supplied to different parts of the body is lower than the normal levels. This affects the normal functioning of the body.
Dizziness, fainting and frequent headaches are some of the symptoms that are commonly associated with this problem.
Hypotension during pregnancy may be either of postural or supine type. Postural hypotension results from rapid change of body position, getting up abruptly from a sitting position. During this condition, the blood pressure falls when we rise all of a sudden. The blood leaves the brain due to the force exerted by the gravity. Rising up slowly from a sitting or a kneeling position may help in overcoming this situation.
Supine hypotension is due to the pressure exerted by the enlarging uterus on the vena cana and the aorta. It is caused most often when the patient lies on the back. It can be controlled if the patient avoids lying down on the back.
Very often, a decline in the blood pressure levels has been noticed in early pregnancies. The condition is usually self-correcting and the blood pressure level may improve with the progression of the pregnancy. However, if the condition persists, it requires medical attention. If the condition is ignored, then the mother’s and child’s health can be put to grave risk.
Hypotension during pregnancy can be as serious as hypertension. Low systolic pressure may lead to low birth weight, death of the foetus or low intelligence quotient scores at the age of about four years. Low diastolic pressure can also increase the risk of premature birth.
To avert the dangerous possibilities associated with low blood pressure levels during pregnancy, it is important to continually measure and monitor blood pressure during prenatal visits. If required, appropriate medication should be started without undue delay.