Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

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It's not uncommon to have a drop in blood pressure during pregnancy. Many women don't realize that pregnancy can have an effect on blood pressure. It occurs because the circulation expands during pregnancy and hormonal changes cause the blood vessels to dilate, leading to a lowering of blood pressure. The blood pressure begins to fall in early pregnancy and is usually at its lowest sometime in the middle of the second trimester. For many clinicians, low blood pressure is defined by the blood pressure that gives a person the symptoms described below and not by a standard measurement.

Not surprisingly, women may experience symptoms of low blood pressure during pregnancy. These symptoms are similar to symptoms that anyone with low blood pressure might feel. Most commonly, symptoms of low blood pressure in pregnancy include dizziness and even fainting. The lightheadedness can be worse when standing up suddenly or rising from a reclining position.

The normal drop in blood pressure that occurs with pregnancy typically does not cause the symptoms of severe hypotension that occur with shock. In patients with sepsis or profound blood loss, a severe drop in blood pressure can result in organ damage such as stroke, kidney failure, and heart attack.