The Importance of Checking Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

The Importance of Checking Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

Pregnancy brings on many new experiences. The anticipation of a new family member keeps parents busy with preparation activities. Focussing on baby names and nursery décor can be fun. The most important aspect of pregnancy, however, should always be health. Doctor visits, proper nutrition, and moderate exercise are all part of a healthy pregnancy. Blood pressure should be checked regularly, as it can be a clear indicator of underlying health problems. During pregnancy, changes in blood pressure can accompany some dangerous conditions.


How Does a Blood Pressure Monitor Work?

Most individuals know that high blood pressure is bad for them. However, they often do not understand what makes the pressure too high. Blood pressure can also cause problems when it is too low. Blood pressure devices determine how much force is being used to move blood through the body. The cuff tightens around the arm or wrist with the intention of stopping the flow of blood. As the cuff loosens, blood begins to flow again. The monitor then reads pulse as the circulation through the veins begins. This pulsing, represented by the top number of the blood pressure reading, is the systolic reading. Eventually, the cuff reopens, at which point the pulsing ceases. That's when you get the bottom number or the diastolic reading. Your doctor can give you a range depicting normal pressure, so you know what to look out for.


Importance of Risk Management

Several pregnancy complications are identifiable by blood pressure changes. You should report any change in your regular pressure reading to your doctor. High blood pressure is often the first sign of preeclampsia, which if left untreated, is extremely dangerous to the mother and the baby. Also known as pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia raises the blood pressure, produces protein in the urine, and causes vision changes. The usual treatment is the prompt delivery of the baby. Once the baby is born, symptoms usually stop immediately. Otherwise, the symptoms progress to seizures, heart failure, and possibly death. Patients may miss the warning signs if they have their blood pressure checked only at monthly doctor visits. Daily blood pressure monitoring at home could save your life.

It is also important to recognize the occurrence of low blood pressure. Low readings are common during most pregnancies. Your body focuses on supplying the baby with everything it needs. This redirection of blood and nutrients can leave the mother feeling faint, however.  Pregnancy hormones cause blood vessels to dilate, contributing to low blood pressure. When you notice low blood pressure during a daily home check, you can take action. Doctors often recommend standing slowly, sitting down when dizzy, and lying on your left side to assist circulation. When you are aware of the situation, you can avoid falls and take care of yourself properly.

Sepsis and blood loss also result in low blood pressure. These are serious complications that require emergency treatment. Sepsis can occur after a C-section or other surgical procedures. You should check your blood pressure at home after delivery by cesarean. Bleeding is normal after pregnancy. However, excessive bleeding may cause blood pressure to drop. It can be beneficial to monitor your blood pressure long after the pregnancy and birth.


How to Take Your Blood Pressure at Home

Blood pressure can be taken at home fairly easily. It is best to purchase an automatic machine for home use. Manual blood pressure devices rarely produce accurate results in home environments. Medical professionals are better suited to use the manual version. A wrist monitor can be easier to fit. One of our top favorites with the best quality devices is at Generation Guard. The wrist cuff is easy to use without assistance. For home use, the patient puts the cuff on the wrist, raises the wrist and arm so that they're level with the heart, and then pushes the start button. As with any blood pressure reading, it is important to remain still throughout the process.

The traditional blood pressure device with an upper arm cuff is also available at Generation Guard. This model is suitable for patients who need the most accurate readings. It can be beneficial, although not necessary, to have another person help place the cuff and start the machine. Traditional cuffs that go on the upper arm are more accurate due to the placement and width of the arteries. To place the cuff correctly over the brachial artery, measure 1 inch from the fold of the inner elbow. This is also called the antecubital fold. Further instructions for a proper reading include remaining still and keeping the legs uncrossed. A precise evaluation is dependent on following the directions contained with the device.

Pregnant women spend a lot of time at the doctor to ensure the health of their baby. They have their blood pressure checked at every visit. A change in blood pressure can indicate the development of a severe health issue, and the ability to monitor it at home allows for early detection of these changes. Healthy women and those at risk for preeclampsia and post-surgery infection can keep track of their pressure with a convenient device made for home use.


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