safe motherhood


Blood pressure

Your blood pressure is an important indicator of your health during pregnancy. This is why it is checked at every antenatal visit. The midwife records two figures in your notes, for example, 120/70. The second — lower — figure is the most important one. A slight increase in blood pressure is quite normal during pregnancy, especially in the later stages. However, if it goes above a certain level it could reduce the supply of blood to your uterus and therefore the placenta. This means that your baby will get less oxygen. High blood pressure can also be an indication of something being wrong with your kidneys. It can also be a sign of pre-eclampsia.

If your blood pressure is consistently high you’ll probably be advised to rest to help keep a good supply of blood going to your uterus. As you’re likely to be feeling quite well, having to stay in bed might could prove frustrating.

For a diagnosis of high blood pressure to be made, a high level has to be recorded over several readings. All sorts of things can make your blood pressure go up temporarily — stress, anxiety, or rushing to the clinic — and one high reading doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a problem. Try and relax when you’re having your blood pressure checked. If it’s found to be high, ask if it can be re-checked a bit later.