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Educate me please about blood pressure
...during pregnancy


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#1 SharkFish

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:23 PM

Hi All,

I visited my OB today - I'm 15w3d. He asked me how I have been feeling, and I said generally fine excpet for sleeping almost every minute I'm not at work and having a headache for about a week that I can't seem to shake, I've even popped the odd panadol in desperation but to no avail.

Anyway, he took my blood pressure. The look on his face pretty much gave away the fact that it wasn't normal. I asked is it ok - he said no it's high. The numbers were 190? something over 140? something. I asked if this was cause for concern or worry. I didn't really get a straight answer.

He took it about 5 times and it was pretty much the same. Then he did a quick scan to check on both babies (at my request lol) and then took it again twice. Still 'high'.

I've never had high blood pressure before that I am aware of. I've been in hospital probably a bit more than your average healthy person in the last 7 years or so, and every time I've had obs done etc always been told it's normal. Every time my gp has ever checked my blood pressure I've been told it's normal.

So I guess my questions are:

1. What is considered to be a 'normal' blood pressure? (I've never asked the numbers before and just been happy knowing it was normal - not curious enough to need further info iykwim?)
2. What exactly do each of the numbers mean or stand for?
3. Is 190 odd /140 odd really high, or just above normal?
4. Are both numbers as important as each other, or is the top or bottom one more 'important'?
5. Is there anything au natural I can do such as exercise or eating wise to try and reduce it?
6. Is there anything else I should learn about it or be aware of?

FWIW he presribed me a low dose blood pressure medication.  sad.gif

I left there a bit oblivious really, but feeling as though I had asked the questions I needed to to understand.

Then when I was speaking to my mum later I told her about it and her response was 'sh*t that's high'. So it made me wonder if it's quite high, or just a bit higher than normal iykwim?

Anyway, sorry for the novel - I guess I'd just like to be a bit more informed.

Thanks if advance for the education  original.gif

#2 jayskette

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:26 PM

http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-hea...d-pressure.aspx

also

http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-hea...es/default.aspx

Edited by jayskette, 05 April 2012 - 07:27 PM.


#3 ubermum

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:35 PM

It's hard to know just how high that is when you haven't said what your blood pressure is normally, but that is high. This chart gives you a good picture of blood pressure averages for adults. Click

#4 annasue

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:35 PM

Not sure you've heard the dr right because if your diastolic blood pressure was really 140 then he should have admitted you to hospital for further tests and management.

#5 follies

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:39 PM

My partner's blood pressure is 140 over 100 and they are putting him on medication.

#6 suline

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:47 PM

Im worried that your Ob didn't cover all these questions with you, if it is bad enough to start medication.

He should have at least discussed what your observations actually were, and what the implications this can have on your health and pregnancy! Hopefully you are seeing someone to monitor your BP while on medication.

Best wishes x

#7 MoonPie

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:47 PM

1. What is considered to be a 'normal' blood pressure? (I've never asked the numbers before and just been happy knowing it was normal - not curious enough to need further info iykwim?) 100-130 / 60-80

2. What exactly do each of the numbers mean or stand for?
The top number is the pressure in the vessels when the heart contracts, the bottom number is when it released. Basically, its how hard your heart is working to push blood through the body. In pregnancy, the heart also has to perfuse the placenta, so a high BP is an indication of a placenta that isn't really working properly. I think.
3. Is 190 odd /140 odd really high, or just above normal? 190 is pretty high, I'd imagine your Ob would have hospitalised you. The 140 is so high that I'm assuming you missheard. Maybe 114 (which is still very high.)
4. Are both numbers as important as each other, or is the top or bottom one more 'important'? Both reasonably important.
5. Is there anything au natural I can do such as exercise or eating wise to try and reduce it? Not sure about this one!
6. Is there anything else I should learn about it or be aware of? Google pregnancy induced hypertension.

#8 SharkFish

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:48 PM

Thank you jayskette for the links - I will check them out. I've had a quick look and apparently anything with a bottom number above 120 is 'very high'. hmmmm.

ubermum - I kinda realise that, which is why I sorta feel silly for never being interested enough previously to ask what my 'normal' blood pressure is when I've had it taken at gp office or in hospital previously. Just been happy with the word normal.

annasue - thanks for that. I guess that makes me slightly concerned. As I said the look on his face said it all, before I even asked the question about what it was. I think I need to do some reading to find out what diastolic blood pressure means. I have to take the blood pressure medication and return to him next week - clearly I need to ask a few more questions! And yes, I'm definitely sure I heard him right, also I was looking at the machine the last couple of times and saw the numbers for myself. Do you have any links to any sources that state this should be the case for blood pressure this high (i.e admitted to hospital for testing and management), as if I can take some 'data' to him next week I'd like to discuss and understand the management of it better with my OB.

I feel rather well though - is that normal?

Thanks again for your responses.

#9 Chelara

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:53 PM

It's not good all, for anyone. It is possibly due to pregnancy but can be a sign of preeclampsia coupled with the headache it seems it could be. Did they get bloods and urine?

Hope the meds work for you and you have no lasting issues.

#10 SofaSpud

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:54 PM

Wow that is high, is there a chance you have got these numbers wrong? The 190 is very high but the 140 although possible, seems a little unlikely considering his treatment. In medicine there is no such thing as normal but blood pressure is treated these days whenever the top number is consistently greater than 140. The lower number should be lower than 90. A very basic explanation of what these numbers represent is the systolic, or top number, is the pressure within the arteries when the heart is contracting and the diastolic, or lower number, is the pressure within the arteries when the heart is relaxing. In early pregnancy your blood pressure is usually lower than usual, just as an example mine has been 100/60 whilst pregnant. Assuming those numbers you report are wrong, I wouldn't worry too much, so long as it won't be too long before your follow up appointment, give the meds a chance to work. However if those numbers are correct I'd have thought he'd send you to ED to find a cause, that would also explain your headache. Good luck.

#11 ubermum

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:57 PM

Systolic blood pressure (the higher number) is the blood pressure when the heart is contracted. Diastolic pressure (the lower number) is the blood pressure when the heart is relaxed. It is good that you are feeling well at the moment. I wouldn't be trying anything to change your blood pressure, I would be looking to your ob for direction. One thing you could do if you wanted is get yourself a cheap blood pressure machine for at home. That way you could keep an eye on it yourself. Sometimes, being at the doctor in itself can cause it to spike. Having some extra info to give your care provider about what is going on when you are at home and resting can only be of benefit. My father has to take his bp for his doctor at home for this very reason.

#12 SharkFish

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:58 PM

QUOTE (suline @ 05/04/2012, 07:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Im worried that your Ob didn't cover all these questions with you, if it is bad enough to start medication.

He should have at least discussed what your observations actually were, and what the implications this can have on your health and pregnancy! Hopefully you are seeing someone to monitor your BP while on medication.

Best wishes x


Thanks suline - he did give me the actual numbers, but to be honest I didn't think too much of it at the time. He did tell me some things, but to be honest I think I was a bit oblivious to the real importance of it all. He mainly talked about how it can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, and how I am at risk of that due to having Factor V Leiden, multiple pregnancy etc, but that it's too early at this stage to tell if it's pregnancy related (I think). I'm feeling now like the seriousness of it didn't quite sink in.

I am kicking myself now that I didn't pay more attention. To be honest I don't think I realised it was that big of a concern until I spoke to my mum (refer OP for her comment!). I trust my OB implicitly. I'm really thinking the things he told me just didn't 'sink in' until I spoke to my mum.

Ok, I'm concerned now. I'm off to dig out the OB's mobile number to call and discuss and ask more questions. I haven't called him out of hours before. Hopefully he has it on!

#13 MoonPie

Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:02 PM

QUOTE (TheNewMrsS @ 05/04/2012, 05:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks suline - he did give me the actual numbers, but to be honest I didn't think too much of it at the time. He did tell me some things, but to be honest I think I was a bit oblivious to the real importance of it all. He mainly talked about how it can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, and how I am at risk of that due to having Factor V Leiden, multiple pregnancy etc, but that it's too early at this stage to tell if it's pregnancy related (I think). I'm feeling now like the seriousness of it didn't quite sink in.

I am kicking myself now that I didn't pay more attention. To be honest I don't think I realised it was that big of a concern until I spoke to my mum (refer OP for her comment!). I trust my OB implicitly. I'm really thinking the things he told me just didn't 'sink in' until I spoke to my mum.

Ok, I'm concerned now. I'm off to dig out the OB's mobile number to call and discuss and ask more questions. I haven't called him out of hours before. Hopefully he has it on!

FvL and pre-eclampsia/pregnancy induced hypertension go hand in hand. If a clot develops in one of the umbillical arteries the blood pressure shoots up to compensate. I'm talking as an RN/mid student as well as someone who had FvL and PIH Tounge1.gif

#14 suline

Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:04 PM

Guidelines

These guidelines refer mostly to care post 20 weeks gestation, but toward the end the talk about "chronic" hypertension which would relate more to women diagnosed before 20 weeks.

You can feel healthy with a high BP - but you have also had a headache for a week, which is often a sign.

#15 meemee75

Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:05 PM

190 /140 is very high and irrespective of being pregnant anyone would be hospitalised due to the risk of stroke I would think , especially as a first time presentation..i know some long term  chronic hypertensive people probably walk around all day with a BP of this ohmy.gif


Honestly is much more likely it was 140/90  rather than 190/140 and maybe you misheard shrug.gif
I very much doubt your OB would medicate and let you walk out with a BP 190/14o.

Also pre eclampsia is pretty much unheard of before 20 weeks so if it is high  it unlikely to be that ( yet!) but essential hypertension maybe. Pregnancy related hypertension also doesn't present until after 20 weeks

It's the BP that is causing  the headache most probably...
Sounds lke he needs to communicate with you better and you need to start making sure you ask him questions ( and get answers ) at your appointments from now on.
Good Luck


Just saw your other post...scrap that original.gif

Edited by meemee75, 05 April 2012 - 08:08 PM.


#16 suline

Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:07 PM

Its hard to take it all in - I often have to write things down, to make sure I remember it all!

#17 Tamzin1984

Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:08 PM

I agree with ubermum's suggestion to get yourself a cheap blood pressure monitor so you can check it at home.  I think you can even hire them from pharmacies, or you can go into your pharmacy and they can check it for you.  I would probably get it done every day over the next few days.  
Is there any chance you may have done anything to artificially increase your blood pressure?  Had you just done a lot of exercise? Drunk a coffee or tea?  Were you stressed out because you were late for your appointment?  
'White coat hypertension' is pretty common, even in people who don't get nervous at the doctors.  I had an incidence where I had a routine check-up at the docs and my blood pressure was quite high when it had never been high before.  She got bloods taken and recommended I get my blood pressure checked at the pharmacy every week.  I never had another high reading.

#18 Soontobegran

Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:18 PM

OP, there is no way you'd have been allowed home with a BP of 190/140. You would have had immediate hospital admission.

If it was 140/90 it is still a little high so it would be good to know what your obststrician's plan of action is.
Good luck

#19 SharkFish

Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:51 PM

Cha-ching he answered first time. He said he felt I walked out of there not quite 'getting it'. In his defence he did ask me a couple of times at the end if I had any more questions.

Of the six times he took my bp during the appointment today it ranged from a highest reading 192/144 to a lowest reading 168/124 (he called it variable). Ok - I didn't quite get that bit today! He said it is definitely very high and hospital admission did cross his mind. However, as I was telling him I'd been feeling very anxious about going today and actually Tamzin1984 yes I was running late and rushing to get there he feels blood pressure medication (He also prescribed me clexane injections to start today - I knew that was coming today anyway prior to attending the appt) will likely resolve it.

Rebothy - he's explained the link between FVL and PIH again to me now. I seriously must have been on another planet at my appointment today I think.

I did make a follow up appt for Tuesday at the end of today's appt and he said in his mind if it was still that high on Tuesday definite hospital admission.

Anyway he is on call this weekend and has offered to see me at the hospital tomorrow morning to take bp again and go over everything again. I'm taking him up on his offer.  

Ladies - thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I realise now I've had a complete and utter brain fart today. I just can't believe I didn't 'get it'. I'm not normally so vague! I think half of what he told me today went in one ear and out the other. I'm normally really good at 'cross examining' dr's to make sure I understand. Anyway, without your replies I wouldn't have realised I needed to find out more and be sure! I'm just feeling rather silly right now - I'm not sure where my brain was today unsure.gif

#20 Soontobegran

Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:05 PM

I am sorry OP but I am really concerned for you...even if your doctor isn't sad.gif
A 'variable' blood pressure that ranges between 192/144 and 164/124 is almost an emergency situation that requires admission for a myriad of testing.

Anxiety will not put your diastolic blood pressure up to these levels. Anxiety most often effects the systolic reading.

To send you home with an appointment for next Tuesday, no medications, no blood screening, no nothing is quite frankly negligent. The fact that you are pregnant complicates this even more so.





#21 MoonPie

Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:05 PM

QUOTE (TheNewMrsS @ 05/04/2012, 06:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Cha-ching he answered first time. He said he felt I walked out of there not quite 'getting it'. In his defence he did ask me a couple of times at the end if I had any more questions.

Of the six times he took my bp during the appointment today it ranged from a highest reading 192/144 to a lowest reading 168/124 (he called it variable). Ok - I didn't quite get that bit today! He said it is definitely very high and hospital admission did cross his mind. However, as I was telling him I'd been feeling very anxious about going today and actually Tamzin1984 yes I was running late and rushing to get there he feels blood pressure medication (He also prescribed me clexane injections to start today - I knew that was coming today anyway prior to attending the appt) will likely resolve it.

Rebothy - he's explained the link between FVL and PIH again to me now. I seriously must have been on another planet at my appointment today I think.

I did make a follow up appt for Tuesday at the end of today's appt and he said in his mind if it was still that high on Tuesday definite hospital admission.

Anyway he is on call this weekend and has offered to see me at the hospital tomorrow morning to take bp again and go over everything again. I'm taking him up on his offer.  

Ladies - thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I realise now I've had a complete and utter brain fart today. I just can't believe I didn't 'get it'. I'm not normally so vague! I think half of what he told me today went in one ear and out the other. I'm normally really good at 'cross examining' dr's to make sure I understand. Anyway, without your replies I wouldn't have realised I needed to find out more and be sure! I'm just feeling rather silly right now - I'm not sure where my brain was today unsure.gif

You probably couldnt hear him over the pounding of blood in your ears Tounge1.gif

#22 SofaSpud

Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:08 PM

Don't be so hard on yourself, you are certainly not an idiot. I am usually very sharp but have found since being pregnant i can be very vague at times too. I'm glad you have a few answers now. Your OB sounds very nice. Good luck with it all.

#23 ollies-mum

Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:10 PM

Dont feel silly at all you did the right thing by calling him up. So glad to hear he is checking you again tomorrow. Goodluck.

#24 anotherid

Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:19 PM

QUOTE
I am sorry OP but I am really concerned for you...even if your doctor isn't  
A 'variable' blood pressure that ranges between 192/144 and 164/124 is almost an emergency situation that requires admission for a myriad of testing.

Anxiety will not put your diastolic blood pressure up to these levels. Anxiety most often effects the systolic reading.

To send you home with an appointment for next Tuesday, no medications, no blood screening, no nothing is quite frankly negligent. The fact that you are pregnant complicates this even more so.


Agreed.

I would present to the ED now. You need tests, medication and monitoring immediately.

And you need to find a new Ob.

#25 .Jerry.

Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:22 PM

As someone who had severe preeclampsia, please keep a close eye on your BP.  I bought a BP machine when I was pregnant.
As you are before 20 weeks, it may not be Preeclampsia, but if it is, it can be very very serious.

My BP was only 115/75 at OB appt on a Thursday.  EVen then my OB was a bit concerned as it had risen since last visit.  By Sunday my BP was 160/100 and I was hospitalised.  My baby was born prematurely.

Keep a close eye on that BP.  Hopefully your medication will work and you will just have controllable PIH.




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