September 21, 2009,
S.L. asks from Boise, ID on September 16, 2009
What Does Low Blood Pressure Feel Like?
Most people will just tell me that low blood pressure doesn't have symptoms, and that it means I'm healthy.
But yesterday at my OB appointment, my blood pressure was really low, 100/43. WebMD says that if either number is less than 90/60, it's considered low. The nurse went on and on about how great that was, and read back to me my past BP's. Two weeks ago it was higher, not low enough to qualify as low. And before that (and as usual) it was 120/80 (that's my norm). I couldn't belive the nurse was so happy about it being so low. I said, "yeah, as long as I don't pass out!" She said, "as long as you're feeling fine."
So I thought it was interesting that I have been feeling awful. I'm not one to psych myself into feeling a certain way, so I don't think it's psychosomatic. Last night, I could NOT concentrate. It took me 30 minutes to mix biscuit dough. And I couldn't focus on what my kids were saying. It all sounded like really annoying background static. Speaking of static, I told my hsuband that it felt like my brain was tuned to a snowy channel. I was also very weak and tired, so much that my husband took the kids out to a movie so I could rest.
I feel a little better today, but still a little "snowy" in the brain, and not much energy. I'm used to a little of that because I have fibromyalgia, but this is WAY worse! I can hardly function!
Could it be the low blood pressure, or is it just another "you're pregnant and there's nothing for it" symptom?
So What Happened?™
Thanks, everyone. I'm not so worried about it anymore thanks to your repsonses. It just seems like my sudden super-tiredness coincided with the low BP. I have fibromyalgia, so I'm used to the fuzzy brain, body aches, and fatigue, but this was BAD. Nothing like the usual.
If it's just from not getting enough rest, I don't know how I'll fix that. i'll have to overhaul my life, because I'm already behind big-time on housework and getting ready for the baby. It's all so complicated with fibromyalgia! Since I always feel tired, i sort of ignore feeling tired, so I don't always get enough rest.
I've been trying to drink more and added some extra salt. I haven't felt as bad as I did that one night, so I guess it's working!
M.H. answers from Denver on September 17, 2009
I can't say if yours is a problem or not, but I will say that your "low" blood pressure is my "normal"... and when I was pregnant, it was even lower than that. I started doing a lot of research on it because the only symptom I have is that I can't get up too fast - or I am dizzy. When I was younger I used to pass out a lot, but not since I have been an adult.
So anyway my research yielded that the medical community has decided that nothing is considered "low" blood pressure any more - NOTHING (which I find weird) and like you, the nurses were happy with me talking about how great my seemingly insanely low blood pressure was when I was pregnant. At one point I was left wondering... well how low, exactly, can low go? I can't remember how low it got, but I gave up worrying about it. I think maybe at one point they told me the top number shouldn't go under 70. Something crazy.
Can't say for sure, but with 2 kids and being pregnant you are probably tired and need rest!!
E.T. answers from Denver on September 17, 2009
As one of the other ladies noted, some people normally have low blood pressure. All of the women in my family tend to have blood pressure on the low side. As a young woman, my mother's blood pressure was so low that she should have been dying or dead -- they always took her pressure 5 or 6 times. But my mom always felt fine.
My blood pressure is usually @ 90/60, and occasionally it dropped for no reason when I was pregnant. I usually just laid down and tried to rest. I also occasionally get low blood sugar if I'm not sensible about my eating, and eat too much sugar or carbs without anything else. It only happened once or twice when I was pregnant because I was so conscientious about eating well.
When that is severe, I get really woozy/confused and nauseated with the cold sweats. The best solution is to eat or drink something with with sugar in it like OJ to deal wth the immediate symptoms. Then quickly follow it up with protein (or fats if you can't get protein) to make sure that you don't have another blood sugar drop.
A.C. answers from Colorado Springs on September 17, 2009
I have low blood sugar & have the same symptoms. I too get foggy brain when I'm pregnant, but I think what you're describing is more than that. Start writing down your symptoms & when you have them, so you can take it to the doc & say "see, this is a pattern & a real problem for me". Hubby can't take the kids to the movies every night & won't be there to help you all day long. Hopefully they can do something to help you!
L.C. answers from Denver on September 17, 2009
I've been having the same problem, feeling sick,and very light headed. When the nurse took my blood pressure at my last OB appt she said it was 100/60, looking good. Well, I'm usually at 120/80 every appt. When I actually went in to see my OB and mentioned the whole dizzy and out of it feeling, she said it was because my blood pressure was lower. Not low on the dangerous end, just low for what my body is used to, and it can happen about this spot in the pregnancy. So it probably is the low blood pressure, unfortunatly nothing to do but just rest when you can. But I know exactly what you feel like as far as being so loopy and you can't focus.
J.F. answers from Denver on September 17, 2009
I think it is just your pregnancy... if there was something wrong they would tell you.
My BP is always in the 90's and I am 39 weeks prego.
They say it is great.
I am of course tired and sometimes fuzzy, but I assume that is just baby stuff. My other pregnancy was the same way. AND when I am not prego my BP is still lower than normal. My docs all say it is good... so just be happy you aren't on the other end and have to deal with preeclampsia and what not.
M.K. answers from Provo on September 17, 2009
I have had low blood pressure my whole life. Usually I am fine. I'm very active and it doesn't usually hinder any of the activities I like to do: running, swimming, biking, climbing, wakeboarding, for example. Sometimes though it drops really low and I have to be careful about fainting. If I stand up too fast I get dizzy and can possibly faint. I also have noticed that on days that are bad if I take a hot shower in the morning it's dangerous. I have found that eating something salty really helps me. I also get low blood sugar sometimes and orange juice helps for that.
You are pregnant (I thought I gathered that from your description). Your body is making a lot of extra blood. The first thing it does is make the plasma part, then the red blood cells have to catch up. This effects your blood pressure. Totally normal, but can cause dizziness.
I have never really noticed not being able to focus as one of my symptoms from low blood pressure, so you might want to consider a combination of things.
I do have a hard time focusing when my blood sugar is really low, i also get cranky.
I also get EXTREMELY tired, fatigued, and foggy brained when I am pregnant. Especially for the first 20 weeks. I get so tired it really is hard to do anything at all and focusing is difficult. I feel like a am mentally constantly pushing through sludge. I don't know if it is connected with my low blood pressure I never thought of linking the two. I just thought it was a symptom of pregnancy. (That's the number one way I know I am pregnant, it's like pressing an instant tired button). Try to get as much rest as possible, see if that helps. I mean you are growing a whole other human being, that is taxing on the body!
You could also consider being checked for anemia. That can be common during pregnancy and it will definitely make you more tired.
One other thing to just consider is depression which can also develop during pregnancy. Tiredness, and inability to focus ARE symptoms. Usually though to get a diagnosis of depression you would also have to have feelings of prolonged sadness and loss of self esteem, etc.
You know your body. If you are getting a lot of rest, eating well and you still feel concerned about your health consider talking to your doctor about it. (not the nurse)
K.D. answers from Provo on September 17, 2009
There's normal, healthy blood pressure, and then there's low blood pressure. While we should all strive to have ours on the low healthy side, if it's too low then your body isn't getting the oxygen it needs because it's like trying to water a garden with a hose that has no water pressure behind it -- the water just dribbles out.
What you describe is exactly how I felt with my last pregnancy. I didn't have low blood pressure, but I did have low iron (it was borderline, so they hadn't brought it up with me, but I live at high altitude so borderline is really low). Call your docs office and tell the nurse how you're feeling. Ask her to check with the doc and see if iron supplements might be necessary (They made a world of difference with me!). Good luck!
M.G. answers from Salt Lake City on September 17, 2009
Low blood pressure is completely normal during pregnancy!!!
C.T. answers from Denver on September 18, 2009
Hi S. - I'm glad you're feeling more calm about this. :) I was curious so I googled your question and I found this article - it was pretty informative so I thought I would share it with you.
Congratulations on your growing family!!
T.W. answers from Denver on September 21, 2009
Call you doc! It is probably just a pregnant thing since that seems to account for a ton of odd things. I have VERY low blood pressure always and I never have those symptoms. I do know though that with my third baby, I was soooo tired I couldn't hardly move. I think it was because I was older, not sure.
Good luck and congrats!
S.M. answers from Colorado Springs on September 18, 2009
yes i hade a problem simaler to this but i was put on bp meds after i hade my son and my bp went so low i could not function i would go to your family doc and let him know whats going on he/she may be able to help you with what ever may be going on.
H.C. answers from Denver on September 16, 2009
What you described could also be dehydration so make sure you are getting plenty of fluids and electrolytes.
Second, your ongoing blood pressure isn't low enough to cause symptoms. My blood pressure is usually just above 90/60 and I have never had any symptoms.
The symptoms of low blood pressure would be dizziness and possibly fainting.
You could be just worrying too much but if you are concerned then you should talk to your doctor. Pregnancy can cause low blood pressure but it doesn't sound like yours is getting low enough to be concerned about. Good luck!
K.M. answers from Denver on September 17, 2009
I'm not a doctor but when my blood pressure has been low, I don't feel anything at all. Sounds to me like something else. . . are you pregnant? That might explain it!
J.N. answers from Salt Lake City on September 17, 2009
My blood pressure likes to hang out around 102/60 or so... I have been as low as 98/56 and still been allowed to donate blood/platelets. I know they are super careful about not letting you donate if it's not safe (like 1 point low on hematocrit or blood pressure, etc) so I figure it's okay and just what my body does.
I do get light headed if I stand up to fast, especially from an inverted position like in Yoga. I just have to be more careful and stand up more slowly, but that's it. As long as you don't feel light-headed most of the time, I would say you're okay. WebMD tends to go with the "average" and sometimes people's bodies are outside that and still ok. If you're concerned, ask the Doctor next time (not just the nurse) but he'll probably say you're ok.
G.P. answers from Boise on September 17, 2009
In pregnancy it is high blood pressure that they usually worry about, that is probably why the nurse was so excited that it is low. My experience with low blood pressure is to feel light headed and dizzy which puts you in a bit of a fog. If you are concerned by your symptoms, go to the doctor, or at least call and let them know your symptoms and they can decide if you should be seen. I never take anything for granted when pregnant. Better to be safe than sorry.
M.H. answers from Denver on September 17, 2009
I have always low blood pressure even pregnant and my doctors have never been concerned. Just as others have mentioned before it is high blood pressure that is concerning, but not low. The symptoms that you were feeling could have come from somwhere else... being tired, low sugar, being dehydrated... But the 100/43 doesn't seem that low (I am not a doctor).
L.I. answers from Denver on September 17, 2009
I too, have very low blood pressure and had many low BP readings during my pregnancy that made me wonder. Yes the nurses, because they're always on the look out for high BP, will compliment you on it during your regular pre-natal visits. I live at 8,600 feet so I would often feel faint when I got up too quickly and when I was tired, I was really, really slow and dim-witted. Staying hydrated was super important for minimizing my symptoms and believe it or not, salt is actually good for you at this time. So if you like salt, use it liberally. Always be conscientious when you go from a sitting to standing position. As you get further along, you may feel so light-headed upon rising that you will have to grab onto something to keep from falling. My husband would often help me off the couch (late-term) and hold onto me while I acclimated. It's very scary to feel like you're going to topple when you're pregnant. With younger children, you're often playing on the floor, so devise a way to get up slowly and use it consistently. There is no med for low BP, it really is good thing but you have to manage certain activities. If you haven't been put on iron supplements, ask your doctor if they might be helpful in combating the tiredness and weakness you are experiencing. because of the altitude I live at and border-line anemia, I took iron during my pregnancies and they did help with that general sluggishness.
One last thing, I ended up in C-section w/ my last child (not because of my BP) and when the anesthesia was administered, I had a BP crash and it was really, really awful feeling for a few minutes before they took the action to elevate my BP (via IV). Make sure that if you end up on the operating table that the anesthesiologist knows you have significantly low BP, so they can be ready for that scenario.
Best wishes for a great third term and smooth delivery!