by lories (66 Posts), Sat Jan 10, 2004 08:26 pm
Hi. I was hoping you all could help either put my mind at ease or give me some information. I'm 22 weeks pregnant and after having good bps all pregnancy (averaging about 115-120/70-80), I had a high bp reading last week. I had an extremely stressful morning: I'd had a lot of anxiety that morning about a big exam I was taking later that day, and was in a huge rush to get to the office. My bp at the beginning of the appt (I was also extremely hot and hadn't had enough to drink) was 144/80. The nurse got extremely worried about that, and her anxiety sent me panicking. The nurse practicioner came in, and the two of them started asking if I could still feel the baby and checking me for swelling, and I was absolutely terrified. My heart rate was through the roof and at the end of the appt my bp was higher than when I came in (although the bottom number stayed at 80). I was told to rest in bed the rest of that day and the next, and come in the next day to recheck my bp. Well, being as neurotic as I have been, I spent the entire day reading about high blood pressure in pregnancy, and got myself into an absolute panic about having pre-eclampsia, being particularly worried since I'm only 22 weeks. By the time the following evening came around I was convinced I was be sent straight to the hospital, was a wreck, and of course my bp was even higher. It was 160/80, briefly went down to 150/80 when I lay down, and then went back up a few minutes later. The np I saw that night was slightly less alarmed, given that I have no other symptoms of pre-eclampia (no swelling, good urine, no headaches, no pain, etc). I was sent home for three days of bed rest and she suggested I monitor my bps at home.
By the end of that night, my bp was already way down, varying between 110-135/65-85. Since then, I have been monitoring my bps rather obsessively, and I'm not sure what to think about what I'm finding. In the past four days, I've had one period of extreme anxiety (I have panic disorder), and my bp was up to 148/82. If I take my bp right after climbing the stairs, it is usually 130-140/80-85. When I change positions (laying down to sitting up), it goes up to around 130-135/75-80. But, in all of those cases, as soon as I calm down/settle down, it quickly drops, often getting down to 115/70 in a matter of minutes. In general, it has been staying around that level, and most of the day it is between 110-125/65-80. If I lay on my side, it can go down as far as 90/50, and in the morning it is pretty low, even sitting up, usually around 110/60.
Yes, this is insane, I realize. But, I'm really scared because I have a history of panic disorder, and have been having panic attacks while pregnant. I was NEVER warned that a high bp caused by anxiety could harm either me or the baby (instead I was reassured that panic attacks could not hurt either of us), and I'm still not sure if that's the case. I don't have a problem with chronic anxiety, and the vast majority of the time I am relaxed and calm, and my bp is at a totally normal level. But I do have panic attacks on a relatively regular basis, and I am very scared that either my bp will rise to a dangerous level during an attack and cause serious harm to the baby or me, or that the high bp during periods of anxiety will turn into pre-eclampsia.
Do you all know anything about this? Is high bp from panic/anxiety that comes down quickly once the person calms down a problem? I am working on handling my anxiety, and I think I'm doing a relatively good job of it. However, I do still have anxious periods and occasional panic attacks. Is it possible that bps elevated from a panic attack could cause serious harm or develop into pre-eclampsia? Or is the kind of high bp had in pre-eclampsia different from that had during a panic attack?
I'm also confused because I know bp fluctuates quite a bit during the day, but I'm not sure how much fluctuation is normal. Is a higher bp after periods of physical activity normal?
I guess I'm just looking for any feedback you all might have.