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Why is it important to check blood pressure during pregnancy?
Some women may develop either high or low blood pressure during pregnancy. A high blood pressure often needs to be monitored more closely during pregnancy. Your blood pressure will be checked at each antenatal appointment. Your Consultant may ask that you check your blood pressure at home and will provide a blood pressure machine for you to do this.
When will you be asked to take your blood pressure?
• On the morning of your clinic appointment if you have normal blood pressure
• Once a week if you are at higher risk of getting high blood pressure
• One to three times a week if you have high blood pressure
Check with your midwife or doctor how often they would like you to monitor your blood pressure.
How to check your blood pressure
• Always measure your blood pressure using the same arm (normally the left arm).
• Wear loose clothing with sleeves that roll up easily and do not feel tight when rolled up (you will need to fit the cuff onto your bare arm) or take your arm out of the clothing.
• Sit on a chair with your back supported and both feet flat on the floor. Rest for five minutes before beginning to take blood pressure readings.
• Slip the cuff onto your arm so that the air tube points towards your wrist.
• Adjust the bottom edge of the cuff so that it is about 2cm above the inside of the elbow joint.
• Tighten the cuff around the arm and secure using the Velcro.
• Rest your arm on a table or across your lap with your hand slightly open and the palm facing upward.
• Once the machine is set up and you have the cuff in the correct position, and you are ready to start, press the start button on the front of the machine to take a reading.
Try to relax and not move your arm whilst taking your blood pressure. It is best to not talk whilst taking your blood pressure. Each time you measure your blood pressure you will get two readings:
• The top number (usually called SYS, short for systolic). This number measures the pressure of blood pushed out of the heart.
• The bottom number of your blood pressure, (usually called DIA, short for diastolic). This number measures the pressure your blood pressure between heartbeats.
• You may also get the pulse displayed, usually called PUL.
Measure your blood pressure twice, at least one minute apart and follow the Blood Pressure. Thresholds (please see below).
There is a process of follow up for taking blood pressure if you are using the HaMpton app. However, if you are not using the app, then please record the blood pressure reading in an accessible place to inform your healthcare professional when they call you for remote appointment.
Blood Pressure Thresholds for self-monitoring