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wonky bloody pressure readings

(21 Posts)
Rootatoot Mon 20-Jun-11 12:14:21

So went to see GP for routine 31 week appointment this morning and BP was 150/101 or thereabouts. She did it 3 times and each reading was over 140. At my last MW appointment, I ended up referred to hospital Day Assmt Unit, and when they checked it was high but then 2 days later, completely normal.

I've had two midwives tell me that the electric BP monitors are totally inaccurate but that's all the GP has. Every time I have a reading with the electric one it seems to be high and then when they check with manual afresh, it's much better.

Just not sure how this is going to progress. Can see me ending up at the hospital every week because I can't get a 'normal' reading, or else maybe it is me and I just fluctuate hugely.

GP said she was going to ask MW to come check me at home but haven't heard anything so guess I ought to ring DAU later if I haven't had a call?

Anyone else had BP readings all over the place?

jamama Mon 20-Jun-11 12:30:53

The electric ones tend to be more variable than applying a cuff and listening for the return of blood movement, but are easier to use than the old-fashioned way, and therefore slightly less error-prone iyswim. I find I often measure higher at the GPs than if I use my SIL's monitor at her house, this is a common iatrogenic problem. Probably once you sit at the hospital you calm down and bp settles accordingly.
The systolic bp is high but not dramatically, but the diastolic (bottom no) is more of a worry. If the MW doesn't call you, I think I'd call her directly and talk this over with her, get an idea of whether she's concerned or not.

Rootatoot Mon 20-Jun-11 12:36:43

Thanks jamama for the info - yes was thinking if I don't hear anything I had best ring and try to speak to MW, though I think I just get answerphone during the day confused.

doughnutty Mon 20-Jun-11 12:52:13

I had a similar thing last week (39 wks). MW took my bp on an electronic monitor and it was high. Sent me to hospital that afternoon where the staff nurse made it clear she thought my mw had messed up by using the wrong size cuff. I needed a large one apparently. And it did make a difference.
Maybe you need to check that too.

Rootatoot Mon 20-Jun-11 12:55:28

dougnutty - yes, they did a large cuff last time at hospital (not that I am that large) but it does make a diff. They don't have a large cuff at GPs though, so I'm thinking whenever I get a check there, it's going to be high. Can just see me running up to hospital every week from here on. sad

hubbahubster Mon 20-Jun-11 16:53:55

My midwife insists on doing a reading before she's had a listen to my baby's heartbeat for some reason – which always results in a bottom-number reading of about 100 for me! Once I've listened to baby doing his thing, it goes down to around 85 (mine's always a bit high even when I'm not pregnant). It really does depend a lot on how you're feeling, what you're thinking about, even whether you're talking while the reading's being taken. Practise some nice deep breathing and it should come back lower.

Not sure if that helps much, but hope it does a bit!

Rootatoot Mon 20-Jun-11 17:19:03

Thanks hubbahubster. MW is going to check me tomorrow at home, which is nice (saves a trek to hospital and parking charges!) I honestly don't feel anxious going to doctors but I do hate the electric BP monitor, as it is so tight it is very uncomfortable so perhaps I subconsciously tense up.

I just don't want to end up having to go up to the hospital every time they check my BP. But perhaps, worse, end up thinking it's just the usual 'odd' reading when there really is a problem. I suppose I need to just be alert about swelling/headaches etc. too.

I shouldn't complain too much, as I know I've had an easy pregnancy so far compared to many, just finding this BP thing a bit of a pest & don't want to end up with last minute problems I suppose.

Nanny01 Mon 20-Jun-11 17:52:24

yes can only add I have a problem with the electric machines. Our practice nurse cave up after 3 attempts and did it with a manual one then I got a normal reading.

GothMummy Mon 20-Jun-11 20:35:56

i am having the same problems, spent 3 days hospital last week (sent in for monitoring, then sent home to see midwife the next day, then sent back to hospital and kept in over night) and today I narrowly escaped being sent back to hospital. My reading was high with the machine but acceptable with the manual cuff, its always lower with the manual. And in the hospital they used a larger cuff which gave a lower reading.

Im very frustrated, due on Wednesday and scared about being kept in hospital because I really hated it and couldnt stop crying!

Rootatoot Mon 20-Jun-11 20:51:28

oh gothmummy sorry you've had to stay in hospital. This is what I'm worrying about but I've got 9 weeks left. It's so annoying if it isn't a genuinely high reading as it'd be much better for you to be at home feeling relaxed BUT then again, if it IS high, then it's important that they keep an eye on it. This is what is so frustrating, I don't know what to think about mine going forward. confused

Not long now though for you and your LO will be in your arms. xox

Rootatoot Tue 21-Jun-11 11:13:52

Well MW has just been (it's the one I really like again - phew!) Bp is better than yesterday but she's still not happy with it, so it's back up to hospital for monitoring this afternoon. Quite glad really as baby has not been very lively this morning at all. I hate all this pregnancy worrying.

How are you today gothmummy?

perrinelli Tue 21-Jun-11 12:45:33

Am with you about the machines - I had the situation of dr's putting me on blood pressure medication on the basis of some slightly high readings (and prob also due to high BP in last pregnancy) but luckily one dr saw sense and realised whenever they did repeat readings it always came down (note to all - ask lots of questions if put on Methyldopa as side effects can be horrible!).

Best thing I ever did was invest in an Omron machine to have at home (£15 from Amazon - bargain!) as it is always lower when I am relaxed in my own environment. I think I subconciously get a bit anxious when talking to health professionals!

I also now go to the day unit for BP monitoring twice a week and have a BP profile where you sit in a comfy chair and they do 4 readings 10 minutes apart. I try to relax and take along a book. Whenever they do an individual reading in the GP or consultant clinic it's always high so the BP profile for me or doing it at home is much more accurate. I prefer to have scheduled appointments at the Day Unit than go to GP and get referred there unexpectedly.

GothMummy Tue 21-Jun-11 17:19:17

Hi, Im OK thanks. In my last pregnancy I was having a homebirth so the midwives did all my bp readings at home and they were much lower. Just being in the doctors surgery or hospital makes them high. I cant have a home birth this time due to some other possible complications, and Im pretty fed up because I think that my BP readings are just always going to be high now as Im anxious about it.

Im going back to the MW tomorrow and she said she will send me back to hospital if she isnt happy about my BP. I was so anxious about my son and getting him looked after when I was told I had to stay in hospital sad

Rootatoot Tue 21-Jun-11 17:29:28

Well I saw MW this morning who wasn't happy with my BP still so I've been up at hospital for checks this afternoon. They monitored baby (he's fine) but my BP readings were all still up, though had come down a bit. The MW at hospital said it was time I went to see consultant and it will be up to him whether they put me on medication. perrinelli what should I ask about Methyldopa? Everyone who has checked BP so far seems to have a different opinion on what is a problem and whether electric monitor is ok or large cuff is ok (if not technically needed for large arm!)

Seeing consultant in morning and they've done blood tests for pre eclampsia too.

GothMummy I know where you're coming from about having high readings because you are anxious about having high readings! vicious circle. Good luck with MW tomorrow. Hope you can stay home and it'll all be ok.

I've got parents coming to visit tomorrow. House is a tip, no food in....oh well. They'll have to help out instead of being waited on for a change - MW says I need to rest!

perrinelli Tue 21-Jun-11 18:55:28

Hi there Rootatoot, sorry to hear your readings are up - is your urine clear? It's a good sign if you don't have protein in your urine. If the consultant talks about meds I would just ask them to explain the possible side effects and start on the minimum dose to see how it goes. Methyldopa can cause fatigue and feeling low, I felt really drowsy & depressed on it and didn't feel able to do anything apart from lie on the sofa (ok in first preg but tricky this time with a 3yo!) but obviously everyone is different - a google tho gives the impression this is quite common. Labetolol i think is also commonly used and is a beta blocker. Think it's generally better tolerated but can cause headaches.

Maybe also google the NICE guidelines on treatment of pregnancy induced hypertension & pre-eclampsia?

Personally if BP is only mildly high like less than 149/99 and no other symptoms of pre-eclampsia then I would ask whether it's ok not to go straight on meds but just keep an eye on it BUT this is just me and obviously you need to ask what the risks are of the blood pressure and weigh this up with the dr. They should also look at what your bp was at your booking in appt to see what's normal for you. It's just about making an informed decision really! ( and think I am a bit scarred by experience with one particular dr who was too quick to prescribe & unsympathetic about side effects!). Hope it goes well and ultimately it's good they're keeping an eye on you.

jamama Tue 21-Jun-11 19:20:16

This is a useful link to current clinical guidelines on treatment of hypertension in pregnancy and attempting to prevent pre-eclampsia
Don't worry about your parents visiting - they, just like your MW and Drs, want what is best for you & your baby, sod cleaning and grocery shopping!
I hope that your consultant appointment goes well - and that you and baby are doing well.

Rootatoot Tue 21-Jun-11 20:40:35

Thanks so much perrinelli and jamama That's really useful - I know I'm tired and feeling a bit down today cos I started welling up at you both being kind! blush

I have been generally under 149/99 but yesterday bottom figure went to 101. Top figure has come down today. Urine is clear, thanks, yes and haven't had any other signs of PE, like headaches and swelling. They did bloods today too to check and haven't rung to say there is a prob, so fingers crossed consultant won't be too quick to put me on tablets. I'm not keen unless really necessary.

You're right of course, it is a good thing that they are keeping an eye on me, I think I am just mindful of women I know locally who had horrible EMCS due to v high bp and hoping that won't be me.

I just did an online grocery shop - so that has at least saved me trudging around supermarket, though took longer to do online than to go in person!

Going to watch telly in bed now I think, seeing as I've been told to rest. Baby has perked up tonight, nice big kicks for first time in a couple days. Was good to see he was all ok on monitor today too.

Rootatoot Wed 22-Jun-11 10:03:13

Well I'm now under consultant led care and they're going to check BP twice a week plus I've got the lovely Methyldopa tablets to start. sad Feeling bit fed up but I suppose it's for the best that they are keeping an eye on things.

On the up side, baby is very very jolly today, kicking away. He was having me on yesterday 'hiding'.

perrinelli Wed 22-Jun-11 18:06:51

Sorry to hear you're fed up and hope the meds agree with you ok, I'm sure you'll find your bp will come down now which will hopefully make things less stressful. Feet up on the sofa and lots of telly!

Rootatoot Wed 22-Jun-11 22:22:16

Thanks perri. Feeling bit better about things this evening. Haven't got prescription yet so will prob start pills tomorrow. Bit nervous but hopefully will sort the BP as that is the main thing as you say. At least I'm getting good care and no signs of pre eclampsia at the mo. I've just been v lucky that I've been so well until now, so it came as a bit of a shock to hit a problem. There are lots of women having much much harder time than me I know, so I'll try and be positive and stop whinging!

Rootatoot Thu 23-Jun-11 21:45:03

Well, just started my methyldopa tablets tonight. Sitting here wondering if I'll start with horrid side effects in a day or two. Going for BP check in the morning. Think I need to stop thinking about pregnancy for a bit - had a bit of an OMG 8 weeks to's all getting a bit 'real' moment earlier! I think perris suggestion of crap telly is a winner.

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