FAYE NORMAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FAYE NORMAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blood pressure in pregnancy. A pregnant woman has her blood pressure measured by a general practice doctor. The instrument used is a sphygmomanometer. A blue cuff is inflated around the upper arm to stop blood flow in the main artery. The cuff is then slowly deflated: first to record systolic pressure of the pumping heart; then to record diastolic pressure of the relaxed heart between pumps. Blood pressure is expressed as a difference between these two measurements, in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). Blood pressure varies over the day, but is an important measure of bodily health. Pregnant woman normally have a raised blood pressure.
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