Blood pressure is an excellent indicator of overall health in adults. Often, people who have a blood pressure that is too high have a serious problem that they need to fix, and blood pressure is an excellent indicator for doctors, as it clues them into that problem. However, babies do not have a consistent blood pressure, and while it’s important to know, it certainly does not indicate the health of the baby in a single reading. Since a baby’s body is still developing rapidly after birth, there really is very little regulation in general. The digestive, nervous, and motor systems are all volatile until this rapid development has ceased. You might be wondering why the doctor even checks then. In many cases, a high blood pressure is just an indication of external factors. For example, a baby who has been crying might have a high blood pressure because the heart was beating more rapidly. The normal resting blood pressure for a baby should be around 64/41.

If your baby’s blood pressure is abnormally high at an appointment, the pediatrician probably won’t even be fazed. He will make note of it, but will continue checking vital signs. If the blood pressure is high again at the following appointment, the pediatrician will become slightly more concerned, and he will finally decide to run tests if it is still high at the third. It really takes a few readings to know a baby’s resting blood pressure since external factors can be so influential. If the pediatrician does decide that the baby’s blood pressure is too high or too low for his or her age and weight, he will try to find the disorder that is causing it and treat that. Treating the blood pressure alone would be palliative.

Your baby’s blood pressure is not exactly an accurate or consistent predictor of his or her overall health. However, one recent study did show that your baby’s birth weight might be correlated with his or her blood pressure later in life. In the results of the study, babies that were heavier when they were born usually had a higher blood pressure as adults.

If you’re concerned about baby’s blood pressure, set up a few appointments with the pediatrician at different times in the day, so he or she can really see what your baby’s consistent blood pressure is.  Then, you can both decide where to go from there.

Source: Sadoh Ibhanesehbor et al: Predictors of Newborn Systolic Blood Pressure. West African Journal of Medicine Volume 29 Issue 2 pp. 86-90 2010