Dizziness During Pregnancy: Causes and Prevention
Dizziness or feeling faint is a normal symptom during pregnancy. It is more common in the first trimester, but you may experience it throughout your pregnancy.
What causes dizziness during pregnancy?
The main cause of dizziness in pregnancy is due to the rising hormones that cause your blood vessels to relax and widen. This helps increase the blood flow to your baby, but it slows the return of the blood in the veins to you. This causes your blood pressure to be lower than usual, which can reduce the blood flow to your brain, temporarily causing dizziness.
Dizziness is also caused by low blood sugar levels that may occur as your body adapts to changes in your metabolism. Women who are anemic or who have varicose veins may be more susceptible to dizziness than others. During the second trimester, dizziness may be caused because your growing uterus puts pressure on blood vessels.
Dizziness may also occur later in your pregnancy if you lie on your back, allowing the weight of the baby to press on your vena cava (a large vein that carries blood from your lower body to your heart).
How can I prevent dizziness when you are pregnant?
There are a number of tips you can follow to reduce the frequency of dizziness during your pregnancy.
Here are some helpful suggestions to reduce dizziness:
- Avoid standing for long periods. If you must stand, make sure that you keep your feet moving to help increase circulation
- Get up slowly from either sitting or lying down (this is especially important when you are getting out of the bath)
- Eat regularly. Avoid long periods between meals; it is better to snack throughout the day
- Avoid hot baths or showers
- Avoid lying on your back once you reach the middle of your second trimester
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing to avoid restricting circulation
What do to do if you feel faint when you are pregnant?
There are a few steps you can follow to help relieve the feeling that you are going to faint. It is common to faint during pregnancy, so be cautious.
Here are some helpful suggestions:
- Avoid getting up quickly from sitting or lying down positions. This is a common reason for dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting.
If you feel faint, try the following things:
- sit or lie down and lower your head
- take deep breaths
- loosen any tight clothing
- open windows and move towards circulating air
- eat foods rich in iron
When to contact your health care provider:
You should contact your health care provider immediately if your dizziness is accompanied by vaginal bleeding and/or pain in your abdomen. This could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy, a low-lying placenta, or placental abruption.
You should also contact your health care provider immediately if you have persistent dizziness or dizziness accompanied by blurred vision, headaches, or palpitations. This may be a symptom of severe anemia or some other illness that could have a negative effect on your pregnancy.
Last Updated: 07/2015
Compiled using information from the following source:
Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy Harms, Roger W., M.D., et al, Part 3.