Dizziness during Pregnancy

During your pregnancy you might feel quite disorienting, a feeling of unsteadiness also called as vertigo. Vertigo can make pregnant women feel as feel they will faint or fall, sometime they really do. But it generally doesn’t mean something is incorrect and there is usually nothing to worry when you experience such condition. It is pretty normal and quite common during pregnancy and there are some steps that you can follow to avoid feeling dizzy. This is what this article is going to be about.

This health condition is very common to happen during your first trimester, although it can occur anytime during the entire pregnancy. It is in most cases because of the drop in blood pressure due to hormones which your body is releasing during your pregnancy that causes your body’s blood vessels to relax. Very little amount of blood will then be pumped up to the brain, when it happens, you will lose your consciousness and faint. Fainting is not hazardous to you or to your baby except when you fall and hurt yourself.

It is very common to occur during the early stage of pregnancy since your body is preparing up to meet the demands of two bodies and in the early stage of your pregnancy your body is not yet generating sufficient blood to supply a speedily growing circulatory system.

dizziness-during-pregnancy

Image source : Flickr by Satish Krishnamurthy shared under CC BY 2.0

Causes of dizziness during pregnancy

  • Anyone can be anemic but it is most common to pregnant women. A person who is suffering from anemia usually feels lightheaded due to lesser red blood cells to transport to the brain and all other organs. It is very important to take your prenatal vitamins regularly because it will help your body produce  red blood cells but if prenatal vitamins are not helping, you have to consult your doctor so he or she may recommend you extra iron supplement.
  • Hunger and thirst. If you are not eating enough nutritious foods and drinking enough fluids you might developed a low blood levels of sugar and become dehydrated which will cause you to feel dizzy. Note that you need to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
  • Some pregnant women who engage themselves in excessive exercise reported that it makes them feel lightheaded. Exercise is very important during pregnancy but you have to be very careful in choosing the kind of exercise you will do. It is not safe to overstress your body when pregnant especially during your third trimester.
  • Many pregnant women who are at their third trimester finding it hard to tolerate heat. Many women cannot stay in a hot area or hot room. Others cannot take a hot shower. The best way to combat this issue is to dress in layers so it will be easier for you to remove clothing once you begin to feel warm. You can also add some fans or install an air conditioning in your room to help keep your cool.
  • Lying on back. While your baby is growing, the growing uterus also causes the blood circulation slows down in your leg area by compressing the veins that returns blood from your lower half of the body to your heart. This causes your blood rate drop and increases your heart rate. Many pregnant women reposted that it makes them feel dizzy and sometimes nauseous when they are lying on their back. Therefore, lying on your back is not the kind of position recommended to you when you are pregnant. Rather, the most ideal position for reading, sleeping, or watching television is lying on your side specifically on your left side and not on your back. If you feel it is difficult to remain lying on the side, you can try to place a pillow under your hip or behind which can make it more comfortable.
  • Standing up too fast. After sitting and lying down for a long time, the blood begins to merge in the lower extremities. Suddenly standing up often causes a feeling of dizziness. Make sure to avoid sudden movements when you are pregnant. When sitting down or lying down too long try to stand up slowly to avoid dizziness.
  • Pregnancy hormones. During the early stage of your pregnancy, your body is producing more progesterone. This hormone has the ability to lower the blood pressure which causes the blood vessels to open. Blood vessels are extra open during pregnancy to help increase the blood flow all over the body. A low blood pressure can really make someone feel dizzy and can even make someone faint.

How to prevent dizziness during pregnancy?

There are several ways to avoid or reduce the frequency of feeling dizzy during pregnancy. follow the helpful suggestions below:

Pregnancy week by week
  1. Make sure that you are eating the right amount and quality of food. And most importantly, make sure that you are eating at the right time. Do not or never skip a meal, instead it is recommended that you eat more frequently during the day and avoid a very long periods between each meal. It is smart to always carry healthful snacks like a piece of fruit, a small box of raisins, wheat crackers and a bottle of water.
  2. Do not stand for a long periods and when you are standing, make sure that your feet are alternately moving to maintain the blood circulation.
  3. When lying or sitting down, make sure that you are not jumping out or standing up suddenly, but do it slowly or gradually. This is more specifically important when you are getting out of the bath tub.
  4. Avoid taking hot showers or baths. Plan to take a cold bath or shower instead.
  5. Avoid lying down on your back especially when you are at your third trimester. When pregnant, your growing uterus can press on your vena cava, the main vein that transports blood back to your heart from the lower body part which will interfere with ideal blood circulation. This can be avoided if you are lying on your side, particularly on the left side.
  6. Wear comfortable clothing to avoid restriction in blood circulation. Avoid wearing tight clothes, hats, and scarves. Put on layered clothes so it would be easy for you to shed off some clothes once you start feeling overheated.
  7. Make sure that you are eating foods that are rich in iron to supplicate your blood.
  8. Drink enough water and fluids throughout the day. Note that dizziness can be a sign of dehydration, so it is best to set a goal of drinking at least eight glasses of water and other fluids like natural fruit juices and soups.
  9. Avoid becoming overheated. During summer, it would help a lot if you keep your windows open and stay where the air is circulating. Avoid being in a overheated indoor space like stores, office, and bus.
  10. Take your prenatal vitamins or supplements as directed by your health provider.
  11. Avoid stress. Like stressful exercises and even stressful situations.

How to treat dizziness during pregnancy?

The previous lists are about how to avoid dizziness during pregnancy while the following lists will be about what you should do when you are actually at the moment of feeling dizzy. You can stop feeling dizzy in many different ways but first you must identify what made you dizzy. But the very first thing you should do once you feel dizzy is:

  • Slow down.
  • Get up slowly and smoothly, instead of suddenly springing up from bed or chair.
  • Sit or lie down to avoid falling over. This is very important since falling can bring you and your baby a more serious injury.

Here are some of the most common reasons of feeling dizzy and the remedies that you can do or give yourself:

  1. Low blood sugar or Hypoglycemia. Your blood sugar does decline when you skip or delay a meal, do extreme exercise, drink alcoholic beverages, or eat very little. These you should strive to avoid because low blood sugar does not just cause dizziness but it also has many negative effects for the development of your baby. What you should do?
    1. The instant that you feel lightheaded consume food that have a sugar like fruit juices, candy, or chocolate. This will immediately recuperate the low blood sugar.
    2. Consume light snacks like fruits and crackers. Make sure to take in between meals aside from having your three large meals such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  2. Dizziness due to anemia. Anemia can be developed if you are lack or insufficient of iron, folate, and vitamin B12. The baby inside your womb demands its supply of iron, which he or she can obtain only through you. If you are anemic, you will definitely feel dizzy because your body will lack of enough red blood cells to transport the oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body. What you can do?
    1. Make sure that you are consuming foods that are rich in iron, folic acid and other essential vitamins. Iron supplements can usually cause diarrhea or constipation so it is better to secure foods that are rich in iron instead of taking iron supplements such as eggs, spinach, dried fruits, green vegetables, wheat breads, cereals, and beefs.
    2. Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea. Drink more water, fruit juices, lemon water, and coconut water.
  3. This can increase breathing rate than the usual amount required by the body. It creates a gas named carbon monoxide which causes you to feel lightheaded. Hyperventilation usually occurs for about fifteen to twenty minutes long. What can you do?
    1. Relax and take it easy. For most instance, you doctor will tell you this advice. And this is what exactly you have to do once you are feeling dizzy.
    2. Practice breathing techniques. Hyperventilation can be managed by developing skills of breathing properly. You have to make sure that when you do this, you breathe in deeply and slowly.
  4. Dizziness because of lying on your back. Lying on your back makes the baby’s weight to put too much pressure on your vena cava which makes you heart pumps lesser blood which makes you feel dizzy until you will resort to change your position. What should you do?
    1. Lie on your left side and avoid sudden reflexes or movement.

So that is just about it. I hope this article will be able to give you help on how to manage your dizziness during your pregnancy. Follow it and have a happy pregnancy.