Dizziness During Pregnancy

Dizziness During Pregnancy

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Feeling lightheaded, dizzy and faint at times during the day is a normal occurrence during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. As the body undergoes changes to accommodate a baby, the variation in blood pressure, sugar levels and hormones cause you to feel dizzy every now and then.  Should you be worried if you are feeling dizzy during pregnancy? Not really. Because it is a normal occurrence to feel dizzy and faint-headed when pregnant. However, you must have the required knowledge to be able to handle the situation when you feel dizzy and understand when to contact a medical expert. We aim to address most of the questions you may have about dizziness during pregnancy in this article. Read on to know more.

What Is Dizziness During Pregnancy?

Feeling faint and nauseous can begin as early as two weeks after conception. Dizziness, accompanied by morning sickness, and nausea at other times during the day can be an indicator of pregnancy. The body’s physiological changes can cause expectant mothers to get disoriented and feel a sense of vertigo (a sense of fainting or falling). The cause for dizziness during early pregnancy depends on how far along the mother is, and it ranges from feeling light-headed to fainting.

Is It Normal to Feel Dizzy During Pregnancy?

Yes, it is absolutely normal to feel dizzy during pregnancy. Dizziness affects nearly 75% of pregnant women in varying degrees. It is a common symptom during the first trimester but can continue throughout the pregnancy in some women.

Is Feeling Dizzy Harmful For Your Pregnancy?

As mentioned earlier, dizziness during pregnancy is normal. Although the dizzy feeling is not harmful in itself, the light-headedness can lead to fainting, which can be dangerous as there is a chance you might fall and injure yourself or the baby inside you.

Are you wondering why pregnant women feel dizzy? Let’s check out the causes of dizziness during pregnancy.

Causes of Dizziness During Pregnancy

The cause for dizziness varies throughout pregnancy depending on the stage of pregnancy. Therefore, different women experience different levels of dizziness and for varying lengths of time. Here are some causes of dizziness during pregnancy.

  • Dizziness during early pregnancy is caused due to the high levels of hormones in the expectant mother’s body as it prepares to increase blood supply to the expanding circulatory system. The hormone progesterone dilates the blood vessels which causes the blood pressure to drop and make you feel dizzy. Dizziness is also made worse if you have anaemia, nausea, frequent vomiting and dehydration.
  • As the pregnancy progresses, there are more fluids in your system (including blood) to nourish the developing baby, which can cause an increase in the blood pressure and lead to dizziness and headaches.
  • In the third trimester, actions such as prolonged sitting or lying down cause the weight of the baby to put pressure on a large vein in the right-hand side of the body called the inferior vena cava. This vein transports blood from the lower limbs and a pressure on it restricts the blood flow making the would-be mother dizzy.
  • External temperature and overheating can add to the problems as the presence of the baby increase the normal body temperature by one degree.
  • Dizziness can be due to uneven blood sugar levels caused by conditions such as gestational diabetes. On rare occasions, dizziness might be a sign of a more serious problem such as bleeding from the placenta or an ectopic pregnancy.

You are probably thinking if you can do something when you feel dizzy. Well yes, there are a few things you must do when you feel dizzy during pregnancy. The next section of the article should help you do that.

Things to Do When You Suddenly Feel Dizzy

Here’s what you can do when you feel dizzy during pregnancy –

  • When you feel dizzy, sit down to avoid a fall. If you can, sit with your head between your knees. Also, sit down or get up slowly; sudden movements worsen dizziness.
  • If you have a chance to lie down, do so on your left side. This increases the blood supply to your brain and makes you feel better.
  • Dizziness can also be due to low blood sugar if you have gone a while without eating. Get a quick healthy snack, and drink some water or fresh fruit juice to boost your energy levels.
  • Waves of dizziness can often happen to many women during pregnancy. The best thing to do would be to stop what you are doing, sit or lie down and wait for it to pass.
  • You may try loosening tight clothes if any.
  • If you feel dizzy in a congested or crowded place, slowly walk to the closest place with enough ventilation and less crowd.

Things to Do When You Suddenly Feel Dizzy

Let’s now take a look at some remedies that can help alleviate dizziness.

Remedies to Alleviate Dizziness During Pregnancy

Although dizziness during pregnancy is common and you can’t do much about it, here are some ways you can reduce it:

  • Avoid quick movements like getting up too fast or springing up out of the bed.
  • Do not lie on your back for too long. Change positions often and try to lie more on your left side.
  • Eat regularly at small intervals to keep the blood sugar levels appropriate. Avoid going without food for longer periods.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Substitute sugar-rich foods with healthy snacks.
  • Consume an iron-rich diet.
  • Avoid overheating by avoiding hot water baths or spending too much time outdoors or in crowded places.
  • Go easy on your workout. Stressing yourself can cause you to overheat or hyperventilate which can both lead to dizziness.

Should You Consult a Doctor for Dizziness During Pregnancy?

Dizziness, once in a while, due to heat, movement or hunger, is normal during pregnancy. However, if it is frequent and is coupled with symptoms such as severe headaches, blurred vision, palpitations, impaired speech, numbness, chest pain, shortness of breath, tingling and vaginal bleeding, immediate medical help should be sought. In early pregnancy, if dizziness is followed by abdominal pain and a racing pulse, it could be an indication of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, which is also a medical emergency and should be dealt with immediately.

Pregnancy is a roller coaster ride. Learning to recognise your symptoms early on and taking precautionary measures can help reduce your dizziness. If that does not work, it is time to call your doctor and get yourself checked.

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