Discomforts of Pregnancy: Dizziness

Dizziness or feeling faint is a normal symptom during pregnancy. It is more common in the first trimester, but it may also be prevalent 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 which 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.

Dizziness may be caused in your second trimester because your growing uterus may be putting pressure on blood vessels.

Dizziness may occur later in your pregnancy when 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.)

What remedies exist for preventing dizziness during pregnancy?

There are a number of things you can do to reduce the amount of dizziness you may experience. Here are some helpful suggestions for reducing dizziness during pregnancy:

  • 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 can be very more 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 I do if I feel faint during pregnancy?
There are a few things you can do 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 quick 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
    • have something to eat

When to contact your physician because of dizziness during pregnancy:

You should contact your doctor 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 a placental abruption.

You should also contact your doctor 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 which could have a negative affect on your pregnancy.

Reprinted with permission from American Pregnancy Association. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.