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Dizziness and Fainting During Pregnancy

Posted by on Jul. 31, 2013 at 3:25 PM
  • 3 Replies

Dizziness and fainting during pregnancy

Dizziness and fainting during pregnancyAlamy

Dizziness is pretty common during pregnancy, and it can occur for a number of reasons. That said, it should never just be ignored...

What is it?

If you have managed to get through life so far without ever feeling dizzy while standing still, it will come as a shock when it happens. Suddenly the room starts spinning, and all you can think about is how to stop yourself from falling over. It's not nice – but it happens to many pregnant women, at various stages, and it's usually no cause for concern.

Early on in your pregnancy, you might have lower blood pressure, which comes as a result of the pregnancy hormones relaxing your blood vessels. Your cardiovascular system is gearing up to cope with a huge increase in blood (up to 50% more) – but until your body catches up with itself, around half way through your pregnancy, the lower blood pressure can cause light-headedness.

Later on, when your baby is getting to quite a size, your uterus might be putting pressure on the blood vessels in your pelvis, and also on the vena cava, which is a large blood vessel that carries blood from the legs back up to the heart and brain. In particular, the vena cava is less able to do its job when you lie down on your back, or on your right hand side.

Dizziness can also be caused by low blood sugar, overheating, and dehydration. When pregnant, you are more prone to all these things.

Sometimes, just standing up too quickly, particularly from a lying down position, can be enough to make you feel like you might pass out. This is known as postural hypotension and it's down to your blood not having enough time to flow to your brain.

Although dizziness is common among pregnant women, you shouldn't ignore it – if you are actually having fainting spells, you are at risk of hurting yourself or your baby when you fall. Mention it to your midwife or GP – they might want to test you for anaemia (low iron levels in the blood).

What can I do?

While some causes of dizziness are unavoidable, there are some simple things you can do to help prevent it.

If you are pregnant during the summer months, do all you can to keep cool. Don't sit in the sun and get overheated, stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day, and take cooling, tepid showers to keep your core temperature at a sensible level.

Make sure you are drinking enough water, too. With any luck, your body is reminding you to stay hydrated by telling you you are thirsty, but keep a bottle of water with you all the time and sip from it regularly.

Eat little and often – keep snacks with you in your bag, and never go more than a couple of hours without eating something. As long as you choose your snacks wisely, you won't pile on the weight and you'll be keeping your blood sugar and energy levels topped up.

From around the middle of your pregnancy, you might well find that lying on your back is uncomfortable. When you rest or sleep, lying on your left hand side will take the pressure off the vena cava, making it easier for your blood to circulate effectively.

When standing up, do it slowly. Swing your legs around from a lying position, sit up, wait a few moments, then rise to your feet gently.

When you do feel dizzy, sit down immediately, even if you have to kneel on the floor. If possible (and it might not be towards the end of your pregnancy because of your bump!), put your head between your knees. Alternatively, if you can, lie down on your left side. Breathe slowly and calmly and wait for the dizziness to pass. If you dizzy spells are becoming frequent, it's sensible to avoid driving and operating machinery.

What else could it be?

If your dizziness is accompanied by severe tiredness, palpitations, breathlessness and a sore tongue, do make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible, as these things could be signs of anaemia, which will need treating.

Jones, Pip. "Dizziness and Fainting during Pregnancy." Parentdish UK. Parentdish, 31 July 2013. Web. 31 July 2013.

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by on Jul. 31, 2013 at 3:25 PM
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Replies (1-3):
by on Jul. 31, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Only felt dizzy a few times.

by Rebecca on Jul. 31, 2013 at 4:19 PM

When I first hit my second trimester end of my first I was dizzy.

Im all good now.

by Representative on Jul. 31, 2013 at 5:14 PM
I got dizzy earlier looking at a picture one of my friend's posted of a city from above.
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