Have you been feeling confused and light-headed recently? If so, don't be alarmed, because dizziness in pregnancy is a fairly common symptom throughout such special 9 months.
In fact, it affects around 75% of pregnant women, who have to cope with vertigo and feeling disoriented to some degree. While some just experience a loss of balance, others end up fainting during pregnancy, which can obviously be very dangerous, since they are carrying a child.
Fortunately, there are ways to keep dizziness in pregnancy under control. If you want to know how, have a look at this post.
Why and when does dizziness in pregnancy happen?
When you are pregnant, it's normal to have low blood pressure because of the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the walls of your blood vessels and increases the flow of blood to your baby. The result? Your blood pressure falls... and you may too if you are not careful enough!
The symptoms can hit you early in the first trimester, around 8 weeks pregnant, when your body is still adapting to many changes and gearing up to produce enough blood for two. But when everything falls into place and it may seem that this unsteadiness is over, your growing uterus will shake things up again, putting pressure on the blood vessels and bringing dizziness back. However, progesterone and your womb aren't the only factors responsible for such unpleasant symptoms. If you suffer from dizziness during pregnancy, you should also consider:
- Postural hypotension, which happens when you stand up quickly from sitting and lying down.
- Lying down for too long when having low blood pressure
- If you feel too warm
- Being diagnosed with anemia in pregnancy
- If your blood sugar drops after not eating for a while
- When you are dehydrated
What can I do to make dizziness in pregnancy better?
If you start to feel light-headed, you first need to sit down or lie down to avoid an eventual accident (imagine how terrible fainting in pregnancy could be). While lying down, elevate your feet, so that blood flows easier to your brain. If you don't have a place to lie down, you should sit or kneel on one knee and bend as forward as you can until the symptoms get better.
However, there are things you can do in advance in order to prevent such dizzy spells. Take note of them:
- Get some fresh air and take off some clothes: sometimes, dizziness in pregnancy is triggered by the fact of being in a stuffy crowded space. Whenever the symptoms strike you, go out and take your time. If you can't, try taking off some clothes, so that you feel less hot. Of course, that implies a previous work on your outfit, which should have easy-to-shed layers.
- Go at a slow pace: you are pregnant and there's no need to rush. Don't stand up all of a sudden after sitting or lying down.
- Stay hydrated: don't forget to fill up on fluids, at least eight glasses a day, to prevent dehydration, which can trigger dizziness as well.
- Get an energy boost: keep healthy snacks at hand to get a quick blood-sugar boost and, that way, prevent a blood sugar drop. Any preference between whole-wheat crackers or a piece of fruit?
Don't lie on your back. Avoid sleeping on your back to prevent the expanding womb from pressuring on the vena cava, the one that transports blood from the heart to the lower part of your body. Help your heart pump blood around your body more easily by lying on your left side, instead, and you'll reduce the chances of getting dizzy.
When to call the doctor
Though it's very common and hardly ever dangerous, except for the possibility of fainting, dizziness during pregnancy could require some medical advice when it involves unusual symptoms, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
- Pain in the pelvic area
Of course, in case of passing out, you'll need immediate medical assistance to check on both you and your baby.
Dizziness in pregnancy may feel a bit scary, because you may lose control over your body. It's not a nice feeling under normal circumstances, but this time there's also a growing baby in your body, which makes it even more complicated to deal with. Keep in mind that vertigo and unsteadiness can be caused by something unrelated to your pregnancy, so you need to talk to the doctor about your specific symptoms in order to rule out other possibilities. If you follow his or her advice, sure your dizziness will get better and you'll make it to the end of your pregnancy without any frights.