Dizziness and lightheadedness are common during pregnancy. But how do you know what’s normal and what’s not?
If you’ve had more giddy experiences than you’d like to admit, blame it on your belly. Dizziness is a normal symptom of pregnancy, likely to occur in – but not restricted to – the first trimester. If you’re constantly dizzy or dazed, weak-headed or woozy, read on to uncover the causes of dizziness during pregnancy, and what you can do to prevent it.
What Causes Dizziness During Pregnancy?
Dizziness may be caused by one or more factors during pregnancy. Here’s a list of possibilities.
Rising hormones can cause a flurry of changes, including the dilation of blood vessels. When blood vessels dilate, they stimulate blood flow to your baby. However, this blood is often slow to return to your bloodstream and brain, lowering blood pressure and causing dizziness.
Low Blood Sugar & Anaemia
Low blood sugar, caused by changes in metabolism, may be responsible for dizziness. Also, anemia and varicose veins are other factors that may trigger faintness.
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As your womb swells to accommodate your growing baby, it puts pressure on blood vessels, slowing oxygen supply to the brain.
In the latter stages of pregnancy, lying on your back may cause your baby to weigh down on your vena cava, a large vein that connects the heart to the lower body. The result? Lightheadedness.
Must read – Physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy
How Can I Prevent Dizziness During Pregnancy?
If you experience frequent dizziness or lightheadedness, here are some ways to help you reduce the frequency of these spells.
- Avoid being on your feet for extended periods; if you must, keep shuffling your feet to stimulate circulation
- Rise slowly from a sitting or sleeping position and avoid jerky movements
- Eat on time and never miss a meal; instead, make it a practice to snack healthy between meals to avoid keeping your stomach empty
- Avoid steaming hot baths
- Start sleeping on your side once you are in your second trimester
- Wear light, breathable clothing to avoid restricting circulation
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How Can I Manage Dizziness During Pregnancy?
If you’re perennially dogged by dizziness, these tips should help you find relief.
- Sit or lie down, and relax your head
- Practice deep breathing
- Loosen or remove tight clothing and shoes
- Open windows to improve ventilation
- Eat iron-rich foods
When Should I Call My Doctor?
If your dizziness is accompanied by vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain, it’s wise to pick up the phone and call your doctor, pronto. A combination of these two symptoms could point to an ectopic pregnancy, a low-lying placenta or a placental abruption. Dizziness accompanied by blurred vision, palpitations, breathlessness or headaches, can also be a symptom of severe anaemia or another serious condition that could impact your pregnancy.
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As worrying as it can be to experience bouts of lightheadedness, take heart in knowing that this phase is temporary. Soon, you’ll go from belly to baby, and very dizzy to very busy (hello new motherhood). And finally, these woolly-headed episodes will be a thing of the past.