Feeling Dizzy or Lightheaded?
Your body is going through many, many changes throughout your pregnancy. You are gaining weight, your center of gravity is shifting, pregnancy hormones are raging, and your heart is pumping approximately 50% more blood than it is used to.
Your cardiovascular system is doing its best to adjust to all of these changes, but at times you may feel dizzy or lightheaded. Below, you will find the most common causes of lightheadedness and helpful tips on how to deal with the unwelcome feeling.
Common causes of lightheadedness
Many causes of lightheadedness are the same for pregnant women as they are for the general population.
- Standing up too quickly – When you sit or crouch for long periods of time, blood tends to pool in your lower limbs. When you stand up too quickly, the blood in your legs may not be able to return to your heart, causing your blood pressure to drop and making you feel lightheaded. Taking care to stand up slowly can help prevent this problem. Also, taking steps to promote circulation in your lower limbs can help too.
- Low blood sugar – It is important to make sure you have enough food and drink throughout the day. Low blood sugar can certainly make you feel lightheaded! Consider carrying snacks with you or eating many small meals instead of three large meals throughout the day. Also, be sure to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. Drinking an electrolyte beverage can help too.
- Compression of the Inferior Cava – As your uterus grows, it puts pressure on the inferior cava, the vein that returns blood from the lower half of your body to your heart. Sleeping or relaxing flat on your back can increase the pressure on the inferior cava and result in feelings of lightheadedness and nausea. Sleeping on your side can help alleviate this pressure. Try placing a pillow between your knees for extra comfort.
- Excessive Exercise – Exercise during pregnancy is generally recommended to increase circulation, but it can also cause you to feel lightheaded or dizzy. If this happens, stop and lie down. If you can't lie down, sit down with your head between your knees.
Call your health care provider if you consistently feel faint or dizzy. You should also get in touch with your doctor if you have frequent headaches, blurred vision, tingling, or if your lightheadedness results in fainting.