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Many women feel lightheaded or dizzy at some point during their pregnancy. Learn why it happens, what to do if you feel faint, and get simple tips to prevent dizziness.
Find more information about dizziness during pregnancy.
Dizziness during pregnancy
It's not uncommon to sometimes feel dizzy during pregnancy.
What causes dizziness during pregnancy?
Your cardiovascular system is undergoing some dramatic changes as it adapts to accommodate your growing baby. During the first half of pregnancy, hormonal changes cause your blood vessels to relax and widen. This increases blood flow to your baby, but lowers your blood pressure and slows blood flow to your heart and brain. Later in pregnancy, lying on your back allows your growing uterus to compress the large vein that runs up your spine, slowing the blood returning from your legs to your heart.
How can I prevent dizziness, and what should I do if I feel dizzy?
Get up slowly after sitting or lying down. When you sit, blood pools in your legs, so when you stand up too quickly, the blood doesn't have enough time to return from your legs to your heart, causing you to feel dizzy. When lying down, lie on your side, not flat on your back, especially after mid-pregnancy. Stay hydrated, and eat small meals frequently throughout the day. Eating regularly will prevent you from having low blood sugar, which can also cause dizziness.
Be sure you're getting enough iron. If you're anemic, you have fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen to your brain and other organs, which can leave you feeling lightheaded. If you're feeling dizzy, lie down – on your side – before you fall down. Getting your head lower than your heart will maximize blood flow to your brain. If you can’t lie down, sit down and put your head between your knees (unless your belly is in the way, then just sit down).
If you frequently feel dizzy, if you faint, or if you have other symptoms, like severe headaches, blurred vision, impaired speech, palpitations, numbness, tingling, shortness of breath, vaginal bleeding, or pain in your abdomen or chest, call your healthcare provider immediately.
But try not to worry. A little bit of dizziness can be a normal part of pregnancy.