Extreme Dizziness During Pregnancy: Cause and Prevention

Have you ever felt extreme dizziness while pregnant? It causes you to feel like you will faint or fall. It can be quite distressing, especially for a first-time expectant mother. The disoriented and unsteady feeling can occur at any time during pregnancy. However, dizziness poses minimal threat to the pregnant mother or her unborn baby. There are tips that you can follow to reduce the frequency of extreme dizziness during your pregnancy.

Why Do I Get Extreme Dizziness During Pregnancy?

Extreme dizziness has different causes, depending on the stage of pregnancy. If you feel nauseous and dizzy in the first trimester, the cause is usually low blood pressure. This happens because the progesterone hormone has a relaxing effect on the walls of blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure.

As the uterus gets bigger in the second and third trimesters, it exerts increasing pressure on your blood vessels, which can also cause dizziness.

You can also feel dizzy due to the following:

  • Standing up too suddenly so that your brain momentarily does not receive enough blood (postural hypotension)
  • Lying down for long periods of time. This leads to low blood pressure. It affects 10 percent of pregnant women.
  • Going without eating for an extended amount of time, especially late in the afternoon. This causes a drop in your blood sugar level.
  • Low iron levels in your blood (anemia)
  • Your body temperature being too high
  • Hyperventilation due to stress, anxiety or too much exercise
  • Vasovagal syncope. When some people strain when peeing, having a bowel movement or coughing, their heart rate and blood pressure fall. This can lead to dizziness or fainting.

When to Call a Doctor

You need to consult your doctor in case you get extreme dizziness during pregnancy, faint or feel dizzy often. You also need to see a doctor in case dizziness is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the belly or pelvic area
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Palpitations

What to Do When You Feel Dizzy

If you feel dizzy, or are experiencing the early signs such as sweating, nausea, feeling warm or getting pale, avoid a falling or fainting by lying down or sitting down immediately. This will keep you safe from injury. Lying on your left side gives better results.

Depending on how you feel, you can loosen any tight clothing. If you are seated, lower your head and hold it between your legs. While lying down, elevate your feet above your head using pillows.

How to Prevent Dizziness During Pregnancy

There are several ways in which you can prevent dizziness. In general, the preventive action you take will depend on the likely cause of dizziness.

1.    Dizziness Due to Standing Up Too Fast

To avoid dizziness brought about by standing up suddenly, pregnant women should get up gently. If you have been in bed, start by sitting up in bed. Lower your feet to the floor and stay in this position for a few moments until you feel strong and relaxed enough to stand. To stand up, rise to your feet gently, making sure that dizziness is not developing.

2.    Dizziness Because of Lying on Your Back

Avoid lying on your back for long periods of time to avoid dizziness. When sleeping or lying down for long periods, do so on your side, especially on your left side. This will improve blood circulation and help prevent extreme dizziness during pregnancy.

3.    Dizziness Caused by Vasovagal Syncope

You can prevent dizziness due to vasovagal syncope by staying calm and avoiding stressful or anxious circumstances. In case you sense dizziness is about to happen, lay down and raise your feet using pillows. 

4.    Dizziness Due to Inadequate Food and Drink

Nutrition and hydration are important, especially when you are pregnant. To prevent fainting, ensure that you regularly eat healthy food and drink water and other healthy fluids throughout the day.

5.    Dizziness Caused by Anemia

Anemia is caused by low iron in your blood. It can cause dizziness and fainting. To avoid anemia-related dizziness, eat iron-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables, meat, legumes, cereals and dried fruit. Your doctor can also prescribe iron supplements to treat anemia. However, iron supplement tablets may cause diarrhea. 

6.    Dizziness Because of Getting Overheated

Prevent dizziness due to overheating by keeping cool. Avoid overdressing and excessively hot spaces. If the temperature is too high in your house, use a fan or conditioner to bring it down.

7.    Dizziness for Hyperventilation

Breathing too fast or too deeply can cause hyperventilation, which may lead to fainting. To avoid extreme dizziness during pregnancy, take note of times when you breathe too fast or too deeply and slow down.

You can also control hyperventilation by learning and practicing breathing techniques. Train yourself to breathe slowly and deeply so that you provide your whole body and brain with enough oxygen without overventilation.

 
 
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