Dizziness – what causes it and what should be done to avoid it
Throughout your pregnancy, you may feel a disorienting feeling of unsteadiness, which can make you feel like you are going to faint. While this may sound alarming, you do not have to worry as this feeling is complete normal and common. However, there are several ways on how you can avoid dizziness.
Early in a pregnancy, lightheadedness or dizziness may be caused by inadequate blood supply for a rapidly expanding circulatory system. As your body adjusts to the changes brought about by your pregnancy, you will develop ample blood supply to meet the increasing needs of your body. In the second trimester, on the other hand, dizziness may be caused by the increasing pressure that the expanding uterus applies to the blood vessels, resulting to decreased blood flow to the brain. In addition, this symptom may also be caused by high levels of progesterone in your blood. Progesterone relaxes and widens your blood vessels, increasing blood flow to your baby and decreasing blood flow to different parts of your body like your brain. Another reason why you may feel dizzy while you are pregnant would be due dehydration or low blood sugar.
It is not unusual to feel lightheaded occasionally while you are pregnant. When you are pregnant, your cardiovascular system goes through dramatic changes. In fact, your heart rate increases, as your heart pumps more blood every minute and your body accommodates an increase in your blood volume.
Smart ways to stop a dizzy spell
There are a number of ways on how you can stop a dizzy spell. For instance, you need to lie down as soon as you begin to feel lightheaded. This way, you will not fall and hurt yourself or your baby. You should also elevate your feet to ensure an increase in the blood flow to your brain. The second best thing that you can do is to sit down and place your head between your knees and breathe deeply and slowly. However, if there is no place to sit or lie down, you can simply kneel on one knee and bend forward. You should assume a position like you are tying your shoe laces until the dizzy spell subsides. If you feel faint, you should also try taking deep breaths and loosen any tight clothing that you are wearing. You should also open windows and move towards the area where there is proper ventilation. If you need help, you should never hesitate to ask for it.
Aside from doing interventions to stop this symptom from aggravating, there are smart ways that can help keep lightheadedness or dizziness from starting in the first place. Here are the ways to do this:
- Go slow. You should not get up too quickly when you are lying or sitting down. If you do, your blood pressure will drop and this can trigger lightheadedness.
- Eat healthy. To avoid this pregnancy symptom, you should make sure that you are eating healthy for you and your baby. You have to make sure that you are eating a well balanced meal to ensure that your blood sugar levels are stable. Since anemia can actually cause dizziness, you have to make sure that you eat iron-rich foods. You should also seek consult from your health are provider to determine if this is what is causing your symptom to ensure that proper intervention is initiated right away.
- Eat small frequent meals. It is also ideal that you eat small frequent meals every day. You can have three full meals with healthy snacks in between. By doing so, you are giving yourself a quick blood sugar boost to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
- You have to make sure that you are drinking enough water to stay hydrated. There are cases wherein dizziness is a sign that you are hydrated. You should aim at least eight glasses of water every day.
- Dress appropriately. You should dress smart. It is advisable to wear easy to shed dress layers in case you will start feeling overheated. You should also avoid tight fitting clothes. You have to make sure that you are dress appropriately for the weather.
- Left side lying. When you reach your second and third trimesters, you should consider sleeping in left side lying position instead of lying on your back. When you lie on your back, your uterus will press on your vena cava, resulting to the decreased blood flow from your lower extremities to your heart. In addition, lying on your back can interfere with optimum circulation which causes dizziness. Lying on your side can actually maximize blood flow to your brain and the rest of your body.
- Fresh air. Always find time to get some fresh air. You should avoid staying in stuffy and overheated spaces, as they can also trigger dizziness. If you are working in an office, you should take frequent breaks to get some fresh air to avoid a dizzy spell from developing. You should stay in areas where there is proper ventilation and avoid those cramped and stuffy areas like an elevator, an office or a room without a window.
- Avoid hot baths and showers. You should also avoid hot baths and hot showers when you are pregnant, as they can trigger lightheadedness.
When should you call your health care provider?
Feeling a bit dizzy occasionally due to heat, hunger and moving from one position to another does not generally warrant an alarm. In fact, this feeling will likely go away after delivery of your baby. However, if the smart ways discussed above does not relieve this symptom or that you experience persistent lightheadedness; you should contact your health care provider right away.
You should also contact your health care provider if this symptom is accompanied by pain on your abdomen or vaginal bleeding, as this can actually be a sign of ectopic pregnancy, placenta abruption, or a low lying placenta.