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Lightheadedness During Pregnancy

If you're wondering whether or not feeling lightheaded during pregnancy is normal, then rest assured. It is quite common. However, it is vital to have all the information regarding the same. Read the article on what are the causes of lightheadedness during pregnancy and how can you help relieve it.
HerHaleness Staff
Last Updated: Mar 5, 2018
When a woman is pregnant, she takes care of her each and every move' let that be her diet, physical activities, medication, etc. So is the case with you as you wish to gain information on what it means to feel lightheaded while you're pregnant. Being lightheaded may seem like a scary situation, especially during pregnancy. But it is a common occurrence. Although, what could be the reason behind being lightheaded during this time? Let me explain. The cardiovascular system in women at this stage is working double time. There is a lot of dramatic change going on in the body during this phase, such as the heart rate going up and the heart pumping blood more than usual per minute. Plus, the amount of blood in their bodies expands as well; close to 40-45% more.

If the pregnancy is normal, without any complications, the level of blood pressure eventually does come down to normal in the first few months. In the middle months, it reaches an all time low point, and as you reach the final months or trimester, it rests at its regular level. The cardiovascular system, along with the nervous system helps in adjusting these fluctuations in your body. However, there are times when this doesn't happen. This is the reason why you may be feeling dizzy and lightheaded.

Lightheadedness During the Third Trimester

Let me make something clear first. Being lightheaded or dizzy is not similar to fainting. If you're not pregnant, have a physically active lifestyle, and are maintaining a healthy diet, having the feeling of lightheadedness is different than experiencing it while someone is pregnant. When a woman is feeling lightheaded, it is a sign which tells her something is definitely wrong and you need to speak to your practitioner as soon as possible.

During the third trimester, weeks 27 to 42, is the time when you will actually feel pregnant, and will also seem uncomfortable than usual. With all these new changes and sensations, it is not uncommon to face certain issues. Your baby is growing inside you and you are, obviously, wishing to make the process as smooth as you can, for the both of you. Even though some women don't really notice the change in their cardiovascular system, occasionally shortness of breath and lightheadedness may result. But before you get panicky or worry about your baby's health, let us find out what are the causes. Now even though I have spoken about the third trimester, many women may experience discomfort and pressure on their blood vessels during the second trimester. This is due to your uterus which is growing. The blood flow to your brain may reduce which makes you feel lightheaded. On the other hand, if your blood sugar level drops, this health condition may occur.

Causes
Every pregnancy is different and so are the health conditions of women. Which is why, any and all health conditions experienced by you should be discussed with your doctor. There are many causes for a pregnant woman to feel like this. Which is why, you should be aware of what happens at that moment in order to best take care of yourself and your baby. Let's go over each of them one by one.

When Standing up too Soon - If you notice that you feeling lightheaded when standing up too soon, the reason is, you've been sitting for quite some time now and get up suddenly. While you're sitting, the blood starts to pool in your lower legs and feet. And standing up too soon can make you feel dizzy and lightheaded.

Lying on the Back - Many women, during their third trimester, feel comfortable when they are sleeping, lying on the bed on their side, or reading and watching television (lying down). As the baby is growing, the uterus begins to reduce the circulation of blood in legs. The veins get compressed and the blood returning to your heart, especially from the lower half of your body slows down. In turn, your heart rate increases and the blood pressure drops.

Inadequate Appetite - If you're not eating good, healthy foods and drinks, you may suffer from low blood sugar. This in return ends up making you dizzy, and sometimes eventually faint. Plus, when you're pregnant, this can occur more easily. Along with eating healthy fruits and vegetables, drinking adequate water and other healthy drinks is essential. Following your practitioner's advise, you won't have issues like dizziness or dehydration.

Anemia - When someone has few red blood cells in their body, they suffer from anemia. Fewer red blood cells means less oxygen carried to your brain and the rest of the organs. This will make you lightheaded. Deficiency of iron is one of the most common causes of anemia. To overcome anemia in pregnancy, consult your gynecologist.

Overheated and Hyperventilation - Taking long, hot baths or being in a room which is too hot can dilate your blood vessels. The blood pressure drops down and makes you feel giddy. Also, hyperventilation caused by excessive workouts or anxiety can make you feel lightheaded. Both these factors are to be kept in mind to avoid feeling lightheaded and dizzy.

Now if you are experiencing headaches along with being lightheaded, then you need to read the article on lightheadedness and headaches for more information.

Prevention
If, due to any of these causes, you're experiencing dizziness, fatigue, or giddy, read through the following precautionary methods.
  • Let's say you are lying down on the couch or bed, don't get up too soon. Take your time and support yourself properly before getting up.
  • If ever, while you're standing, walking, or working, you feel lightheaded, sit or lie down on the bed for some time. This should make the feeling go away quicker.
  • If possible, place your head between your knees (or as close as you possibly can get it). Don't exert yourself if you can't do so. Just try to relax.
  • When lying on bed, sleep on your left side; this will increase the blood flow considerably.
  • Climb out of the bed as slowly as you can in the mornings and after taking naps. There's no rush.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (water and eat juicy fruits) and eat healthy foods. Cut down or omit fatty and spicy foods.
  • Avoid staying in hot and humid locations. Stay out of the sun and keep yourself cool.
If you are worried as to when should you consult a doctor, then keep in mind when that it is coupled with severe headaches, numbness, vaginal bleeding, blurred vision, fainting, impaired vision, heart vibrations, or tingling in limbs. It is vital that you speak to you doctor no matter how small you think any signs are. Only your doctor can give you proper advise as he/she is aware of your medical history. And if you are constantly feeling lightheaded or dizzy, don't take too long to speak to your health care provider.