Signs & Symptoms Associated With Pregnancy Dizziness

By Amy Sutton
Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Pregnancy is an exciting time, filled with joy and anticipation. But waiting for the arrival of your little one also comes with some emotional and physical changes for some moms-to-be, including dizziness. Many times, a little bit of dizziness is not a cause for concern, according to the Medline Plus website, but occasionally it could be a sign of something more serious.

Dizziness Explained

Dizziness is used to describe two distinct feelings: vertigo and lightheadedness. Knowing the difference between the two can help you figure out why you're experiencing that dizzy sensation.

Vertigo is when you feel like the room is spinning or that you are moving when you are actually still. Lightheadedness is when you feel as though you are going to faint.

Why It Happens

Anyone can experience dizziness, but some pregnancy-related reasons explain why you may suffer from this while you're expecting. Your pregnant body is going through dramatic cardiovascular system changes, according to the BabyCenter website. Your heart pumps more blood as your heart rate rises, and your body makes 40 to 45 percent more blood than normal. During the middle of your pregnancy, your blood vessels begin to dilate, decreasing your blood pressure. Sometimes these changes can leave you feeling dizzy.

Rising hormone levels widen your blood vessels, which increases the blood flow to your baby but decreases the blood flow back to you. This can cause low blood pressure and reduce blood flow to your brain, according to the American Pregnancy Association website, leading to dizziness.

In the second trimester, your uterus continues to grow and put pressure on your blood vessels, which can cause dizziness. Lying on your back near the end of your pregnancy can cause your baby to press down on the vein that transports blood from your lower body to your heart, making you feel dizzy

Other reasons for dizziness may include dehydration, anemia, getting overheated and low blood sugar.

When to Be Concerned

Occasional dizziness or vertigo is not uncommon during pregnancy, especially in the mid to late stages, but if you begin to experience either of these feelings often or intensely, contact your doctor.

Dizziness accompanied by certain other symptoms may also be a cause for concern. These symptoms include pain in the belly, vaginal bleeding, headaches, blurred vision, chest pain, impaired speech, shortness of breath, numbness and palpitations. Call your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.

What You Can Do

Help prevent dizziness by keeping yourself hydrated. Pregnant women need to drink at least eight to 12 glasses of water each day, suggests the American Pregnancy Association website. Avoid caffeinated drinks, as they can increase urine output and cause you to become dehydrated.

Eat small meals and snack regularly, including plenty of iron in your healthy diet to lessen your chance of becoming dizzy.

Get up slowly from lying down or sitting. Don't stand for long periods of time, if you can avoid it. If you do have to stand for long stretches, move your feet around to increase circulation and take frequent breaks to sit down. Wear comfortable, loose clothing to help with circulation.

Avoid taking hot showers and baths, since both can raise your internal temperature. This is dangerous for your baby and can increase your chances for becoming dizzy.

Avoid lying on your back during your second and third trimester, advises the BabyCenter website. Instead, sleep on your side, preferably your left side, with a pillow under your hip or behind your back.