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Dizziness During Pregnancy

written by: Diana Cooper • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 6/29/2011

Learn what can cause dizziness during pregnancy. Know what you can do to help prevent it and know what to do when you do feel dizzy.

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    Dizziness During Pregnancy

    Dizziness is a common complaint during pregnancy. When a woman becomes pregnant, the cardiovascular system must work harder to support new life. A woman's blood volume will gradually increase about 45% throughout the pregnancy. The heart will beat faster and the blood pressure will also be affected. Normally, the blood pressure will decrease in the beginning of the pregnancy and, about half way through, gradually rise back to normal by the end of the pregnancy.

    Most of the time, the body can adjust to these changes. Some times it can not, thus causing a woman to feel dizzy.

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    Preventing Dizziness While Pregnant

    Avoid standing up too quickly. Rise slowly. If you are lying down, get into a sitting position first and stay that way for a couple of minutes or so before standing.

    Avoid standing or sitting for a long period of time. If you can not avoid it, move your legs periodically to keep the blood circulating. You can also wear support stockings to help blood circulation in the lower part of your body.

    Avoid lying on your back. Lying on your back can cause the uterus to restrict blood flow. Lie on your side instead, preferably your left side. Place pillows behind your back or between your legs if needed for extra comfort.

    Eat nutritious foods and do not skip meals. To prevent anemia (which can cause dizziness) take your prenatal vitamin and eat foods high in iron, including lean meat, dried beans, and green leafy vegetables. Eating foods high in vitamin C is also important in preventing anemia because it is needed to enhance the absorption of iron. Coffee, tea, and antacids can decrease iron absorption.

    Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration (preferably water).

    Other ways to help prevent dizziness during pregnancy:

    • avoid tight clothing, particularly around the neck
    • avoid hot, crowded places
    • avoid hot baths or showers (or at least be very careful)

    When you have an episode of dizziness, lie down if possible (on your left side). If you can not lie down, sit (on the ground if you have to) and put your head between your knees.

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