Dizziness During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, it is common for a woman to feel dizzy. Some causes of dizziness are laying flat on your back, not eating enough, anemia, orthostatic hypertension, and fatigue.

When a pregnant woman lies flat on her back, the enlarged uterus may press on the vena cava. The vena cava is a large vein that returns oxygen depleted blood to the heart. This pressure on the vena cava reduces the flow of blood returning to the heart which in turn lowers your blood pressure and can cause dizziness, pale skin, and clamminess.

If you have inadequate amounts of iron you may be anemic. Iron is necessary for hemoglobin formation, and hemoglobin is what carries oxygen in the blood. Therefore anemia can also contribute dizziness.

Eating enough food may sometimes be difficult with bouts of morning sickness and fatigue to contend with. However, eating properly will help fight off dizziness during pregnancy.

Orthostatic hypotension - or a drop in blood pressure that occurs when moving from a lying to a sitting position or a sitting to a standing position can also cause dizziness in pregnant women (and non-pregnant persons).

Here are some things you can do to prevent dizziness from occurring.

  • Sleep or rest laying on your left side. This takes pressure off of the vena cava as well as promoting good circulation to the placenta.

  • Avoid prolonged standing in warm or stuffy environments

  • Eat several small frequent meals throughout the day

  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day

  • Avoid changing positions too quickly

  • Take a prenatal vitamin with iron supplement

  • If dizziness is due to fatigue, plan rest time for a nap or rest period daily

If dizziness progresses to actual fainting or if you are concerned about your dizziness, please talk to your health care provider about your concerns.