During pregnancy, the rising hormones in the mother’s body cause blood vessels to relax and widen. This increases blood flow to the baby but slows the return of the blood in the veins of the mother.
This causes low blood pressure, which ultimately reduces the blood flow to the brain, causing dizziness and light-headedness.
It is also caused due to low blood sugar levels in the body, on in anaemic pregnant women, or in women who have varicose veins, or because of the growing pressure that the uterus puts on the blood vessels inside the mother’s body.
Things to do and keep in mind when feeling dizzy or light-headed are:
- Lie down as soon as you are feeling uneasy or dizzy. Lying on the sides would maximize blood flow to the body and brain.
- Sit down as soon as you can when you feel that your head is reeling. Leave all other work and get a cool corner to just relax. Try lowering your head down and putting in between the knees.
- Avoid standing up too fast or with a jolt, after sitting or lying down for a long time.
Things to avoid the occurrence of sudden dizziness:
- Avoid lying on the back, as the growing uterus slows the circulation of blood in the legs by compressing the inferior vena cava (the large vein that returns blood from the lower half of the body to the heart) and the pelvic veins.
- Eat and drink properly. When the mother does not eat enough, she can end up with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Eat small and frequent meals during the day instead of three large ones.
- Hyperventilation or excessive exercise or anxiety can sometimes cause mothers to hyperventilate and feel faint. Avoid this as far as possible.
- If the mother is anaemic, she will have fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen to the brain and other organs, which can then cause light-headedness.
- Avoid spending time in an overheated ambience: as it would cause blood vessels to dilate, lowering the blood pressure and making people feel woozy.
Most cases of light-headedness go away on their own. They or are temporary occurrence that does not pose any great threat to the mother and baby. However if the symptoms are too severe or occur too frequently, then the doctor should be consulted. Especially if there is a severe headache, blurred vision, impaired speech, palpitations, numbness, tingling, chest pain, shortness of breath, or vaginal bleeding. They could point towards and ectopic pregnancy, a low-lying placenta, or a placental abruption, in severe cases.