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An ObGyn's Guide: Lightheadedness in Pregnancy Causes & Cures

pregnancy Aug 26, 2019

Causes

Pregnancy hormones lead to relaxation of your blood vessels and a decrease in blood pressure. For some women, especially those who have a low-normal blood pressure to begin with, this can result in episodes of lightheadedness. As there are other, much more serious, causes of lightheadedness this symptom should always be discussed with your doctor. 

Cures

1. Stay hydrated! 

During pregnancy adequate fluid intake is approximately 2.5 L a day. For some of us, plain water is just not appetizing. Thanks to the recommendation of one of my Instagram followers, I now use Nuun electrolyte tablets to flavor my water without adding sugar. 

Do your best to stay away from plastic drink containers as they can contain chemicals such as BPA, a known endocrine disruptor. Prenatal exposure to BPA has been shown to increase the risk of hyperactivity and aggression in female children. Use a glass or stainless steel water bottle. I use the Bkr bottle for plain water and the Ello tumbler for everything else.

2. Get up slowly and avoid standing for long periods of time

When you stand up, gravity pulls your blood into your legs. In pregnancy, because your blood vessels are more relaxed, gravity has a more profound effect. Meaning, there may be a brief decrease in blood flow to your brain when you get up that causes you to feel lightheaded. Getting up slowly allows your body time to appropriately respond to gravity preventing these episodes. 

3. Wear compression socks 

Compression socks help prevent fluid and blood from pooling in your feet and legs throughout the day. Keeping this fluid inside your blood vessels helps prevent lightheadedness, particularly if you have to stand for longer periods of time. These are my favorite compression socks.  

4. Avoid heat

When you are hot, your blood goes towards the surface of your body and the blood vessels in your skin dilate in an effort to cool your blood. You also sweat in order to cool your skin and thus the blood in your dilated skin vessels. The combination of blood moving to your body’s surface and the loss of fluids from sweat, can predispose you to feel lightheaded, especially when pregnant. 

5. Small frequent meals 

Avoiding spikes and lows in your blood sugar can go a long way to avoiding lightheadedness. I like to use non-toxic & eco-friendly silicone bags to bring snacks with me when I leave the house. 

6. Sleep 

Getting proper sleep is vital to your body’s ability to cope with the stress of pregnancy. A regular bedtime routine is a must for anyone who struggles to fall or stay asleep. While pregnant, I like to combine my bedtime routine with baby bonding. For more on this check out my template for a Baby Bonding Bedtime Routine.

My Wish for You...

I hope you lightheadedness is manageable and short lived! For more about caring for yourself in pregnancy make sure to check out my Pregnancy Self-Care Workbook.

Remember, as there are serious causes of lightheadedness in pregnancy always discuss this symptom with your Ob provider. 

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