Here's a long read for you but very helpful*****Is it common to feel lightheaded during pregnancy?
It's not uncommon to occasionally feel lightheaded or dizzy when you're pregnant. During this time, your cardiovascular system undergoes dramatic changes: Your heart rate (pulse) goes up, your heart pumps more blood per minute, and the amount of blood in your body expands by an average of 40 to 45 percent. The capacity of your circulatory system also increases as blood flows to your enlarging uterus and placenta.
In a normal pregnancy, your blood pressure goes down in the beginning, reaching its lowest point in the middle of your pregnancy, and then goes back to its normal level by the time you give birth. Most of the time, your cardiovascular and nervous systems are able to adjust appropriately to all these changes, but occasionally they don't, which can leave you feeling lightheaded or a bit dizzy. If you actually faint, though, it could be a sign that something is wrong, and you should call your pract_tioner.
What exactly might cause me to feel lightheaded, and what can I do about it?
No matter what the cause, lie down as soon as you feel lightheaded or dizzy, to keep from falling and hurting yourself if you do faint. If you're in a place where it's impossible to lie down, then sit and try to put your head between your knees. And naturally, if you're doing anything that might put you or others at risk for injury, such as driving, stop right away.
Lying on your left side will maximize blood flow to your heart and thus to your brain, and will likely keep you from actually fainting and probably relieve the sensation of lightheadedness altogether. Here are some of the most common causes of lightheadedness during pregnancy and advice for avoiding them:
• Standing up too fast. When you stand up suddenly, blood pools in your lower extremities (your feet and lower legs). (This pooling can also happen as a result of prolonged standing or lying on your back in later pregnancy.) If your body isn't able to adjust when you stand up, not enough blood returns to your heart from your legs and your blood pressure drops quickly, which can leave you feeling faint. This can happen to people who aren't pregnant as well. If you sometimes feel faint when you stand up, avoid springing up from your chair or bed. When you're lying down, sit up slowly and stay sitting a few minutes with your legs dangling over the side of the bed. Then slowly rise from sitting to standing. If you're standing in one place for a long time, move your legs to promote circulation. Wearing support stockings can also help circulation in the lower half of your body.
• Lying on your back. In your second and third trimesters, your growing uterus can slow blood flow in your legs by compressing the inferior vena cava (the large vein that returns blood from the lower half of the body back to the heart) and the pelvic veins. Lying flat on your black can make this problem worse. (In fact, about 8 percent of pregnant women in their second and third trimesters develop a condition called supine hypotensive syndrome: When they lie on their back, their heart rate increases, their blood pressure drops, and they feel anxious, lightheaded, and nauseated until they shift their position.) To avoid this problem, lie on your side instead of flat on your back — either side is better than your back, though the left side works best. A pillow placed behind you or under your hip can help you stay in a side-lying position (or at least tilted enough to keep your uterus from compressing the vena cava).
• Not enough food and drink. When you don't eat enough, you can end up with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can make you feel dizzy or faint — and this can happen much more easily when you're pregnant. Dehydration can have a similar affect. Make sure you stay well hydrated by drinking eight to ten gla__ses of water a day — more if you're exercising or if it's hot. Try to keep your blood sugar from getting too low by eating small frequent meals during the day instead of three large ones. Carry healthy snacks with you so you can eat when you get hungry.
• Anemia. You may feel lightheaded if you're anemic because you have fewer red blood cells carrying oxygen to your brain and other organs. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia, so be sure to take your prenatal vitamin, especially in your second and third trimesters. If you become anemic, your caregiver will probably prescribe a separate iron supplement as well.
• Getting overheated. Spending time in a very hot room or taking a hot bath or shower can cause your blood vessels to dilate, lowering your blood pressure and making you woozy. If you feel dizzy when you get hot, avoid hot crowded places and wear clothing in layers so you can shed some as necessary. Take warm instead of hot showers or baths, and try to keep the bathroom cool.
• Hyperventilation. Excessive exercise or anxiety can sometimes cause you to hyperventilate and feel faint. Although exercise can help your circulation, be careful not to overdo it if you're feeling tired or not well. Start out slowly. If you start to feel lightheaded or dizzy while exercising, stop and lie down.
• Vasovagal syncope. Some people get dizzy when they strain to cough, pee, or have a bowel movement. These actions can sometimes prompt a "vasovagal" response (this is the effect of your vagus nerve on your circulatory system): a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate, leading to dizziness and fainting. Dehydration, anxiety, or pain can also trigger this type of fainting, sometimes called vasovagal syncope, and pregnant women are again more vulnerable to it. It's often preceded by lightheadedness and other warning signs, such as a feeling of warmth, paleness, sweating, nausea, yawning, and hyperventilation. Paying attention to these signs and lying down immediately will often keep you from fainting.
When should I call my doctor or midwife?
Feeling lightheaded from heat, hunger, or getting up too fast can just be a part of being pregnant. However, if the simple measures discussed above don't relieve the problem or if you have any concerns, don't hesitate to get help. Be sure to call your healthcare provider if you have persistent lightheadedness or frequent bouts of dizziness, or if your dizziness could be the result of a recent head injury.
Call right away if dizziness is accompanied by severe headaches, blurred vision, impaired speech, palpitations, numbness or tingling, or bleeding, or if you actually faint. Any of these symptoms could be a sign of a more serious problem that could affect you or your baby. Also, early in pregnancy, abdominal pain accompanied by dizziness could be a sign of ectopic pregnancy and needs immediate attention.