When you first found out you were pregnant, you experienced a whirlwind of emotion, announcements and excitement, so you may have pushed the occasional dizzy spell out of your mind. Repeated vertigo issues, however, can cause alarm. Vertigo during pregnancy is not uncommon and is usually harmless, but in some instances, it can require medical attention.
Vertigo is a feeling of dizziness. Some have described it as the room spinning. Sometimes it is accompanied by nausea and vomiting. It can last for a few seconds or can go on for hours at a time. The primary concern with vertigo during pregnancy is that you could fall and injure yourself or the baby.
Many women describe having certain things that trigger their vertigo during pregnancy. Some have an episode when they move their heads in a certain way. Other women find that just getting out of bed too quickly, or shifting from a sitting to a lying position sets the room spinning.
Early in the pregnancy, bouts of vertigo can occur as hormones begin to rise. This hormonal increase causes your blood vessels to relax and become larger, which causes a drop in your blood pressure, according to the MayoClinic.com. Though the enlarged vessels provide adequate blood to your baby, they are less effective at pumping blood through your body. The resulting vertigo is a natural reaction to the extended period of time it takes for the blood to reach your brain. In this case, the vertigo usually begins during the first trimester and can last a few weeks or through the duration of the pregnancy.
Low blood sugar will also cause vertigo. Doctors generally order a blood glucose test at some point during the pregnancy to check for gestational diabetes and may discover you have low blood sugar. Low blood sugar interferes with the body’s ability to pump blood back to the brain quickly; thus the woman becomes dizzy. Low blood sugar during pregnancy is typically due to changing metabolism.
Pregnant women who experience low blood pressure accompanied by visual disturbances may be suffering from anemia, according to the American Pregnancy Association. In addition, anemia creates a backdrop for vertigo to move in.
Your first response when vertigo strikes is to sit down. Prevent yourself from falling and possibly injuring yourself or your baby. Once the vertigo dissipates, getting some fresh air can help stop the episode entirely. In addition, eating a small snack that contains protein and drinking a glass of water can stabilize your blood sugar, in case that was the cause of the vertigo.
Severe dizziness alone, or accompanied by a headache can indicate a serious medical issue. Severe anemia or toxemia both cause vertigo to occur. If your vertigo is severe, frequent or accompanied by other symptoms, seek medical advice.