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Dizziness & Fainting

Symptoms:

Sensation of dizziness and fainting with or without actual episode.   Common during long periods of standing like while waiting in the grocery or post office check out line.   Also common when rapidly changing position from lying down to upright positions.   

    

Why it happens: 

Predisposing factors in pregnancy include increased vascular resistance, vasodilation and venous pooling in the legs.  Orthostatic or postural hypotension occurs with rapid position changes.  This leads to drop in cardiac output and a drop in blood pressure reducing cerebral blood flow and causing the sensation of dizziness.    Hypoglycemic episodes in pregnancy can also lead to dizziness or syncope.   

Relief Measures: 

Goal is to prevent injury.   

  1. Arise from bed slowly.  

  2. Avoid extended periods of standing when possible. 

  3. Walk in place to promote venous return during those times when standing  is unavoidable.  

  4. Eat small meals or snacks every few hours during the day. 

  5. Maintain adequate hydration.   

  6.  Consider compression stockings for women in occupations requiring prolonged standing. 

  7. Avoid overheating. 

  8. Avoid closed-in areas with limited ventilation.   

  9. Let your midwife know if you experience dizziness that is associated with chest pain or significant shortness of breath or loss of consciousness resulting in injury as this could indicate maternal cardiac disease that warrants referral for further evaluation.  

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