Dizziness is when you feel light-headed, weak, unsteady or as if you might faint.
Many pregnant women feel dizzy at times. It is sometimes the first sign that you are pregnant.
Dizziness is common in weeks 0 to 13 of pregnancy.
When to get medical help
Contact your GP immediately if you feel faint and have any of the following symptoms:
- bleeding from your vagina
- pain in your tummy
- severe dizziness that does not go away
- pain in your chest
- shortness of breath
- irregular or too fast heart beat
- blurred vision
Go to your GP immediately if you have fainted and hurt yourself, especially if you hit your head.
If a pregnant woman has fainted you should:
- Gently put her on the ground and roll her onto her left side, with her left knee pulled up towards her chest.
- Call 999 if she does not wake up after 2 minutes.
- Stay with her until she wakes up or help arrives.
What to do if you feel faint
If you feel faint then you should:
- tell someone - they can support you and get help if needed
- sit down and lower your head towards your legs
- lie down on your side
- remove tight or warm clothing
- get someone to open a window - do not try to move or go outside
- drink some water
- have a snack
Signs you might faint
You might faint if you feel any of the following signs:
- blurred vision or spots in front of your eyes
- ringing sound in your ears
- sweating or feeling cold and clammy
- feeling sick
- fast or unusually deep breathing
If you faint you will usually be unconscious for 20 seconds. It is normal to feel disorientated for a few seconds after you wake. You may feel tired and weak for 30 minutes or more after fainting.
Prevent dizziness and fainting
You can help prevent dizziness and fainting by:
- getting out of bed slowly - sit on the side of the bed for a minute before standing
- avoiding very hot baths or showers
- getting out of the bath or shower slowly and carefully
- avoiding standing for long periods of time
- never skipping meals - even if you have morning sickness, eat small amounts of food often
- drinking plenty of fluids
- doing small amounts of exercise often, to improve your circulation
- avoiding lying on your back, especially from your second trimester onwards
Causes of dizziness and fainting
The main causes of dizziness and fainting during pregnancy are:
- hormone changes - this can cause your blood pressure to drop, allowing less blood to get to your brain
- low blood sugar - keep a snack with you and avoid skipping meals
- low iron levels
- reduced circulation - as your womb grows it will put pressure on the blood vessels in the lower part of your body
- lying on your back