Vertigo and pregnancy: symptoms, causes and risks

Vertiges et grossesse : symptômes, causes et risques

Are you pregnant and frequently dizzy? Should you be alarmed? There's no need to worry: dizziness is very common during pregnancy. Elia explains everything you need to know about it!

What causes dizziness during pregnancy?

Dizziness or malaise occurs when not enough blood reaches your brain. This happens more regularly during pregnancy. There are many reasons for this.

Change in blood pressure

The primary cause of dizziness during pregnancy is blood pressure. Pregnant women often have lower blood pressure than others. This is due to the hormone progesterone, which widens the walls of the blood vessels, reducing the amount of blood reaching the brain.

This type of dizziness can be particularly noticeable when you stand up too quickly, or if you've been walking or standing for a long time.

Hypoglycemia or anemia

Hypoglycemia can also cause vertigo. During pregnancy, the mother-to-be's blood sugar mechanisms are modified. Then, at the start of pregnancy, with the effect of estrogen and progesterone, β-cells increase in both volume and number.

As a result, the insulin response to glucose increases, lowering maternal blood glucose levels by around 10%. This favors hypoglycemia, even more so if you 're away from meals. Hypoglycemia is characterized by dizziness, sweating and weakness.

Anemia, i.e. low ferritin levels, can also lead to dizziness. Other symptoms of anemia include paleness, fatigue and shortness of breath on exertion and at rest.

When does dizziness occur during pregnancy?

Dizziness can occur at different times during pregnancy.

Early pregnancy

At the start of pregnancy, as a result of hormonal changes, blood circulation changes, with changes in heart rate and estrogen blood flow, leading to a drop in blood pressure.

Late pregnancy

At the end of pregnancy, apart from fatigue, one phenomenon can lead to dizziness: compression of the vena cava when lying down. The more the uterus expands, the more it presses on the vena cava. This compression slows venous blood flow and blood pressure.

Is dizziness dangerous for pregnant women?

Dizziness is common during pregnancy. However, if the intensity of dizziness increases abnormally and blood pressure shows abnormalities, consult your gynecologist. Especially if your dizziness is accompanied by clinical signs.

Abdominal bleeding and pain may indicate a miscarriage, extra uterine pregnancy or placental problem. Talk to your healthcare professional to assess the risks.

If your dizziness is also associated with severe headaches, edema, increased blood pressure or blurred vision, it may be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition for both mother and child.

How can I avoid dizziness during pregnancy?

There's no miracle solution to avoid vertigo. But there are a few simple things you can do to limit your dizziness:

  • Don't get up too quickly;
  • Eat a balanced and sufficient diet at regular intervals. You can also carry a snack with you if you feel hungry or have low energy levels;
  • Choose iron-rich foods;
  • Keep sufficiently hydrated: at least 2l of water a day;
  • If you feel dizzy when lying down, lie on your left side: this will prevent your organs from pressing on one of your blood vessels;
  • Dress in such a way that you can easily remove the layers if you get too hot.

Dizziness is mostly benign, so there's no need to panic! If they become too frequent and/or disabling, speak to your doctor, who will prescribe a blood test to check that all is well.

Pregnancy dizziness FAQ

Do dizzy spells appear after 1 week of pregnancy?

Generally speaking, the first week of pregnancy is not yet marked by symptoms. Dizziness may appear during the first trimester, due to the hormonal changes that pregnancy brings about.

What deficiencies cause dizziness during pregnancy?

Anemia (lack of iron) is the main cause of dizziness. Your doctor may prescribe an anemic treatment if a deficiency is detected after a blood test.

What's the difference between vertigo and malaise?

Vertigo is characterized by a spinning head, whereas fainting is a loss of consciousness. It's normal to feel dizzy during pregnancy, but if you feel faint, it's a sign that your pregnancy is at risk. If you feel faint for the first time, consult your doctor immediately.

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The information contained in the articles on is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.