Did You Know That Pregnant Women Faint?
This was a BIG surprise to me.
At a mere 10 weeks pregnant, I found myself at the bank, on the floor, living a real life episode of Scrubs. There were all of these faces staring down at me in a circle, and for a moment I couldn't understand what they were saying. I quickly realized that a quick transaction had landed me on the floor of the bank.
It also bought me a ticket for an ambulance ride to the hospital and the grand gift of a concussion, as well as a lovely a contusion on my elbow. When I asked the ER doctor why this happened, his answer was quite simple: "Pregnant women faint." Apparently, this is common knowledge, but I was flabbergasted. I had been eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water, getting in light exercise, and sleeping regularly.
Why did this happen? I spoke with Dr. David Blann, OBGYN at Covenant Medical Group, who broke down the reasoning for this occurrence.
"The uterus rests on the vena cava, a big blood vessel that returns blood from the lower extremities to the heart to allow the heart to pump it to the brain," Dr. Blann told me. "When there is an obstruction by a pregnant uterus to that flow, there is less to pump to the brain. Fainting is the body’s safety mechanism – when you lie down, there is less obstruction and more blood flow to the brain."
Those ladies who already have low blood pressure or anemia are much more likely to have this instance occur. Unfortunately, the American Heart Association notes that "women who faint during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, may have a higher risk of preterm delivery, abnormal heart rhythms, or birth defects in their infants and other adverse outcomes, compared to pregnant women who do not faint."
Thus, even if you just have dizzy spells it's important to speak with your physician about your symptoms, potential causes, and solutions.
How to Prevent Fainting During Pregnancy
First and foremost, take your prenatal vitamins and make sure that they have ample iron in them. This could help remedy any anemia issues that may occur during pregnancy. Second, don't stand for prolonged periods of time, and make a point to never lock your knees. Third, and most importantly, if you suddenly start feeling dizzy, hot, nauseous or begin to see spots, immediately sit down. Put your head between your legs and breathe slowly and deeply. Drink some water and don't rush getting up. Wait until you feel better.
While this may seem like an embarrassing act when in line at the bank, a concussion is much worse. Trust me.