Is it normal to feel dizzy while you're pregnant?

Q: Is it normal to feel dizzy while you're pregnant? I'm worried I may have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

A: Dizziness during pregnancy is common and can be due to many changes going on in your body at this time. For one thing, your heart is pumping more blood than usual, your heart rate speeds up, and your circulation slows down, all of which can make you feel faint or dizzy, especially if you get up from sitting or lying down too quickly. Becoming dehydrated can also leave you light-headed, so make sure you're getting plenty of fluids -- at least 64 ounces a day. Later on in pregnancy, pressure from your expanding uterus (or even the position of your baby) can compress major blood vessels and cause you to feel dizzy.

If the dizziness is persistent, however, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may be to blame. Or it could be anemia, a condition that can result from not getting enough iron. You should talk to your doctor about how you're feeling so he or she can help get to the bottom of what's responsible for your symptoms. Your doctor will most likely test your blood to find out if either low blood sugar levels or anemia is responsible for your dizziness. Hypoglycemia is not very common during pregnancy, but when it does occur it can usually be managed by eating smaller, more frequent meals and not allowing yourself to get too hungry. Stash some healthy snacks -- granola bars, cheese and crackers, or chopped-up veggies -- in your purse, car, or desk drawer or fridge at work so you never have to worry about going too long without grazing. This should help keep your blood sugar levels stable. If it turns out that you're anemic, the problem can usually be solved by adding an additional iron supplement to your daily vitamin regimen.

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