Breathlessness - Dizziness

This is a common complaint in pregnancy and worsens as the pregnant uterus grows. In late pregnancy, the bowels are pushed higher in the abdomen and the movement of the diaphragm is limited. This results in breathlessness with minimal exertion.

The remedy is to try to find a comfortable position. Sometimes a third trimester scan of the baby is required as there may be a big baby or excessive fluid around the baby. A check for diabetes may also be warranted.

If a pregnant woman is breathless at rest, she should be investigated for heart, lung and clotting problems (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus).

This symptom should not be ignored as the consequences may be severe.

This symptom can occur at any time during the pregnancy but is most common in the first trimester. Changes occur to a woman’s body early on in pregnancy. One of the changes is a drop in blood pressure.

Ordinarily when we move from lying to sitting and to standing, our body adjusts our blood pressure in a split second. In pregnancy, these adjustments happen more slowly. If a pregnant woman stands up too quickly, the blood pressure drops and she feels dizzy and faint. There may also be stars in her vision. Eventually, the blood pressure adjusts and the dizziness resolves.

Women need to learn to move more slowly when pregnant as they risk fainting and hurting their abdomen. This is easier said than done as modern day women lead very busy lives.

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