When the Unexpected Strikes: Tips to Maintain Good Circulation

Author: Shannon Miller

Don’t take a chance on getting lightheaded when you are pregnant; here’s how to improve blood circulation.

There are always  new and surprising things about pregnancy, even for those that have “been there done that.” Each day, each week is a learning experience.

After becoming light headed toward the tail end of a 30 minute speech a couple of weeks ago, I decided I needed to learn more. First things first; both me and baby were checked out fully to rule out any major issues. All good. My next step was to do everything I could to prevent a reoccurrence.

I figured I wasn’t the only woman on earth to have this trouble. Depending on your job or lifestyle you may spend many hours sitting or you may spend many hours on your feet each day. Either of these extremes can be difficulty during pregnancy.

I tend to do a bit of both. Some days I’m sitting for hours on end (airplanes, behind a computer) and other days I’m standing behind a podium for 45 minutes at a time giving speeches. We know that it’s important to get up at least once per hour and move around if you find yourself sitting for long periods. It’s important to keep the blood flowing.

According to MayoClinic.com Your blood vessels dilate in response to pregnancy hormones. Until your blood volume expands to fill them, your blood pressure will fall and you might experience occasional dizziness. If you’re having trouble with dizziness, drink plenty of fluids and rise slowly after lying or sitting down. When you feel dizzy, lie on your left side to restore your blood pressure.

While traveling it’s important to take occasional walks up and down the aisle (if on a plane) or stop at a rest stop (if driving). If you must remain seated try flexing and pointing your ankles.

I knew that standing was sometimes hard on my feet later in pregnancy but I didn’t see it as an issue early on. And certainly didn’t foresee the light headedness that struck suddenly in front of 500 people! I learned, however, that this can be typical during pregnancy and the most important thing to do is take precautions to help prevent a sudden onset or manage it if does happen.

One helpful tip I received from a friend and certified diabetes educator was to do calf raises during my talks. (I’ve practiced a bit and figured out a way to do them without being completely obvious, lol) This is a trick any woman can use!

Extra tips:

  • If you feel light headed try to safely find a seat as quickly as possible. You do not want to risk a fall during pregnancy. (Most of us have been told not to lock our knees while standing; this is a good rule of thumb as well.)
  • Stay hydrated. Keep up with your water intake, avoid caffeinated beverage when possible and use a sports drink for extra electrolytes.
  • Get up stretch and walk around each hour. It doesn’t need to take long but it’s important to move your body. Walking, swimming and the elliptical trainer (be cautious of your balance as your center of gravity shifts) are great ways to exercise as well.

So I’ll be doing my calf raises each day, staying better hydrated and looking forward to the next surprise. (Might there be a gender announcement soon???!!!)

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