What is vertigo during pregnancy?

Spinning vertigo describes a form of vertigo in which those affected feel as if they were spinning and rotating like in a carousel. It is thus in contrast to vertigo. Vertigo in pregnancy can be traced back to numerous causes.

In most cases, there are minor malfunctions of the cardiovascular system that can appear as a result of temporary hormonal influences. Spinning vertigo can be very uncomfortable, keep pregnant women awake at night, cause further circulatory problems and, in severe cases, cause nausea, vomiting and loss of consciousness.

The causes of dizziness also depend heavily on the time of pregnancy, as the demands on the body can change significantly within the 9 months. In principle, vertigo during pregnancy is not a threatening disease. However, if particularly severe or long-lasting symptoms occur, as well as an accompanying fainting, a medical evaluation should urgently be carried out.

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The causes of vertigo during pregnancy can be traced back to different serious and threatening diseases. Often there are also harmless physiological processes in the body behind the temporary symptom. The stage of pregnancy also has a major influence on the underlying cause of the vertigo.

In the first few months of pregnancy, it is primarily hormonal changes that are behind the circulatory problems. Hormones such as progesterone can trigger various processes in the body, which can lead to fluctuations in blood pressure and changes in the body's water balance.

Insufficient blood pressure and insufficient blood volume can manifest themselves in attacks of dizziness and even fainting. These problems can arise especially when lying down or after getting up quickly.

In addition to the hormonal processes, the size and weight of the child can lead to further stress in the course of pregnancy. Under certain circumstances, the child can compress the inferior vena cava in the mother's body, which means that the venous blood can no longer be transported sufficiently to the heart.

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This can also lead to severe circulatory problems. In addition to the already considerable circulatory stress in pregnancy, individual harmless, otherwise harmless factors can cause vertigo.

These can be increased insulin secretion in the case of gestational diabetes, overheating from hot baths or sports, as well as sauna visits. It is not uncommon for the numerous physical changes to lead to psychogenic dizziness as a psychological reaction to the physical stress and strain.


The diagnosis of vertigo during pregnancy is primarily made clinically. This means that a medical history and a brief physical exam are often enough to make a diagnosis. A slight vertigo that occurs occasionally is nothing to worry about during pregnancy.

These include, above all, typical factors such as getting up quickly, lying down, exertion, and psychological stress, which are recorded in the anamnesis. In practice, too, the vertigo symptoms can often be provoked by standing up quickly. However, very strong symptoms or accompanying fainting are grounds for further diagnosis.

Above all, this includes a blood pressure measurement and a blood test. Low blood pressure or anemia can be diagnosed and then treated.

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Other accompanying symptoms

Depending on the cause of the vertigo during pregnancy, other accompanying symptoms may also occur. The most common form of vertigo is due to low blood pressure while the blood sinks into the veins of the legs.

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In addition to low blood pressure and vertigo, it can lead to fatigue, unsteady gait, blurred vision and a racing heart. Rarely, water retention and swelling of the legs can also occur.

If you also faint, you must urgently see a doctor, otherwise the mother and child can be harmed. Profuse sweating, on the other hand, can indicate overheating. In particular, stressful work, spending time in the sun or doing sports should be avoided in these cases.

Accompanying symptoms such as strong thirst or cravings can follow in the case of gestational diabetes.


Treatment must be based on the severity of the symptoms and the underlying cause. Most cases of vertigo do not require therapy because they are temporary and self-limiting.

When the pregnancy ends, dizziness stops immediately in almost all cases. In order to control the dizziness with more severe consequences, such as sudden fainting, as far as possible, the pregnant woman must pay attention to her physical condition and avoid triggering factors.

This includes avoiding high loads, heat and stress and allowing the body to rest on difficult days. The most important everyday measures are to drink and eat enough and to sleep regularly.

Due to the increased workload and care for the child, the amount of food and drink that a pregnant woman should consume increases. If there are more complex metabolic diseases such as gestational diabetes or anemia, a doctor-guided treatment may also have to take place against the underlying cause.

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The duration of the vertigo symptoms can vary widely.Typically, recurrent vertigo can occur throughout the pregnancy, but are harmless overall. A vertigo attack should normally not last longer than a few minutes.

Furthermore, during pregnancy there are often clear daily fluctuations in terms of the severity of the symptoms. As a rule, symptom-free days occur again and again between days with pronounced vertigo. With the end of pregnancy, the vertigo often stops suddenly.

Course of disease

The course of the disease is very variable and unpredictable during pregnancy. The strong hormonal fluctuations can permanently cause symptoms to appear suddenly.

Normally there are symptom-free days between the vertigo attacks. For this reason, vertigo that lasts for weeks with accompanying symptoms should be clarified by a doctor.

Can vertigo be a sign of pregnancy?

Vertigo can also be the first sign of pregnancy. In combination with vomiting and nausea, dizziness is a very common symptom in the first few weeks of pregnancy.

This is due to the sudden hormonal changes that occur in the first few weeks of the embryo's development.

Read more about this under: Signs of pregnancy

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