Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway

At some point during her pregnancy, a patient might complain of dizziness or “fainting.”  However, the challenge is to determine if this is an isolated incident or does the patient need additional tests?

True fainting (or syncope) means that there has been a temporary loss of consciousness and the patient is no longer standing.  This usually occurs when there is a temporary decrease in the blood flow to the brain. The most common reason patients faint is because of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), especially during the first trimester. However, hypoglycemia does not explain all reasons for fainting.

During pregnancy, the blood vessels are opened wide (dilated) which sometimes decreases the amount of blood flowing within the chambers of the heart. It therefore beats slower. A slow heart beat (aka bradycardia) produces symptoms of dizziness or fainting.  However, there are also serious conditions that also cause fainting and it’s important to…

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