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During the first three months of pregnancy the hormone progesterone makes the blood vessels dilate and this has the effect of lowering blood pressure.

This may make you feel faint, especially if you have to stand for any length of time. After the first three months the a pregnant woman's volume of blood increases and faintness becomes less of a problem. Although this can be an irritating problem, it is seldom anything to worry about, and your baby isn't at any risk.

You can take various steps to try to avoid feeling faint. These include:

keep your fluid intake up. Drinking a full glass of water will have an almost immediate effect on blood volume;

  • always get up gently, as standing up suddenly may make your blood pressure drop dramatically;
  • sit down if you feel faint, and put your head between your knees - try to avoid actually passing out;
  • eat small amounts regularly especially if you have any morning sickness. Low blood sugar will aggravate the feelings of faintness;
  • mention this to your midwife or doctor who may want to check that you aren't anaemic.

Towards the end of pregnancy the weight of the abdomen pressing on the main blood vessels may also make you feel faint, especially if you lie on your back. You may be one of around 10% of women who are particularly affected by this during pregnancy. Lying on your side brings about a rapid recovery.

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