The circulatory system undergoes several changes during pregnancy. One of the most frequently-encountered problems which women face during the second and third trimesters is bad circulation in pregnancy, particularly leg cramps. This sudden stiffening of the leg muscles can sometimes be very painful. The reasons for developing such cramps during pregnancy are not clear; however changes in blood circulation during pregnancy, the stress on the leg muscles caused by carrying the extra weight of the baby are cited as probable factors contributing to the cramps.
While bad circulation in pregnancy does not pose a threat, if it is accompanied by redness, swelling or a warm feeling, you should consult your doctor. There are very simple exercises which could help you prevent leg cramps during pregnancy. Stretching your legs before you go to sleep could help in the reduction of stress on your leg muscles. When you straighten your legs, you must stretch your heels first and do some circular motions with your toes, clock and anti clock-wise. While doing the exercises, avoid pointing your toes.
The other thing you need to avoid is to remaining one position, standing or sitting, for a long period of time. Being in one position would restrict the blood flow and can cause circulatory problems. During pregnancy, some simple but effective exercises like walking promotes blood circulation. Leg cramps can also be treated with gentle massage or application of a warm towel round the legs
It is not uncommon to feel a bit light-headed during pregnancy. This is due to the fact that during this period, the cardiovascular system can undergo some very quick changes, with heart rate going up and the heart pumping more blood per minute. Even the quantum of blood in your body increases by 40 to 45%. During normal pregnancy, you would experience a reduction in blood pressure during the early stages. This reaches its lowest point some time in the middle of pregnancy and then starts to rise till it reaches normal level at the end of pregnancy. While the cardiovascular and the nervous system can handle these changes, at times it fails to do so and it can result in a feeling of dizzy and light-headed. So long as you do not faint as a result of this light-headedness there is no cause for worry. You just have to lie down so that you do not fall down and hurt yourself. If you are in a place where lying down is not possible, you could sit down for some time and try to put your head between your knees.
One of the ways you could prevent this feeling of light-headedness during pregnancy is to always try to lie down on your left, as then it is easy for the blood to flow to your heart and the brain. Here is some more information on the causes of light-headedness during pregnancy and how you can prevent them:
Never change your body position too fast. For instance, if you are lying down, do not get up too fast and if you are sitting, do not stand up with a jerk.
When you are stationary in one position, keep on twirling your legs from one position to the other. This will promote circulation.
Avoid lying down on your back during the second and third semesters. This affects the blood circulation negatively. Your heart rate will increase, blood pressure may drop and you may feel light-headed, dizzy or nausea. Instead it is safer to lie on your side than flat on the back.
Drink enough fluids and eat properly. When you do not eat well, your blood sugar level drops and result in your feeling dizzy and uneasy. If you do not feel like eating at the right time, keep on having small quantities of food at regular intervals.
Iron deficiency anemia is responsible for having fewer amounts of blood cells to carry the oxygen to your brain. Make your diet iron-rich so that you have enough blood to feed your heart and brain.