Circulatory problems during pregnancy – what helps?

Pregnant woman at desk touching her forehead with one hand because of discomfort

Circulatory problems in the 1st or 2nd trimester of pregnancy are usually not a cause for concern. (Source: PeopleImages/Getty Images)
Many women struggle with circulatory problems in early pregnancy. Read what helps – and when a doctor’s visit is due.

Circulatory problems are not uncommon for expectant mothers, especially in the first third (first trimester) to the end of the first half of pregnancy . For example, pregnant women are more likely to suffer from dizziness and feel tired and weak.

The symptoms are often particularly severe when standing for long periods of time. If blood pressure suddenly drops, possible symptoms include sweating, nausea, cold skin, paleness, dizziness and “blacking” in front of the eyes – even short-term fainting. However, with appropriate measures, circulatory problems during pregnancy can usually be effectively counteracted.

Where do circulatory problems come from during pregnancy?

Circulatory problems during pregnancy are very unpleasant, but in most cases they are not a cause for concern. The symptoms arise from physical changes that accompany pregnancy.

In the 1st trimester and the first half of the 2nd trimester, the body first has to adjust to the pregnancy. This results in some changes: The blood vessels become wider, so blood pressure is lower than usual. At the same time, the amount of blood increases by 30 to 50 percent to nourish the growing baby. The heart has to work harder and faster to pump blood throughout the body, which puts strain on the circulatory system.

External factors such as standing for long periods of time or summer heat can also promote circulatory attacks. In addition, blood sugar levels drop more easily during pregnancy due to changes in metabolism. This can exacerbate existing circulatory problems.

Even if worries are usually unfounded, the expectant mother should not ignore circulatory problems, but rather follow a few tips. If the circulation suddenly drops, a fall can result – which in turn poses a danger to the unborn child.

Circulatory problems during pregnancy: what helps?

The following measures can be useful for acute circulatory problems during pregnancy:

  • Sit down immediately and elevate your legs.
  • If there is no place to sit: Tread on the spot and repeatedly clench your fists to temporarily increase your blood pressure.
  • Give yourself regular periods of rest.
  • Try not to stand for too long.
  • Drink enough, such as water, unsweetened teas or fruit spritzers.

In order to prevent circulatory problems during pregnancy while traveling, it is also advisable to always have something to eat (e.g. apples or cookies) and a drink with you.

Morning contrast showers can get your circulation going. Alternatively, pregnant women can sprinkle a few drops of rosemary oil on a damp washcloth and wash their arms and legs . A brush massage can also have a stimulating effect on the circulation. It is also important to make sure you get enough sleep.

Unless there is nothing against it from a medical perspective, regular exercise is recommended to strengthen circulation – ideally outdoors. For example, long walks, swimming or cycling are well suited.

If the symptoms are severe, the doctor may prescribe medication to counteract the circulatory problems.

Circulatory problems during pregnancy: when to see a doctor?

Circulation problems in the 1st or early 2nd trimester are usually harmless. Pregnant women should consult a doctor, especially if:

  • the symptoms are very pronounced.
  • There are previous illnesses, such as cardiovascular diseases.
  • You experience symptoms such as dizziness more often or for the first time in the second half of pregnancy.

There may be an illness that requires treatment. Regular check-ups are necessary, especially if you already have known heart problems such as heart failure .


Circulatory problems during pregnancy are not uncommon, especially in the 1st trimester and the first half of the 2nd trimester. This usually happens because the body is adjusting to pregnancy. If you have acute symptoms, simple measures such as elevating your feet can help. In the long term, regular exercise, contrast showers or brush massages, for example, stimulate circulation. Medical advice is required if the symptoms are very severe and/or persist into the second half of the pregnancy. If the expectant mother has a previous illness such as heart failure, regular medical check-ups are recommended.


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