Lightheaded while lying down - even on my side? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 01-04-2009, 03:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The past few nights, I have been waking up frequently and feeling very strange. I can't really describe what feels wrong, though I have a little shortness of breath and fluttery feelings in my chest. Lying on my left side doesn't seem to improve things.

I have a home blood pressure monitor and found that when I lie down (again, on my left side), my BP drops immediately. In an instant my diastolic can go from 80 down to 45. I'm pretty sure I have POTS anyhow, so I am used to dizziness and strange autonomic responses on standing, but I've never felt so odd and uncomfortable just resting before.

So... is this just a normal pregnancy thing? Are any of you ladies experiencing something like this?

Gallifreyan nerdfighter :, doting partner to the sasquatch , mama to the boss : (10/05) and the new little one (4/14/09). :: and hoping to :
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#2 of 13 Old 01-04-2009, 04:25 AM
 
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That seems a little bit alarming. It must be scary. I would talk to my mw/ob. Good Luck, hopefully it's something common and easy to deal with. Does BP drop when you're on your right side? If not, I'd sleep on that side. Sleeping on your left side is good, but not really that imperative. Take care.

Oh, I just read the POTS link and it says many patients experience symptoms even when lying down. PG can really mess with your system and worsen (or improve) pre-existing conditions. So, that could be the case here. I'd still check with a medical provider.

Mama to one little blur, watching everything move too fast. Eden 4/10/2009.
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#3 of 13 Old 01-04-2009, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you... that helps. Thanks also for pointing out the part about symptoms while lying down. I'd totally forgotten about that.

Yes, it drops when I am on my right side, too. It raises a bit when I'm on my back, but I get pains when I stay there for more than a few seconds.

I did call the nurse and was told that the doctor would call back within 20 minutes... but she didn't. I feel like my concern is probably not very urgent in comparison with what else they must be dealing with today, so I'll call about it on Monday.

Gallifreyan nerdfighter :, doting partner to the sasquatch , mama to the boss : (10/05) and the new little one (4/14/09). :: and hoping to :
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#4 of 13 Old 01-04-2009, 05:49 PM
 
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I know it's not a good permanent solution, but maybe just tonight it might be more comfortable to sleep in a recliner until the dr gets back to you? GL.

Mama to one little blur, watching everything move too fast. Eden 4/10/2009.
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#5 of 13 Old 01-04-2009, 10:29 PM
 
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any chance it is blood sugar related?

transtichel.gifMom of three - (2.5 yrs, 7yrs, and 11yrs). Birthing Doula, editor, and wife to my soulmate. I've had a c/s, hospital VBAC, UC and not yet decided what I'll do about this next little one

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#6 of 13 Old 01-05-2009, 12:45 AM
 
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That is a little alarming, I will say that I do have POTS. I was diagnosed this last summer after a positive tilt table test but my symptoms seem to be better with pregnancy. I don't get dizzy as often as I used to and I think part of it is from the increased blood volume. Before I got pregnant I would have to drink tons of fluids to keep from feeling dizzy/having heart palpitations/tachycardia. I definitely don't feel good when I lie on my back for any amount of time which makes u/s hard for me but I haven't had any issues lying on either side. my blood pressure tends toward the low side when I am resting too but fluctuates when I am up and around. I would probably try sleeping propped up with a ton of pillows and maybe elevate your legs.

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#7 of 13 Old 01-05-2009, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Now I have to vent. I should have known better than to call, I guess. This always happens...

I talked to the nurse this morning. She said it sounds like normal pregnancy stuff, and that I'm probably dehydrated or changing position too quickly. I have a really difficult time talking to medical professionals, and always end up feeling I didn't get my point across. There's no way on earth I'm not drinking enough water, and the lightheadedness isn't related to movement.... it, in fact, gets worse the longer I lie still.

Then she said "Don't worry unless you have shortness of breath" and I said "Well, I do have shortness of breath when this happens" and she replied "That's normal during pregnancy."

So I gave up, thanked her for the advice, hung up, and cried. (I'm a person who rarely cries, but if I am crying, you can bet it's because i just talked to a doctor or nurse.

Steedalyn, what was your experience before getting diagnosed with POTS?

Nobody at my clinic seems to know that this syndrome exists--even the cardiologists. My cardiologist himself is good to me and did find some problems nobody's bothered to look for before (and scheduled a tilt-table test for after the pregnancy), but several other people have been awful.

One time after I lost vision and collapsed, the practicioner who saw me afterward accused me of making it all up because "You're too young to have this happening to you". She yelled at me until I broke down and cried in the office, then wrote "has anxiety problems" in my chart (which I only found out about because the next nurse I spoke to was horrified at this comment and worried that it would prevent me from being listened to in the future). I'm a shy, quiet person and it's hard for me to go to the doctor in the first place... doubly hard to be treated like I'm a dishonest hypochondriac while I'm there.

It's not even like I'm at the doctor all the time. Before my problems got worse this past year, I hadn't gone to the doctor at all since my post-partum appointment 3 years prior! I hate going to the doctor and certainly wouldn't go there for something trivial or made up.

So now I try to avoid talking to any of them, if I can. I just wanted reassurance on this issue, because I know I'm not getting enough blood to my extremities, as I keep waking up in the night with my hands and feet tingly/asleep. I don't think it's neurotic of me to wonder if this might hurt the baby... or is it?

It comforts me that you all seem to think it was worth calling over, at least.

Thanks for listening...


Quote:
Originally Posted by HennyPenny View Post
any chance it is blood sugar related?
I don't think so. It happens each time I lie down and doesn't seem to be impacted by what or when I eat. I'm getting my GD screening in a couple weeks though.

Gallifreyan nerdfighter :, doting partner to the sasquatch , mama to the boss : (10/05) and the new little one (4/14/09). :: and hoping to :
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#8 of 13 Old 01-05-2009, 03:33 PM
 
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i didn't mean to downplay your symptoms. some of what you described - even the light headedness when laying down and chest flutterings can stem from unstabsle blood sugar. just to rule it out could you up your protein a lot and decreae any carbs for a few days? and no high fructose corn syrup - as that causes serious blood sugar problems.

another thought is caffeine - some people have very serious medical side effects.

i'm sorry about your dr/nurse experience. it's sick that they wouldn't take the time to listen to you. trust your instincts if you feel something might be wrong - don't let them talk you out of it.

transtichel.gifMom of three - (2.5 yrs, 7yrs, and 11yrs). Birthing Doula, editor, and wife to my soulmate. I've had a c/s, hospital VBAC, UC and not yet decided what I'll do about this next little one

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#9 of 13 Old 01-05-2009, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HennyPenny View Post
i didn't mean to downplay your symptoms.
Oh, I didn't think you were! It's a great suggestion. I actually do have issues with carbs (especially sugar and grains) and I feel much better eating a lot of protein, fruits, and veggies. But this particular problem persists, unfortunately.

Thanks for the support!

Gallifreyan nerdfighter :, doting partner to the sasquatch , mama to the boss : (10/05) and the new little one (4/14/09). :: and hoping to :
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#10 of 13 Old 01-05-2009, 06:35 PM
 
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Can you call another doctor? Is there a mw you could see. This just doesn't seem right. If your bp is dropping that low while you're sleeping, it should be a concern. You said you're shy...is there anyone you know (husband, partner, friend, mom) who could call and be persistent and even pushy if need be? There are just people out there who will bully you if they think it will make their day easier not to deal with you. I'm sorry this is happening to you, but I think that your gut instinct is right and you should persist in getting help. GL

Mama to one little blur, watching everything move too fast. Eden 4/10/2009.
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#11 of 13 Old 01-05-2009, 09:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasharna View Post
Now I have to vent. I should have known better than to call, I guess. This always happens...

I talked to the nurse this morning. She said it sounds like normal pregnancy stuff, and that I'm probably dehydrated or changing position too quickly. I have a really difficult time talking to medical professionals, and always end up feeling I didn't get my point across. There's no way on earth I'm not drinking enough water, and the lightheadedness isn't related to movement.... it, in fact, gets worse the longer I lie still.

Then she said "Don't worry unless you have shortness of breath" and I said "Well, I do have shortness of breath when this happens" and she replied "That's normal during pregnancy."

So I gave up, thanked her for the advice, hung up, and cried. (I'm a person who rarely cries, but if I am crying, you can bet it's because i just talked to a doctor or nurse.

Steedalyn, what was your experience before getting diagnosed with POTS?

Nobody at my clinic seems to know that this syndrome exists--even the cardiologists. My cardiologist himself is good to me and did find some problems nobody's bothered to look for before (and scheduled a tilt-table test for after the pregnancy), but several other people have been awful.

One time after I lost vision and collapsed, the practicioner who saw me afterward accused me of making it all up because "You're too young to have this happening to you". She yelled at me until I broke down and cried in the office, then wrote "has anxiety problems" in my chart (which I only found out about because the next nurse I spoke to was horrified at this comment and worried that it would prevent me from being listened to in the future). I'm a shy, quiet person and it's hard for me to go to the doctor in the first place... doubly hard to be treated like I'm a dishonest hypochondriac while I'm there.

It's not even like I'm at the doctor all the time. Before my problems got worse this past year, I hadn't gone to the doctor at all since my post-partum appointment 3 years prior! I hate going to the doctor and certainly wouldn't go there for something trivial or made up.

So now I try to avoid talking to any of them, if I can. I just wanted reassurance on this issue, because I know I'm not getting enough blood to my extremities, as I keep waking up in the night with my hands and feet tingly/asleep. I don't think it's neurotic of me to wonder if this might hurt the baby... or is it?

It comforts me that you all seem to think it was worth calling over, at least.

Thanks for listening...




I don't think so. It happens each time I lie down and doesn't seem to be impacted by what or when I eat. I'm getting my GD screening in a couple weeks though.
BIG for you hon!!! I soooo totally know what you are going through, in fact I could have written this post. For years I had problems with tachycardia, chest pain, numbness in my arms (especially the left one) and it scared the crap out of me but all the family doctors I went to just put me on beta blockers and sent me home. Eventually I would take myself off the beta blockers because they made me feel like crap even though they controlled my heartrate. I always get so frustrated with Doctors because I feel like I am not making myself clear enough or that they are jumping to conclusions based on only part of the information I have given them. I even asked an ER doc once if my symptoms could be from anxiety and he said probably not, it is more likely that your heart racing (and other symptoms) are making you feel anxious. It does sound like you have some POTS symptoms and it is worth getting checked out. I also had an echocardiogram and a 24hr holter monitor test way before the tilt table test. I am so lucky I got referred to a good cardiologist when we moved here because he has been so helpful in figuring out what was wrong with me and willing to investigate instead of just put me on meds and sending me home. Before I got pregnant I would get the numbness/tingling in my extremities (especially my arms would go completely numb and NOT from laying on them) when I would lie down at night but most of my symptoms seem to have gotten much better since I got pregnant. I don't think that would hurt the baby in itself though since your uterus takes a lot of priority for your circulation when you are pregnant. That could be why your symptoms are worse... Just a guess but if your uterus is demanding more blood flow from your body and you already have autonomic issues maybe that is why you are getting the numbness tingling now. I am not a Dr so don't take that as gospel or anything. I typically only had symptoms upon standing or being up for periods of time. Oh and my symptoms have changed over time. I used to get chest pain/pressure when I would get tachycardic but that hasn't happened in over a year. In the last year my symptoms were: dizziness upon standing or being up for any length of time, racing heart/palpitations, heaviness/puffiness in my legs if standing or sitting with my legs down for any length of time, and the numbness/tingling in my extremities. The dizziness was the worst though, especially when I was working nights, I had to leave work more than a few times because I was so dizzy. Drinking gatorade seemed to help a lot but then I got gastritis from drinking too much (it is acidic and I was drinking TONS of it). Also support hose have helped sooo much. You really need the firm support kind though (20-30mmhg at least) and they aren't cheap unfortunately. Also my cardiologist said to increase my salt intake along with increasing my fluid intake which helps too. He has been really great about respecting my wishes not to be on medications and suggesting other things I can do to help my symptoms (gatorade, support hose, eat more salt, etc.). I also developed a heart murmur early in my second trimester. The internal medicine doctor they sent me to to check it out (before I knew it was a murmur, I just had a strange feeling in my chest) was completely unhelpful and referred me to an electrophysiologist for the POTS (a cardiologist who specializes in the electrical function of the heart) which I DIDN'T NEED, plus they couldn't get me in for like 3-4 weeks and I was not comfortable with that. So I called my cardiologist and he got me in right away, listened to my heart, said I have a murmur and that it was probably no big deal, lots of pregnant women get them from the increased blood flow. He practically read my mind because I was still nervous about it (I mean HELLO, I have never had a heart murmur before and I didn't know you could FEEL them!) and he said "Would you feel better if you had an echo just to make sure?" I could have kissed him! I said yes, had the echo, and everything looked ok. Anyway, if you have a doctor who is willing to work with you and investigate and not just pass you off by putting you on medications or send you home saying you have "anxiety", that is the most important thing. They don't have to be an expert, just willing to figure stuff out. There is a link to a website about POTS here which I found helpful as well. Once again I so know what you are going through. Hang in there and don't put up with any Dr. who doesn't listen to you! They are hard to find but they are out there.

SAHM to one sweet little
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#12 of 13 Old 01-05-2009, 09:43 PM
 
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One other thing, the tilt table test can be... unpleasant if you DO have POTS. Nothing to be scared of really since you will have Dr's and nurses there monitoring you but I felt really awful when they first tilted me up. I felt like I was going to pass out but I never actually did, it got slightly better as time went on but I still felt kind of woozy afterward, like the feeling after you get off a roller coaster.

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#13 of 13 Old 01-18-2009, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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steedalyn-- I wanted to say thank you. I read your post many times. It helps so much to hear from another mama who has BTDT!

I really hope I will be able to keep my health insurance long enough to get the test done after the baby comes.

To update, I've just been sleeping with lots of pillows to keep from being flat... this makes a big difference in how I feel (especially the limbs falling asleep thing). For a few days my diastolic dipped into the 30s and that felt pretty icky, but now even when I do slide down flat it tends to stick in the 40s at least and that feels a lot better. Baby has been very active for the most part, so that's a big comfort, too.

Gallifreyan nerdfighter :, doting partner to the sasquatch , mama to the boss : (10/05) and the new little one (4/14/09). :: and hoping to :
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