2nd Trimester

Vagal Syncope

So I've been having issues with eating something, it doesn't matter what the meal is... and about 5 minutes later, the room is spinning and I can feel the floor coming up to meet me. I've passed out once and typically the dizziness leads to nausea which in turn leads to about 10 minutes of vomiting/retching. After being told it's definitely NOT caused by gestational diabetes (I was insulin dependent GD with DD#1 7 years ago) the doctor says that he believes it to be Vagal, or related to the Vagus Nerve/Vagal Stimulation. Naturally, I go home and I try to look and see what I can find on this with relation to pregnancy, and really not finding much information that is helpful for what I can do to combat this dizziness. My husband is overseas right now, and so I am driving DD#1 back and forth for school and what-not... so this concerns me, as I've nearly passed out once while driving. It ALWAYS occurs after I eat, and I DO suffer from a finicky GI, but it also occurs at other moments as well. So I am unsure how, if at all, I can prevent this. So my questions are:


Is anyone else suffering/ or have you suffered from this?

Are there ways to prevent this?

Is there a site or link you can share with more information about this?

Do you have any input or know what I can do to combat this?


Thanks in advance to anyone and everyone! 

Re: Vagal Syncope

  • I have never heard of this in pregnancy.  It is a common reaction to getting shots, and it happened to me when I got a vaccine once and another time when I was getting my finger stitched up... basically I had to lay down and put my feet up, and the feelings passed.  Any time you start to feel like this, if it *is* a vasovagal response, then laying down and putting your feet well above your heart should make the feeling pass quicker.  

    Sorry I don't have more answers for you, though.

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  • After working in OB for 5.5 years, I have had one patient with a similar experience.  To be honest I can't remember the term with which she was diagnosed...but for her she would get dizzy and almost or actually pass out when experiencing peristalsis (movement of food through the bowels).  For her it was not the actual food in her stomach that caused the problem, but when food goes in and the stomach works to digest then the rest of your large and small intestines start moving the old food through to make room for the new food.  When she experienced peristalsis in the large intestine (like when she was getting closer to having a bowel movement) she would experience those episodes.  And yes, it was an intestinal nerve issue (not sure if the labelled it as vagus or vagal but something related or similar).  For her she began experiencing worsening of symptoms the further she got in pregnancy (as that part of her colon was more compressed).  The hope was that after delivery she would get better or normal as the intestines became less compressed, though I don't know what her outcome really was.  It was a rare issue and certainly wasn't diagnosed by her OB.
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  • oh yeah, and there is nothing she could do to stop it because once the dizziness began the safest thing to do was lie down on the floor.  At least then if you pass out you are in a safe place.  Best recommendation:  DON'T EAT WHILE DRIVING.  Might want to skip eating at restaurants too if you are going to be embarrassed by having to lay down on the floor. 
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  • Ladies, thank you. Even if it's not exactly my scenario, I feel a little better just sounding off. As to not eating while driving... lol, I don't do that - personal pet peeve, drives me nuts seeing other people do it! Haha! As I said, it ALWAYS happens right after I eat, but also sometimes it happens when I haven't eaten either... since I already suffer from GI issues, apparently all that business in the lower GI is going on all the time. >< Oh well, thanks again, and "looking forward" to hearing from any others if they've gone through similar. Have a nice evening... Sleepless in Orlando. 
  • My husband has issues with the Vaso-Vagal Response. He has fainted several times from seeing blood, feeling nauseous, going #2, getting up from sleep too quickly, etc. The response occurs with him when his blood pressure drops too quickly. He has suffered 2 bad concussions from fainting in the bathroom. It is a condition he lives with and manages because there is no cure. Basically you have to be very aware of your body and have a plan if you begin to fill dizzy to get on the floor or put your head between your legs. We have made accommodations in our house such as a hamper right in front of the toilet that he can put his head down on. He knows when he when he gets up to pee in the middle of the night he has to sit on the side of the bed and flex his calves to get his bp up. He has seen neurologists, gp's and done lots of research. There is no cure. He takes a very low dose SSRI to help manage swings in blood pressure.

    I sincerely wish you good luck and hope you find answers for what you are dealing with. I know, personally, it can be a nightmare since there is no easy answer or cure. Hopefully yours goes away after pregnancy.

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  • Hi there! I was diagnosed with this; Vasovagal Syncope years ago. Since then, we've found out that mine has a slight twist; I have a heart arrythmia too, so it changes the diagnosis slightly to Neurocardiogenic Syncope, but it's basically the same thing.

    I've been dealing with this since I was a child. I used to pass out in church all the time (particularly if it was crowded and too hot, or only standing room), if I got from lying down/sitting to standing up too quickly, if I "strain" on the toilet, if I get too out of breath from exercise, if I'm in lots of pain, if I give blood, if I haven't eaten in a while and have low blood sugar, etc etc etc- you name it.

    The best advice I can give you is this: stay as hydrated as you can possibly be; it helps alot. (I have no idea why- it just does). Move very slowly from laying down/sitting to standing. Leave yourself ALOT of time between eating (and try to eat slowly and in small amounts) and doing anything very active afterwards (including driving).

    Most importantly, as soon as you feel dizzy, lay down on the floor! I don't care if you're in the middle of a grocery store (yes- I have had to do this before). It's far less embarrassing & dangerous to fight off the dizziness/nausea on the floor for a while than to pass out and fall on the floor (hitting your head or possibly hurting the baby). It really sucks, I know. (I've also thrown up literally at the dinner table in a restaurant RIGHT after my meal before, then passed out when I tried to run to the bathroom for the second wave). It doesn't have a "cure", my doctors aren't really sure why it happens, just that some "lucky" people have it. For me, just trying to prevent/head off the triggers and some psychological bullying when I am dizzy (taking calming breaths while telling myself that I'm not going to pass out, it's not that bad, just breathe, etc.) is all I can do. So far, I haven't passed out during this pregnancy. Not saying that it won't happen, but knowing how my body reacts to certain things has helped tremendously.

    If you need help, feel free to PM me.


    "Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."- Helen Keller
  • Ladies, I thank you all for your words of wisdom  (and encouragement) as it helps to be able to feel like you can do something, even if it's something as simple as laying down for a minute. It's also teaching me to slow down for a little bit right now. Again, thanks so much!
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