Eye twitching is one of the lesser known signs of pregnancy although it is quite common. The twitching is the result of a repetitive spasm of the muscle in the eyelid which is uncontrollable.
While the condition can be uncomfortable and an irritation, it is not serious and is unlikely to result in any severe vision or other health conditions.
It is however recommended to mention the twitching to a doctor as it could be the sign of a more serious underlying health problem.
There are a number of different causes of eye twitching during pregnancy. In fact, the condition is most often a symptom of another symptom of pregnancy.
Common causes of eye twitching in pregnancy and remedies to help alleviate the condition include:
- Lack of sleep
- Dry eye syndrome
- Eye strain
- Exposure to environmental or other irritants
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Caffeine, alcohol and medications
- High Blood Pressure
- Fluid Retention
The twitching normally does not occur in the first trimester but can appear in the second trimester and continue on through the third trimester until the end of the pregnancy.
Reasons for Eye Twitching During Pregnancy
Stress is the most common cause of muscle spasms. Pregnant mothers are generally more stressed during pregnancy than normal. The concern about their own health, the health of the baby, how they will cope once baby arrives – all contribute to increased stress levels. Increased stress levels can result in anxiety which is much more serious for both mother and baby.
Medication to alleviate stress and anxiety are not recommended during pregnancy. However, if stress levels are significant, it is recommended to speak to a medical practitioner or consult with a therapist to find solutions to help reduce stress levels.
Meditation, yoga, acupuncture and other natural therapies that are safe during pregnancy and promote relaxation and are calming are highly recommended.
2. Lack of Sleep
The pregnant body, stress and other factors during pregnancy can all result in a lack of sleep for the pregnant mother. This results in tiredness and fatigue that affect the eyes. If the muscles in the eyes are tired, it can result in twitching.
Use pillows designed to provide additional comfort during pregnancy. Bolster pillows, noodle pillows and other specially crafted cushions offer support to certain areas of the body providing greater comfort.
Relaxation activities such as meditation and yoga can assist with improving sleep. A nighttime routine including dimming lights, reducing noise levels and avoiding stimulating activities can also assist. Avoid foods and beverages that could prevent sleep. Consult a doctor if a lack of sleep is extreme.
3. Eye Conditions: Eye Strain and Irritants
Dry eye is a condition that results from a lack of lubrication from tears produced by the tear ducts. The condition can result in additional strain on the eyes resulting in spasms or twitching of the muscles. Other eye or vision conditions can also result in increased strain on the eye.
Strain can also be the result of requiring prescription glasses or changing the prescription required. Extended exposure to bright lights and screens can increase eye strain resulting in twitching. Irritants in the air can enter the eye resulting in excessive production of tears to flush the irritation out and inflammation or redness which puts additional strain on the eye resulting in twitching.
Dry eye can be treated with saline solution eye drops. These drops are designed to mimic natural tears and lubricate the eyeball reducing strain. Saline solution can also be used to flush irritants from the eye and is entirely safe for use during pregnancy.
It is recommended to visit an optometrist to check for vision defects or eye conditions that may be placing additional strain on the eye. Wear sunshades when outdoors during the day and place a filter over bright screens that could be straining the eye.
4. Fluid Retention
Fluid retention is increased in the body during pregnancy. This can result in increased fluid in the eyes which could, in turn, result in a change in the curvature of the eyeball, increased sensitivity or thickening of the cornea – all resulting in vision problems. These vision problems are normally temporary but can result in additional strain on the eye causing spasms.
It is recommended to consult an optometrist who might provide temporary glasses to correct a vision defect resulting from increased water retention. Speak to a doctor about reducing water retention during pregnancy.
5. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can cause additional pressure on the veins in the eye causing them to pulse. This is not the same as eye twitching from muscle spasms but can be mistaken for spasms rather than blood pulsing through the veins.
High blood pressure or hypertension is extremely serious during pregnancy. While a slight increase might be normal, it could suggest an infection or other pregnancy related condition.
It is critical to visit a doctor immediately if eye twitching is suspected to be a result of high blood pressure to diagnose the cause and treat the problem. Reducing stress and anxiety can help reduce high blood pressure.
The lack of certain minerals in a diet can result in an electrolyte imbalance. The most common symptom of a deficiency in one of the essential minerals is muscle spasms which could be the cause of eye twitching during pregnancy. There are 16 essential minerals the most important of which are Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium Chloride and Iron.
Take a prenatal vitamin that provides sufficient quantities of essential minerals for pregnant moms.
7. Diet And Allergies
Allergies can irritate the eyes resulting in eye twitching. Some foods and beverages may also affect the eye and therefore result in muscle spasms. Eye twitching or dry eye may be a side effect of medication.
It may not be recommended to take allergy medication during pregnancy depending on the severity of the allergy and risk to the baby in utero. It is therefore advisable to avoid allergens. As a rule, it is imperative to avoid alcohol, medication and caffeine which can all cause eye twitching and can result in birth defects.
Eye twitching is most commonly not a serious symptom of pregnancy. It is however highly recommended to consult a medical practitioner regarding the cause of the twitching to detect any underlying condition that could be serious.