Vision changes while pregnant and postpartum

Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy lead to all sorts of shifts and swellings in one’s body, including swollen feet, puffy fingers, and…changes in the shape of one’s eyes.

That particular change can lead to nearsightedness, which causes blurred vision, dry eyes, and even dizziness. These vision changes are pretty typical and are not indications for a c-section or other medical interventions during birth (source 1, source 2). However, any vision impairment can be indicative of serious problems, such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes, and does require prompt medical attention. If you are worried about your vision changes, contact your medical care provider immediately.

The more common, less concerning vision changes – nearsightedness and dry eyes – happen to a lot of people during pregnancy. In fact, 14% of pregnant women experience shifts to the point of needing a new prescription for glasses. (You can always ask your doctor about getting a pair of reading glasses if you don’t want to pay for a new prescription.) There are some characteristics that may make you more likely to experience vision problems during pregnancy. For example, if you’re having twins, you’re more likely to have vision problems than if you’re having a singleton. And if you had problems with your eyes before pregnancy, pregnancy can exacerbate those problems.

Usually, these vision problems go away sometime after pregnancy, but don’t be surprised if they stick around for a while after delivery, especially if you are lactating (in which case, your vision might be different until you’re done). Because of this, research suggests that you don’t get any kind of refractive surgery during pregnancy or up to a year postpartum.

Oh, with all those vision changes: if you don’t like glasses, don’t worry. Contact lenses are generally safe for you to wear during pregnancy and breastfeeding. (There is one exception: if you have had HSV of the eye, talk to your medical care provider about whether you should use contacts.)

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