Headaches During Pregnancy

During the first trimester, your body experiences a rise of hormones and an increase in blood volume. These two changes can cause more frequent headaches. These headaches may be additional intensified by stress, bad posture or changes in your vision.

Is It Normal to Obtain Headaches During Pregnancy?

It’s not uncommon to get stress headaches when you’re pregnant, especially in the first trimester. Stress headaches– the most typical type of headache– can feel like a squeezing pain or a constant dull ache on both sides of the head or the back of the neck. If you’ve constantly been susceptible to stress headaches, pregnancy can make the problem worse.

Professionals have no idea exactly why bring a child has the tendency to make your head pains more often, but one great guess is the hormonal free-for-all that’s occurring in your body. Your increased blood volume and circulation might also play a part, specifically in early pregnancy. Going cold turkey on caffeine can likewise make your head pound.

Other potential offenders include lack of sleep or general fatigue, sinus blockage, allergic reactions, eyestrain, stress, depression, appetite, and dehydration.

If you have headaches in your first trimester, you’ll most likely discover that they diminish or even disappear during the second trimester, when the flood of hormones stabilizes and your body grows accustomed to its transformed chemistry.

What About Migraines?

Migraines are another typical type of headache. Experts estimate that about 1 in 5 women has a migraine headache at some time in her life, and as much as 16 percent of those women get migraines for the very first time when they’re pregnant (frequently in the first trimester).

Migraine headaches cause moderate to severe throbbing pain, normally on one side of the head. They last from 4 to 72 hours (if unattended) and are intensified by physical activity. They can likewise be accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and noise.

pregnant headache


Some migraine patients have what are referred to as migraines with aura– that is, headaches that are preceded by symptoms that may include visual changes (such as bright flashing lights or blind spots), sensations of numbness or “pins and needles,” weakness, and speech disturbances. These symptoms might start as long as an hour before a migraine and might last as much as an hour.

Luckily, about two-thirds of women who are prone to migraines see that they enhance during pregnancy. (This is most likely if your migraines tended to be even worse around your periods or started when you first started menstruating.) Others discover no change or discover that their headaches end up being more frequent and intense, according to iytmed.com.

Even if you’re part of the unfortunate minority whose migraines don’t enhance during pregnancy, you can a minimum of take some solace in the fact that migraine sufferers don’t appear to have a higher risk of pregnancy complications than other women.

What Can I Take For A Headache While Pregnant?

Acetaminophen is safe to take as directed on the label, however many other headache medications– such as aspirin and ibuprofen, along with many prescription migraine drugs– aren’t recommended for pregnant women. Consult your practitioner about which medications you can take if you’re susceptible to severe migraines.

If you’re having frequent, debilitating headaches, the advantages of certain medications may exceed any possible risks to your baby, although some drugs will remain strictly off-limits. You might be referred to a maternal-fetal medicine professional (MFM) or a neurologist to assist with your migraines if they are persistent.

What Else Can I Do To Relieve The Pain?

Here are a few more tips that might help you fend off a headache or get relief once you have one:

Find Out What’s Cause The Pain

Headache professionals often recommend keeping a “headache journal” to assist identify specific triggers. Make a note of anything you’ve eaten in the 24 hours preceding the beginning of a migraine and what you were doing when it began.

Some common migraine sets off include foods that contain:

  • monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • nitrites and nitrates (common in processed meats like hotdogs, salami, and bacon).
  • sweetening agents.
  • specific beans and nuts.
  • aged cheese and cultured dairy products (like buttermilk and sour cream).
  • certain fresh fruits (bananas, papayas, avocados, and citrus).
  • smoked fish.
  • chocolate and carob.
  • things that are fermented or pickled (like soy sauce or sauerkraut).

Other triggers might include glaring or flickering lights, loud noises, excessive heat or cold, strong odors, and tobacco smoke.

Use a compress

For a stress headache, apply a warm or cool compress to your forehead or the base of your skull. Cold compresses tend to work best for migraines.

Take a shower

For some migraine sufferers, a cold shower brings some quickly– if temporary– relief. If you can’t shower, sprinkle some cool water on your face. A warm shower or bath can be soothing for stress headaches.

Do not go hungry or thirsty

To prevent low blood sugar (a typical headache trigger), eat smaller sized, more frequent meals. If you’re on the go, keep some treats (crackers, fruit, yogurt) within reach. Prevent straight sugar, like candy, which can cause your blood sugar level to spike and crash.

And don’t forget to drink lots of water to remain hydrated as well. Drink water slowly if you have a migraine and have thrown up.

Avoid fatigue

Aim to make time for naps in your day. If you’re having a migraine, try to sleep it off in a quiet, dark space.

Get some exercise

Some evidence reveals that regular exercise can reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines and reduce the stress that can cause stress headaches. If you’re prone to migraines, start slowly– an abrupt burst of activity could set off one. (And do not exercise once a migraine has actually started because it will exacerbate the headache.).

Doing exercises to help you keep excellent posture might be especially handy with headaches during the 3rd trimester.

Try relaxation strategies

Biofeedback, meditation, yoga, and self-hypnosis may be helpful in reducing stress and headaches in some victims.

Attempt massage

Think about getting a full-body massage to release stress in the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and back. If you can afford it, look for a trained prenatal massage therapist.

If an expert massage is only a pipeline dream, ask your partner to rub your back and head– or slip into a beauty parlor for an expert hair shampoo. Some women who struggle with stress headaches swear by massage, although some studies question whether it’s effective in preventing or relieving headaches.

Think about acupuncture

Acupuncture treatment is considered safe during pregnancy, although whether it’s efficient for headaches is a problem of some argument. If you ‘d like to give it a try, ask your healthcare provider for the names of acupuncturists and keep her posted on your treatments.

Can A Headache Signify Something More Serious?

Yes. The majority of headaches during pregnancy are unpleasant however harmless, however a headache can be a sign of a more serious issue. If you’re having a migraine or other severe headache for the very first time ever, you’ll require a full medical assessment to be sure absolutely nothing else is going on.

In the 2nd or third trimester of pregnancy, a headache might be a sign of preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy-induced condition marked by high blood pressure. Other symptoms can include protein in the urine, vision changes, and liver and kidney abnormalities.

When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider?

Call your company right away if:

  • You’re in your second or third trimester and have a bad headache or a headache for the very first time, which might or may not be accompanied by visual changes, sharp upper abdominal pain or nausea, sudden weight gain, or swelling in your hands or face. You’ll have to have your blood pressure and urine examined immediately to be sure you don’t have preeclampsia. (If you’ve been having any problems with high or rising blood pressure, call if you have just a mild headache.)
  • You have a sudden “explosive” headache, violent pain that awakens you from sleep, a headache that does not disappear, or one that feels unlike any you’ve ever experienced.
  • Your headache is accompanied by a fever and a stiff neck.
  • Your headache is getting worse and you experience any other problems such as fuzzy vision or other visual disturbances, slurred speech, drowsiness, numbness, or a change in normal sensation or awareness.
  • You have a headache after falling and hitting your head (or other type of head injury).
  • You have nasal congestion, along with pain and pressure beneath your eyes or other facial or perhaps dental pain. You may have a sinus infection that will have to be treated with antibiotics.

Even if you’ve had headaches before, speak to your healthcare provider about them so you can choose what sort of assessment and treatment might be best for you during your pregnancy. If you’re a migraine victim, you won’t be able to take most of the medications you’ve used before– ask your caregiver before taking any medication aside from acetaminophen.

If you seem like your eyes are straining and discover that you get headaches after checking out or taking a look at a computer system screen, have your vision checked by an eye doctor.

Finally, do not be reluctant to call your specialist whenever a headache has you concerned.



Updated: September 17, 2016 — 2:35 pm

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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