How Long Do Migraines Last During Pregnancy

Remedies For Migraines During Pregnancy

Is it normal to have headaches during pregnancy?

Migraines are intense headaches that can occur as a symptom of pregnancy. These are different from stress or tension headaches. It is also normal to experience your first migraine during pregnancy. Some studies have found a slight correlation between migraines and hormones. This makes questions about how to treat migraines naturally while expecting common.

When Should I Call A Doctor Or Midwife About A Headache In Pregnancy

Call your midwife, doctor or hospital maternity unit if you have a very bad headache or a headache that wont go away. This could be a symptom of pregnancy induced hypertension. This is a type of high blood pressure that develops after 20 weeks and goes away within 6 weeks of the baby’s birth. Its also known as gestational high blood pressure or gestational hypertension.

Call your midwife, doctor or hospital straight away if you have a headache and vision problems and sudden swelling on your hands, feet, face or stomach. This could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy condition that can be dangerous for you and the baby if it is not monitored and treated.

  • discomfort in the lowest part of your stomach
  • back pain
  • loin pain
  • needing to wee a lot or an uncontrollable need to wee
  • cloudy, foul-smelling or bloody wee
  • a raised temperature
  • feeling sick and vomiting.

This could be a sign of a urinary tract infection. UTIs cab be treated with antibiotics that are safe to use in pregnancy.

How Can I Treat A Headache In Pregnancy

If you have a mild headache, its safe to take paracetamol. Make sure you follow the instructions on the packet for how much you can take.

There are some painkillers you should not take while youre pregnant. These include tablets or capsules that:

  • contain added caffeine
  • contain codeine
  • are anti-inflammatory, like ibuprofen or aspirin.

Some women may be advised to take a low dose of aspirin as a treatment if they have had miscarriages before or they are at risk of pre-eclampsia. This will be prescribed by a doctor. Aspirin should not be taken as treatment for a headache.

Try to take the lowest dose of paracetamol that works and for the shortest amount of time. Your midwife, GP or pharmacist can give you more advice if the pain is ongoing and doesnt go away with paracetamol.

Find out more about drugs and medicines in pregnancy.

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Migraine Triggers During Pregnancy

Hormonal change is a common trigger for women with migraine. During pregnancy, oestrogen levels increase sharply, while progesterone levels decrease and rise again towards the end of the pregnancy.

Overall migraine improves during pregnancy especially during the second and third trimesters. This improvement may be due to the increased oestrogen levels and increased levels of natural pain-killing hormones .

These hormones are several times higher during pregnancy, and though the relief from migraine attacks they provide might last the whole pregnancy, the levels settle back down after delivery, normally allowing migraine attacks to return.

However, not everyone will see an improvement in their migraine, especially in the early weeks of pregnancy. For some women, their migraine is unaffected. Some women experience worsening migraine during pregnancy although this is rare.

During breastfeeding, stable oestrogen levels continue to be protective against having headache again after pregnancy.

However you are affected, it can help to identify any migraine attack triggers that you have, such as lack of sleep, stress, missed meals and dehydration. Keeping a headache diary may help pinpoint your triggers so you can avoid those things. Log when the headache happened, what triggered it, and how long it lasted. Common triggers include but are not limited to:

  • Stress
  • Hormones

Headache Evaluation During Pregnancy

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When evaluating your headache, your healthcare provider will perform a detailed history. She may ask you questions pertaining to any medical conditions you have, like high blood pressure or depression, or whether you are taking any medications or over-the-counter supplements, like vitamins, caffeine, or laxatives.

Your healthcare provider will also inquire as to the characteristics of your headache such as how intense it is, how long it has lasted, or whether there are associated symptoms like nausea or vomiting. This is done in order to make an accurate diagnosis, as well as to assess headache warning signs and rule out medical emergencies.

Some specific headache warning signs that warrant immediate medical attention include:

  • “Worst headache of my life”
  • Blurry vision
  • Change in headache pain, pattern, or severity

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Symptoms Of Migraines During Pregnancy

A migraine usually starts out as a dull ache and then eventually becomes a throbbing, constant, and pulsating pain in the temples, in front of the head, or base of the head. Migraines are sometimes accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light, vomiting, dizziness, and auras, which are spots or lines that can occur across ones vision. The pain can sometimes make it difficult to focus, and symptoms can be debilitating.

How Long Do Implantation Cramps Last

Implantation occurs around 6-12 DPO and symptoms of implantation, such as spotting and cramping, also occur around this time. Implantation cramps usually last a few days but may last as long as one week.

Most women experience implantation around day 25 of their cycle. Using this example, you could experience implantation cramps from day 25 through day 32 of your cycle. Depending on the length of your typical menstrual cycle, this means you could continue to experience symptoms of implantation even after youre able to take a pregnancy test to confirm whether or not you have conceived successfully.

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What Can I Do About Headaches

Steps to manage headaches include the following:

  • Avoid any known headache triggers, including allergens and certain foods, like monosodium glutamate, cured meats, and strong cheeses.

  • Smoking is never a good idea in pregnancy. You should also avoid secondhand smoke.

  • Try to eat well and drink plenty of fluids, especially if you are prone to morning sickness.

  • Reduce your stress level. Try a massage or cold pack to help with tension headaches.

  • If your headache is a migraine, rest in a cool, dark room with no noise, and try using warm or cold compresses or an ice pack.

There is good news, however. Most women have fewer headaches during pregnancy, especially after the first trimester. And those with a history of migraines often find there is improvement during pregnancy.

The Phases Of Migraine

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Also known as preheadache or the premonitory phase, prodrome can mark the beginning of a migraine attack. This phase can last several hours or may even occur over several days.

Most people with migraine will experience prodrome, but not necessarily before every migraine attack. If a person with migraine is experiencing prodrome, his or her care team can study their symptoms and patterns to guide a treatment plan that may lessen the severity of the oncoming headache. During this phase, taking medication, minimizing/avoiding other trigger factors and practicing mindfulness meditation, relaxation therapy or other biobehavioral techniques, can even prevent headache in some cases. Prodrome symptoms vary from person to person, but can include changes in mood, from feelings of depression or irritability to difficulty focusing. Other symptoms may include fatigue, sensitivity to light and sound, insomnia, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, and muscle stiffness, especially in the neck and shoulders. Symptoms that are especially unique to the prodrome phase of migraine include yawning, cravings for certain foods, and frequent urination.




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What Can You Take For A Headache While Pregnant

For many moms, natural remedies can be a big help for headaches in pregnancy. For other moms, the pain may be so severe that they need a little something more to get through the day.

If natural remedies dont work, talk to your healthcare provider before taking anything.

Your doctor may recommend acetaminophenbut do know that its been linked to ADHD later in life.

Unfortunately, ibuprofen and aspirin are a no-go for headaches in pregnancy. If ibuprofen normally helps you, try taking ginger capsules or turmeric/curcumin capsules to act as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.

Some moms need to medication like Tylenol, acetaminophen, or other migraine drugs to find relief from headaches in pregnancy. They literally cannot function if they dont . Forgive yourself, and do the best you can to manage the pain naturally when you are able to.

What Are Symptoms Of Headaches During Pregnancy

If youve had an aching head or migraine before you conceived, you probably know what a bad headache feels like. But its still a good idea to be on the lookout for the common symptoms of headaches during pregnancy, such as:

  • Occasional throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head

Migraine headaches, however, can come with worse symptoms, including:

  • More severe pain
  • Intense pounding in the head
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Some women with migraines also experience light and sound sensitivity and they find that the pain worsens if they move or change positions.

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Why Do I Get Migraines During Pregnancy

So what is it about having a bun in the oven that makesyour head hurt ? Blame it on thehormones. The very things that help your body keep your unborn baby healthy andnourished also up your headache quota. So does an increase in blood volume,which happens during the first trimester.

Other factors that lead toheadaches during pregnancy include:

  • Eating certain foods .
  • Not drinking enough water.
  • Brain tumors.
  • Stroke risk.

We look at everyone closely and assess theirsymptoms, notes Dr. Shadbehr. The first question we want to answer is, Isthis a primary headache or a warning sign of an underlying condition?

Preventing Future Migraine Attacks


In addition to there being medication that can stop a migraine attack in progress, there are also drugs that can be taken for migraine prophylaxis, or preventive therapy, as a way to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.

Preventive migraine treatments include prescription medications that were originally developed for epilepsy, depression, or high blood pressure these can often prevent future attacks, Mauskop says. They also include a newer class of drugs called CGRP antibodies that were developed specifically to treat migraine.

Women whose migraines are associated with their menstrual cycles may find relief through taking certain types of hormonal birth control or hormone replacement therapy, although in some cases, these options can make migraine worse, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

Many people do get migraine relief from various treatments. However, if your headaches persist or they last a long time, you should seek medical help from a neurologist or headache specialist, says Mauskop. You shouldnt self-treat migraines if they are unusually long or youre having them for the first time.

Additional reporting byBeth Orenstein.

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Ergots And Ergots Alkaloids

Ergots and ergots alkaloids are contraindicated in pregnancy due to a known uterotonic and vasoconstrictive effect as well as a range of serious adverse effects on the fetus like fetal distress and birth defects . Other possible teratogenic effects include intestinal atresia and poor cerebral development .

They should be avoided in nursing women. Beside systemic side effects in the infant like vomiting, diarrhea and convulsions, prolactine can be decreased by these drugs, reducing the milk production .


Antiemetics are believed to be mostly safe during pregnancy . However, only little data are available.

Metoclopramide is commonly used during pregnancy without significant fetal side effects . Chlorpromazine and prochlorperazine could have an increased risk for neonatal extrapyramidal or withdrawal symptoms if taken during third trimester , domperidon might lead to long QT syndrome , and under diphenhydramin, sedation and apnea after delivery are possible .

Doxylamine, histamine H1 receptor antagonists, pyridoxine, dicycloverine and phenothiazines are other options without noted adverse pregnancy outcomes . Recently some concerns arised on the use of ondansetron during pregnancy. There seems to be conflicting evidence about a possible teratogenic effect as well as the potential to cause a serotonin syndrome and QT prolongation .

Can Migraine Be Worse During Menopause

If your migraine headaches are closely linked to your menstrual cycle, may make them less severe. As you get older, the nausea and vomiting may decrease as well. About two-thirds of women with migraines report that their symptoms improve with menopause.

But for some women, menopause worsens migraine or triggers them to start. It is not clear why this happens. , which is prescribed for some women during menopause, may be linked to migraines during this time. In general, though, the worsening of migraine symptoms goes away once menopause is complete.

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How Are Migraines Treated

Migraine has no cure. But your migraines can be managed with your doctor’s help. Together, you will find ways to treat migraine symptoms when they happen, as well as ways to help make your migraines less frequent and severe. Your treatment plan may include some or all of these methods.

Medicine. There are two ways to approach the treatment of migraines with drugs: stopping a migraine in progress and prevention. Many people with migraine use both forms of treatment.

Acute treatment. Over-the-counter pain-relief drugs such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or NSAIDs like ibuprofen relieve mild migraine pain for some people. If these drugs don’t work for you, your doctor might want you to try a prescription drug. Two classes of drugs that doctors often try first are:

  • Triptans, which work by balancing the chemicals in the brain. Examples include sumatriptan , rizatriptan , zolmitriptan , almotriptan , eletriptan , naratriptan , and frovatriptan . Triptans can come as tablets that you swallow, tablets that dissolve on your tongue, nasal sprays, and as a shot. They should not be used if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
  • Ergot derivatives , which work in the same way as triptans. They should not be used if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.

Prevention. Some medicines used daily can help prevent attacks. Many of these drugs were designed to treat other health conditions, such as and . Some examples are:

What Are The Four Stages Of Migraines

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The various four stages of migraines include:

  • Prodrome: Also known as the preheadache stage, it precedes a migraine attack. It can last for several hours or several days. During this phase, taking medication, practicing a stress-relieving technique, or avoiding trigger factors can prevent a migraine attack. Some of the common symptoms include:
  • Changes in mood

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Managing Cluster Headache And Migraine During Pregnancy

There were some migraine attacks during the first 13 weeks, which never lasted longer than a day, and I was able to avoid taking any medications for them. But the cluster headaches aren’t as straightforward. At the dawn of my 14th week of pregnancy, I awoke at 7 am with the familiar stabbing pain in my right temple behind my eye. Those first few seconds of the attack came with an inner monologue: Is this just a shadow? What if it’s the start? Then some inner voice found me, saying, It’s okay, you’ve prepared for this. And I had, to a certain extent. I reached for my oxygen tank, and the attack ended a few minutes later, followed by an evening attack around 6 pm. The next few days followed the same pattern of two attacks, one in the early morning and one at the end of my day when I started to relax.

Oxygen For Cluster Headache

A 3.5-foot tall oxygen tank lives next to my bed for now. So far, the high-flow oxygen followed up with low-flow for 20 minutes has given me fast relief for cluster headache attacks during pregnancy. I feel lucky that oxygen works so well for me, and it’s good to know that I have other options out there should they increase to four or more attacks per day, which is a typical cycle for me.

The hormones of pregnancy will likely swing in my favor again in the third trimester. All of the pain and losses in the past will be worth it when I hold my sweet Lucy this November.

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Verapamil Steroids And Melatonin

The same study stated Verapamil and steroids are the preferred preventive treatment options in pregnant patients. Still, both of them are Category C, meaning Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks.” However, the study did not mention melatonin, a vitamin supplement commonly used at nighttime as a preventive treatment for cluster headaches. This is theorized to work because melatonin production is in the pineal gland and involved in circadian rhythms, which is disrupted and decreased in cluster headache patients.

I Get Migraines Right Before My Period Could They Be Related To My Menstrual Cycle

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More than half of migraines in women occur right before, during, or after a woman has her period. This often is called “menstrual migraine.” But, just a small fraction of women who have migraine around their period only have migraine at this time. Most have migraine headaches at other times of the month as well.

How the menstrual cycle and migraine are linked is still unclear. We know that just before the cycle begins, levels of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, go down sharply. This drop in hormones may trigger a migraine, because estrogen controls chemicals in the brain that affect a woman’s pain sensation.

Talk with your doctor if you think you have menstrual migraine. You may find that medicines, making lifestyle changes, and home treatment methods can prevent or reduce the pain.

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