Second And Third Trimesters
In the second and third trimesters, a woman may be less likely to experience headaches due to hormonal changes, as the body has usually adjusted to these changes by this stage of pregnancy.
However, some women continue to experience tension headaches from hormonal changes throughout their pregnancy.
In the later stages of pregnancy, symptoms such as headaches are more likely to be due to:
- excess weight
- poor diet
When Should You Call The Doctor
Before taking any medications, not all medications are safe during pregnancy.
Severe headaches starting after the sixth month can be a sign of toxemia or preeclampsia.
Your headaches get worse.
You experience headaches that are different than normal such as a migraine.
Your headaches are accompanied by: blurry vision, sudden weight gain, pain in the upper right abdomen, and swelling in the hands and face.
What Migraine Medications Are Safe To Take During Pregnancy
The Food and Drug Administration sorts migraine treatments into various safety categories. The FDA classifies both prescription and non-prescription drugs into various categories based on each medications potential to cause birth defects.Please click here to read the FDAs safety guide when taking medications during pregnancy.
As with any treatment plan, its essential that you consult with a doctor before moving forward. If you are a migraine patient and are expecting a child, make an appointment with your physician to discuss the best course of action.
Reviewed for accuracy by the American Migraine Foundations subject matter experts, headache specialists and medical advisers with deep knowledge and training in headache medicine. to read about our editorial board members.
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When To Call The Doctor
Most of the time, a headache is just a headache, and it will go away once you eat something or get a little rest.
A bad headache that does not go away in a few hours, gets worse, or keeps coming back could be a sign of a pregnancy complication, so you should call your doctor.
You should also notify the doctor:
- Before taking any medication or herbal supplement to treat your headache to be sure that its safe
- If your natural treatments are not working
- If you have a fever, pressure around your eyes, or a stuffy nose
- If you get a headache and you have a history of high blood pressure
- If you get a headache after you hit 20 weeks pregnant
- If you have pain along with other symptoms such as nausea, blurry vision, abdominal pain, or swelling in the body
- If you have head pain after falling and hitting your head
When Should I Be Concerned About A Headache During Pregnancy
In general, if you have any concerns about a headache during pregnancy, you should seek medical attention. However, here are a list of some headache symptoms that would make a doctor consider more urgent tests:
- Sudden severe headache that reaches a maximum intensity in less than 1 minute.
- New aura, prolonged auras or neurological symptoms with your headache.
- Any change to your typical migraine headache.
- Severe nausea and vomiting.
- Any loss of consciousness .
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Are There Any Natural Remedies For Headaches In Pregnancy
- Finding headache relief through natural means may be a literal lifeline for some pregnant women.
- In this article, we will discuss various natural therapies that may be used to both cure and prevent headaches during pregnancy.
- The American Pregnancy Association has a few suggestions, which are as follows: Applying a warm compress to the area around your eyes and nose might help relieve sinus headaches.
Causes And Treatment Of Headaches During Pregnancy
Headaches are a common discomfort of pregnancy. From hormone changes to the sudden end of drinking coffee to not sleeping well, there are plenty of reasons pregnancy can bring on a headache. Headaches may be a pain in the neck but they are usually not dangerous for moms and babies. Heres what you need to know about the causes, prevention, and treatment of headaches during pregnancy.
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How Do Migraine Headaches Typically Change From First Trimester To Second Trimester To Third Trimester
âDue to the abrupt hormonal changes and increased blood volume,â says Dr. Crystal, âthe first trimester is often a time of increased headaches for women with migraine.â
Luckily, they can get better in the second trimester, âthough for some patients the turning point does not occur until around week 20.â
For some, migraine attacks can come back near the end of pregnancy, possibly because the discomforts of late pregnancy can impact your sleep.
Tracking Triggers With A Migraine Diary
Hormone changes during pregnancy are not the only thing that can trigger migraine headaches. Most women have a combination of triggers. For instance, stress, skipped meals, and lack of sleep may all trigger a migraine. And something that triggers a migraine one day may not bother you at all the next.
Some migraines last a few hours. Others, if left untreated, could last a couple of days. Migraines are quite unpredictable. So while pregnancy may make them worse for one woman, they might completely disappear for another.
A headache diary can let you track your particular triggers. This will help your doctor decide on what treatment will work best to relieve your specific symptoms. It may also help you recognize a pattern that tells you which triggers to avoid while you’re pregnant.
Each time you have a headache, write down:
- Your specific symptoms: where you feel the pain, what the pain feels like, and any other symptoms such as vomiting or sensitivity to noise, smells, or bright light
- The time your headache started and ended
- Food and beverages you had during the 24 hours before the migraine
- Any change in your environment, such as traveling to a new place, a change in weather, or trying new kinds of food
- Any treatment you tried, and whether it helped or made the headache worse
- Foods that contain the preservatives MSG and nitrates
- Aspartame, the sweetener in NutraSweet and Equal
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About Migraine Headaches During Pregnancy
Headaches are quite common in pregnancy. The most common are tension headaches and migraine headaches. Most headaches come and go, but others may be more bothersome or may be caused by other complications. It is important for women to consult their doctor about any headaches they may have before, during, or after pregnancy.
What Happens To My Migraines If I Get Pregnant
There are a lot of factors during the entire 9 months of pregnancy and even throughout the 6-weeks after pregnancy that can influence your headaches such as hormonal changes, stress, interrupted sleep, nausea and dehydration.
Several studies have shown that your migraine headaches may worsen in the first trimester, but luckily up to 60-70% improvement in your headaches can be seen by the 2nd and 3rd trimester.
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Migraine Relief And Remedies During Pregnancy
A migraine bearing down on you? Stay away from ibuprofen and talk to your doctor before taking an aspirin. Try the following instead:
- Relax. If you suspect a migraine coming on, lie down in a quiet, dark room with a cold compress on your neck or forehead for two or three hours. With any luck, youll fall asleep and wake up migraine-free.
- Pop an acetaminophen. While you should never take any pain medication over the counter, prescription or herbal without the OK from your doctor, the occasional use of Tylenol is considered safe during pregnancy. Check with your practitioner for recommendations on dosing.
- Talk to your doc. If you relied on strong migraine medications before you conceived, you may have to avoid them until the baby arrives . Your doctor may be able to recommend safer drug options, or refer you to a migraine specialist, who can suggest other strategies for managing your pain.
How Do You Get Rid Of A Headache Without Medicine While Pregnant
How to Get Rid of Your Headaches Naturally Without Medication
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Frequency Of Migraines During Pregnancy
Many women have migraines for the first time when theyre expecting others, including women with a history of migraines, get them more often.
Blame your out-of-whack pregnancy hormones, plus all those other pregnancy-related triggers you’re experiencing: fatigue, tension, blood sugar drops, physical or emotional stress, nasal congestion and overheating or a combination of all of these.
That said, some women who have a history of migraines related to their menstrual cycle actually end up getting these headaches less often when theyre expecting, particularly during the second and third trimesters.
Thats because their migraines are likely caused by the “withdrawal” of estrogen that occurs just before menstruation during pregnancy, estrogen levels remain consistently high.
How Common Are Migraines During Pregnancy
This will usually vary from one woman to another. Sometimes, most women already experiencing migraines have fewer issues while pregnant. Around 2/3 of women who`re prone to these symptoms observed that headaches improved during the 9 months of pregnancy. This usually happens if migraines had the tendency to be worse around periods or began when you first started your menstruation. Other ones observed no change whatsoever or noticed that the headaches become more intense and occurred more frequent.
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If Approved By Your Doctor Take A Tylenol
Assuming youve already discussed a migraine with your doctor and theyve given you the green light to use OTC pain medication in the future, you can take a small dose of Tylenol for the infrequent migraine.
This isnt a long term solution, as it only puts a bandaid on the issue. We recommend really figuring out what your triggers are, and coming up with a more holistic solution.
Safe Treatments For Migraine In Pregnancy Lactation Menstruation
Migraine is more common in women than in men with a ratio ofapproximately 3:1.1 Researchers say that migraine usually begins andbecomes more prevalent in women around the time of puberty, which suggests thatfemale sex hormones may play a role in the increased burden of migraine inwomen. In a study published in Headache,researchers explored the epidemiology and treatment of migraine duringpregnancy, lactation, and menstruation.
Migraine in women is most prevalent during reproductive years, with an estimated 21% to 28% of this population experiencing migraine every year.1 Of these women, up to 80% will continue to have migraines throughout pregnancy, with the highest activity occurring during the first trimester. Migraine with aura tends to present for the first time during pregnancy, as 70% of women who report migraine with aura while pregnant had no history of aura.1 Additionally, more than half of women with migraine will continue to experience headaches during the first month after delivery.1
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Natural Remedies For Pregnancy Migraines:
During the first three months the symptoms of pregnancy can make your migraine worse. Morning sickness can mean that you feel like eating and drinking less which can cause low blood sugar and dehydration. If you are not careful this can make your migraines worse. You should try to eat small frequent meals and drink frequent small amounts of water to prevent this. You will also be helping reduce any pregnancy sickness. Other remedies may include:
- Dark Room Often, a migraine can make you sensitive to bright lights. Find a dark room, and turn off any electronics.
- Nap Lying down to take a short nap can help alleviate migraines. Many people report that an hour nap is often enough to stop the pain.
- Cold Pack While lying down, place a cold pack or damp towel on your head. The cold should constrict blood vessels in your head and help alleviate the pain.
- Relaxation Techniques Talk to your doctor about relaxation exercises that are safe during pregnancy. Relaxing the muscles around your back, neck, and head can release the pressure causing the migraine.
- Take care of yourself Sometimes, migraines can be set off by dehydration, tiredness, not eating well, or lack of sleep. Try to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle, which can help mitigate the symptoms of migraines.
Migraines During Pregnancy: What Causes Them & How To Get Rid Of Them
On top of the morning sickness, insomnia, and body pain, the last thing you need to deal with is migraines during pregnancy. But, unfortunately, they are a common ailment those expecting will have to experience.
These painful headaches arent like any other, leaving you debilitated for the rest of the day, or longer. Even after they pass, the fatigue you feel can affect you for days to come.
Like many of the discomforts youll experience while pregnant, there are some ways to prevent migraines, along with some tricks to help them pass quicker.
Well also cover the topic of whether migraines during pregnancy are cause for concern, and justify a doctor’s visit. Before we get into all that, lets distinguish between a typical headache and a migraine.
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What Is The Best Treatment For Headaches While Pregnant
If youre hoping to stop a headache naturally, there are plenty of pregnancy-safe steps you can take to battle your symptoms based on the common headache types:
- For tension headaches and migraines: Lie in a dark, quiet room for a few minutes or if you’re at work, close your eyes and put your feet up. You can also put an ice pack or cold compress on the back of your neck for 20 minutes while you relax. Deep breathing and quiet meditation are two more smart ways to channel calming vibes.
- For sinus headaches: A stuffy nose is very common in pregnancy, so try steam inhalation to relieve congestion and a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Apply hot and cold compresses to the achy spot, alternating 30 seconds of each for a total of 10 minutes, four times a day. Drinking lots of fluids, especially herbal tea or broth, can help clear stuffiness. And ask the doctor whether you could have a sinus infection and if theres a safe nasal decongestant you can use.
- For all headaches: While you shouldnt take ibuprofen or Aleve when you’re pregnant, acetaminophen can bring relief and occasional use is considered safe for pregnancy. Always check with your practitioner for the right dosage and never take any medication without getting your doctors okay first.
How To Get Rid Of Headaches During Pregnancy
When it comes to relieving headaches associated with pregnancy, giving the head a massage with heated oil is one of the most effective methods. Bring some olive oil or almond oil to a simmer. After the oil has had some time to cool down, use it to massage your head.
- Acetaminophen, which is included in products like Tylenol and others, is generally considered to be safe for pregnant women to consume to alleviate headaches.
- Your doctor or other medical professional may also suggest additional drugs for you to try.
- Before you take any drug, including herbal remedies, you should get the go-ahead from your primary care physician or another qualified medical professional.
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How Does Pregnancy Affect Migraine Headaches
About 15 to 20 percent of pregnant women have migraines. Over half of women find that their migraines occur less often in the last few months of pregnancy. However, migraines may worsen after delivery, during the postpartum period. Although migraine headaches may cause severe pain for the mother, there are no dangers for the developing fetus.
What Is A Migraine And What Differentiates It From A Typical Headache
A migraine is a form of headache, but not just any headache. Its incredibly severe and comes in waves, typically accompanied by nausea and increased sensitivity to sound and light.
The sensations you feel from a migraine differ from a typical headache, which is usually referred to as a tension headache.
With a normal headache, youll feel like your head is being squeezed, as your muscles around your head and neck tighten up and contract. The pain is dull, mild to moderate, and lasts up to a few hours at most.
A migraine on the other hand is a throbbing pain on the front and side of the head in particular. This localized pain is unrelenting, lasting from a few hours up to a few days, commonly with that dizziness, blurred vision known as the aura.
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Try A Prenatal Massage
Go to a prenatal massage therapist to relieve the stress from shoulders, neck, and back. If going out to the therapist doesnt work for you, then there are certain massages that can be done at home. Try rubbing your shoulders at the base of your skull and below your wrists. Be aware of trigger points that can induce contractions such as the point between the thumb and index finger, and avoid them.
When Headaches Are Secondary To Other Problems
Headaches can result from other conditions, some of which are life-threatening:
Stroke: Sudden and severe headaches might be a sign of a stroke. Women who have strokes during pregnancy or after delivery typically describe the pain as the worst headache of their lives. They also might report other symptoms, such as speech problems, vision issues, or functional problems on one side of the face or body. At the emergency room, the doctor will evaluate you for stroke symptoms, such as visual changes, facial drooping, and arm or leg weakness. If you are having or had a stroke, we will get you emergency treatment at our Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center.
Preeclampsia: A headache with preeclampsia can indicate a dangerous spike in blood pressure. The doctor will assess you and might admit you to the hospital for management of blood pressure and treatment to prevent seizures.
Spinal fluid leak: A headache after an epidural or spinal block can indicate a spinal fluid leak, especially if it worsens when you sit or stand up. The most effective treatment is an epidural blood patch, in which the doctor injects a sample of your blood into the leaking area, essentially plugging the hole. This therapy provides dramatic relief right away.
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