Pregnancy Can Have A Significant Impact On Migraine Symptoms And How Women Should Treat Them Heres What Experts Have To Say
First, the good news: Between 50 and 80% of pregnant migraine patients actually experience a reduction in migraine attacks during their pregnancy, according to David Dodick, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Arizona. Many doctors believe rising estrogen levels help reduce migraine frequency and intensity. Hormone replacement therapy that mimics pregnancy’s effect on the body is increasingly being used in migraine treatment plans, especially for those who experience migraines around the time of menstruation. Caution does need to be used however in women who have migraines with aura, as the increased risk of stroke may further be increased by the addition of an estrogen-containing oral contraceptive pill.
However, some women experience migraine for the first time during pregnancy and some experience an increase in migraine symptoms especially during the first trimester. The appearance or worsening of migraine in pregnant women should be taken very seriously: Studies show that migraine symptoms, when accompanied by high blood pressure, can increase the risk of developing preeclampsia or other vascular complications. Women whose migraine symptoms don’t decrease during pregnancy should be particularly vigilant. It’s important to work with your obstetrician and your headache doctor when you have migraine to establish a safe treatment plan.
I Am Pregnant And Getting Blind Spots With My Migraine Should I See My Doctor
It is not uncommon for a woman to have her first attack of migraine aura during pregnancy. Symptoms are typically bright visual zig-zags growing in size from a small bright spot and moving across the field of vision over 20-30 minutes before disappearing. A sensation of ‘pins and needles’ moving up an arm into the mouth may accompany this. If you experience these typical symptoms and your doctor confirms that this is migraine, there is no need to be concerned and no tests are necessary. However, if the symptoms are not typical of migraine aura, it is important to exclude other disorders, such as blood clotting disorders or high blood pressure, which may occasionally produce symptoms not dissimilar from migraine.
How Soon Can You Take A Pregnancy Test To Know For Sure If You’re Pregnant
Again, at-home pregnancy tests look for the presence of HCG in your body, and this hormone can usually be detected in your pee 11 to 14 days after you conceive, Dr. Schaffir says.
While plenty of pregnancy tests promise they can give results several days before your missed period, they’re not as reliable at that point. “Many tests are designed to give the best result after a woman’s period is late,” Dr. Wider says.
Basically, if you can wait to test until you miss your period, you’ll get the most accurate results.
The bottom line: There are several symptoms of early pregnancy you can be on the lookout for, but the best way to know for sure if you’re pregnant is to wait until your period is late to take a test.
Are Home Pregnancy Tests The Best Way To Check For An Early Pregnancy
Home pregnancy tests are generally very reliable. These tests involve urinating on a small test strip and then waiting for a symbol to appear in the result window. This window will usually show a test image . This symbol appears first and means that the test is working. Always check the packaging and instructions of your test to make sure it is working correctly. Within a few minutes, the test will show either a positive result or a negative result. Some digital tests will display a word or phrase .
Blood tests for a possible pregnancy are done in your healthcare provider’s office. This version of the test looks for hCG in your blood. You still need to wait for hCG to build up in your body before taking this type of pregnancy test. Your healthcare provider may recommend this option in some cases. Call your provider if you suspect you’re pregnant and discuss the best type of test.
When Should I Call A Doctor Or Midwife About A Headache In Pregnancy
- 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.
Could I Have The Symptoms Of Early Pregnancy And Not Be Pregnant
Many of the symptoms of early pregnancy overlap with other medical conditions, as well as your typical menstrual cycle. Premenstrual symptoms can be very similar to pregnancy symptoms. This can make it difficult to tell the difference. You can also miss a period without being pregnant. This can happen when you exercise in extreme amounts, lose or gain a lot of weight, or even are stressed. Breastfeeding can also cause your period to stop for a while.
The best way to know you’re pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. If you have missed a period and think there’s a chance you could be pregnant, consider taking a test.
When Should You Go To The Er For A Migraine During Pregnancy
Some specific headache warning signs that warrant immediate medical attention include:
- Experiencing the worst headache of your life, which comes on suddenly and reaches its peak within a minute
- Blurry vision
- Muscle strain from changes in your posture as the baby grows and you gain weight
- High blood pressure in pregnancy
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 medication’s potential to cause birth defects.Please click here to read the FDA’s safety guide when taking medications during pregnancy.
As with any treatment plan, it’s 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.
Remedies For Pregnancy Headaches: How To Relieve Migraines
You’ve probably had a headache before, but during pregnancy, they can be more intense and frequent.
Although you may be tempted by over-the-counter medications, most quick fixes are off-limits during pregnancy. We’ll let you know which pain reliver is safest and the lifestyle changes to try before taking medication.
Read on to learn how to relieve headaches when you’re pregnant.
What Can I Take To Treat My Migraine If I Am Breastfeeding
The same drugs used in pregnancy can be taken whilst breastfeeding, with the following exceptions; aspirin is excreted in breast milk, so should be avoided during breastfeeding because of the theoretical risk of Reye’s syndrome and impaired blood clotting in susceptible infants; metoclopramide is not generally recommended during lactation since small amounts are excreted into breast milk. The licensing for sumatriptan indicates that a 12 hour delay between treating and breastfeeding is necessary. However, the breastfeeding can continue without interruption during treatment with sumatriptan.13 Almotriptan,eletriptan, frovatriptan, and rizatriptan are licensed for use in breastfeeding providing that you do not breastfeed within 24 hours of the last dose. We would recommend similar advice for naratriptan and zolmitriptan.
When To Call The Doctor About Headaches During Pregnancy
Many women, even those who haven’t previously experienced a lot of everyday headaches, will get them during pregnancy. The vast majority of pregnancy headaches are “primary” — meaning your head hurts, but there’s nothing serious or anything to worry about.
But if your headaches persist for more than two or three hours or you have other symptoms , let your practitioner know right away.
In rare cases, so-called “secondary headaches” signal something else going on in your body, such as hypertension or risk factors for preeclampsia, and you’ll want to make sure you get both the headaches and the underlying conditions taken care of ASAP.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect has strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible primary sources. Health information on this site is regularly monitored based on peer-reviewed medical journals and highly respected health organizations and institutions. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
Is A Headache During Pregnancy Something To Worry About
Pregnancy is a beautiful thing to be celebrated, but few people fill you in on the not-so-great symptoms that may occur during the journey. Namely, heartburn, gas, constipation and, for some pregnant mamas, headaches.
While headaches can be just another normal symptom of pregnancy, should they ever be a cause for concern?
“Headaches are common in women both in and outside of pregnancy,” said Kelley Saunders, MD, an OBGYN with Banner – University Medicine Women’s Institute. “But whether they are normal or not should always be discussed with your doctor.”
Here is some insight into what causes headaches during pregnancy, some remedies to treat them and why your doctor should be kept in the loop.
What Is The Best Treatment For Headaches While Pregnant
If you’re 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 there’s a safe nasal decongestant you can use.
- For all headaches: While you shouldn’t 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 doctor’s okay first.
I Am Pregnantbut What Is Going To Happen To My Migraine
Results from studies suggest that up to 80% of women who have migraine without aura experience improvement in migraine during pregnancy, particularly during the second and third trimesters.1-4 Since migraine without aura is often associated with falling levels of oestrogen, the reason for improvement in pregnancy is often considered to be the more stable levels of oestrogen. However, there are many physical, biochemical, and emotional changes in pregnancy that could also account for improvement, including increased production of natural painkillers known as endorphins, muscle relaxation, and changes in sugar balance. In contrast to migraine without aura, attacks of migraine with aura follow a different pattern during pregnancy as attacks are more likely to continue and aura may develop for the first time.5-7
What Are Some Less Common Signs Of Early Pregnancy
There are some additional signs of early pregnancy that aren’t as common. Just like with the most common symptoms, these signs of pregnancy may or may not happen. It’s important to remember that everyone is different and will experience unique symptoms.
Less common signs of early pregnancy can include:
When Should I Call My Doctor About A New Pregnancy
If you have missed a period, taken a pregnancy test and gotten a positive result, your next step will be to call your healthcare provider for your first appointment. While scheduling, your provider may ask if you have already started taking a prenatal vitamin with at least 400mcg of folic acid. These vitamins are important in early pregnancy because they help in the development of your baby’s neural tube. The neural tube will become the brain and spine. Many healthcare providers recommend that any women who could become pregnant take folic acid at all times.
If you are planning a pregnancy, a preconception appointment with your healthcare provider is a good place to start. A preconception appointment is especially important if you take medication for a chronic illness or have other medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension or lupus.
During this appointment, your provider will discuss any current medical conditions, as well as your general health before pregnancy. This appointment is meant to get you into the best place for a new pregnancy.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/01/2020.
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I Am Pregnant What Can I Take To Treat My Migraine
Drugs tend to exert their greatest effects on the developing baby during the first month of pregnancy, often before the woman knows she is pregnant. Hence take as few drugs as possible, in the lowest effective dose. Although many of the drugs taken by unsuspecting women rarely cause harm, there is a difference between reassuring the pregnant woman that what she has taken is unlikely to have affected the pregnancy and advising her what she should take for future attacks. Most evidence of safety is circumstantial; few drugs have been tested during pregnancy and breastfeeding because of the obvious ethical limitations of such trials. Hence drugs are only recommended if the potential benefits to the woman and baby outweigh the potential risks.
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. Here’s what you need to know about the causes, prevention, and treatment of headaches during pregnancy.
How To Treat Migraines When Naturally Doesnt Work
Sometimes, a migraine might continue to plague you, even after you have tried the above remedies. If the pain persists, you can take Tylenol; however, it is important to avoid Aspirin and Ibuprofen. These are not safe to take during pregnancy. If the migraines become a constant nuisance, you may want to talk to your doctor about alternative medications that are safe to take during pregnancy. You can learn more about which medications are safe during pregnancy here.
If you currently take pain medication for migraines, it is best to discuss with your doctor whether it is safe to continue using. It is best to avoid using any herbal remedies to alleviate migraines during pregnancy, as many have not been tested, and some have been shown to lead to complications.
Want to Know More?
Migraines During Pregnancy: When Should You Worry
Migraines may actually decrease in terms of severity and frequency during pregnancy. Research revealed that 50% to 75% of women who previously experienced migraine attacks showed marked improvement in their migraine symptoms during pregnancy. It also showed that these women experienced fewer and less severe migraines during pregnancy.
Comparatively, migraine without aura can begin during pregnancy in up to 10% of women, research indicated. In about 8% of women, migraines become worse during pregnancy. Also, research revealed that roughly 25% of women who experience migraines without aura continue to experience migraine attacks throughout pregnancy.
Some research indicates that migraines are possible predictors of pregnancy complications, such as miscarriage, pre-eclampsia and low birth weight. Yet it is important to note that well-controlled studies are necessary to determine if there is an exact correlation between migraines during pregnancy and any of the aforementioned pregnancy complications.
On the other hand, pregnancy may affect the frequency and severity of a migraine attack. This is often the case in women with migraines without aura. Meanwhile, some women are prone to their first migraine attack during pregnancy or in the postpartum period. Migraine attacks sometimes increase in frequency during the first trimester of pregnancy, with fewer migraine attacks as a pregnancy progresses as well.
Find Out How To Spot The Early Signs Of Pregnancy
Isn’t it ironic that women are more likely to suffer headaches at a time when they aren’t supposed to take painkillers?
Headaches during the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy may be caused by hormonal changes, but they may also be due to the normal increase in blood volume circulating in the woman’s system during pregnancy.
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What Causes Migraine Headaches During Pregnancy
Migraine headaches seem to have a genetic component, which means they tend to run in families. That said, there’s usually a triggering event that unleashes them. One of the most common triggers — at least for women — is fluctuating hormone levels, particularly the rise and fall of estrogen.
Moms-to-be who get migraine attacks tend to experience them most often in the first trimester of pregnancy, when hormone levels, including estrogen, haven’t yet stabilized.
An increase in blood volume, which is also common in the first trimester, can be an additional factor. As blood vessels in the brain expand to accommodate extra blood flow, they can press against sensitive nerve endings, causing pain.
Other common migraine triggers, whether you’re pregnant or not, include:
What Can You Take For A Migraine While Pregnant
Most migraine treatments are not recommended during pregnancy, although most pregnant people can safely take acetaminophen to treat occasional migraines. Compazine and most anti-nausea medications are generally considered safe.
Make sure to speak to your healthcare provider before taking any medication, including over-the-counter medications and herbal treatments.
How Are Migraine Headaches Managed In Pregnancy
If a woman has a history of migraine headaches, and there are no other health problems, migraines during pregnancy are not usually a concern. However, if a first-time migraine-like headache occurs in pregnancy, it is important to rule out any other type of condition that may be dangerous, such as bleeding in the brain, meningitis , or tumors. Further testing may be needed to determine the cause of the headache.
Treatment of migraines in pregnancy may include soothing and nondrug measures, such as cold packs, a darkened room, and sleep. Avoiding triggers, such as certain foods and stress, may also be helpful. Medications must be carefully chosen because many drugs pass through the placenta to the developing fetus. Small doses of caffeine and acetaminophen are generally safe, but only as advised by your doctor. Avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Drugs that can be used include acetaminophen, promethazine, and opioid pain relievers, such as morphine. However, limit the use of opioid pain relievers because of the potential for addiction of the mother and baby. Consult your doctor for more specific information regarding treatment for migraines during pregnancy.
Screaming For Ice Cream With A Side Of Pickles
Around half of pregnant women report cravings for odd food combinations and/or aversions to foods they normally enjoy.
What to know:
- Food cravings can be a sign of nutritional deficiency. You may crave pickles or fermented foods for the probiotics, meat for the iron, dairy for the calcium, etc.
- The most common food aversions during pregnancy are eggs, meat, dairy, onions, garlic, tea, coffee, and spicy foods. #IfOnlyItWereChocolate
- Substitute foods with similar nutritional value for the foods you can’t handle. For example, if you can’t do eggs or meat, get your protein through organic soy products, beans, nuts and seeds, leafy green veggies, and whole grains like quinoa.
- Keep your options open. Try to keep a good selection of healthy food options on hand so you can more easily find something appealing.
- Eat fruit, not cake. If your craving for sweets is causing concern, eat more fruit. It’s full of vitamins, minerals, and sugar.
What Are Symptoms Of Headaches During Pregnancy
If you’ve had an aching head or migraine before you conceived, you probably know what a bad headache feels like. But it’s 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
Some women with migraines also experience light and sound sensitivity and they find that the pain worsens if they move or change positions.
What Do I Do If I Have A Migraine In Pregnancy
If you’ve never had a migraine call your midwife, doctor or hospital maternity unit. Serious conditions like pre-eclampsia can be like a migraine, so although it’s unlikely anything is wrong, your healthcare team may want to see you.
If you have always had migraines, you may find that they get better during your pregnancy. But pregnancy can also change the nature of migraines, so if you have a migraine that feels different to what you’ve had before, call your midwife, doctor or hospital maternity unit.
When To Worry About Migraines During Pregnancy
Experiencing a migraine during pregnancy is sometimes problematic. If a pregnant woman understands the warning signs and symptoms of a migraine attack, she can treat her migraine pain properly. Now, let’s examine some of the key questions surrounding migraines during pregnancy, and how pregnant women can treat their migraine symptoms.
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, you’ll 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.
Early Warning Signs And Symptoms Of Pregnancy
The signs and symptoms of pregnancy differ from woman to woman. All the signs of pregnancy may not be seen in one person. Additionally, the signs may appear in different persons at different times. Below are a few common signs and symptoms that may indicate early pregnancy: