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Can Early Pregnancy Cause Migraines

Headache As Preeclampsia Symptom

Warning Signs – Headaches During Pregnancy

When a headache during pregnancy is accompanied by dizziness, blurred vision, or blind spots, it’s time to call your obstetrician or healthcare provider.

These could be symptoms of serious complications, such as preeclampsia, a kind of high blood pressure that can occur after the 20th week of pregnancy. The condition can damage other organs like the liver or kidneys and lead to a low number of platelets, cells in the blood that are important in the clotting process.

One study found that pregnant women with high blood pressure and a headache were 17 times more likely to suffer severe complications, like preeclampsia.

Besides high blood pressure , other signs and symptoms of preeclampsia include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling, usually in the feet, legs, face, and hands
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Nausea and vomiting

Pregnant people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes have a two- to four-fold risk of preeclampsia.

Some people with preeclampsia develop a headache that resembles a migrainea throbbing headache with nausea and/or a sensitivity to light or sound. This is another cue to contact your doctor right away, especially if you don’t normally get migraines or the pain is different, more intense, or longer lasting than the headaches you usually get.

Headaches Doctor Discussion Guide

  • A high fever
  • High blood pressure

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:

  • Missed menstrual cycle: It is the most common symptom of early pregnancy. If a woman has missed her period by a week or more, there is a chance that she might be pregnant. However, this symptom can be misleading if the menstrual cycle is irregular.
  • Spotting: Blood or spotting on the panty prior to the monthly date is one of the early symptoms of pregnancy. About a week after conception, the embryo pushes itself into the wall of the uterus . This causes some light bleeding or spots of blood to appear on the panty.
  • Vaginal discharge: Some women experience a thick, milky discharge from the vagina in early pregnancy. It is not associated with itching and foul odor.
  • Vulva changes: Chadwicks sign is one of the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy. The vulva and vagina turn bluish in color. This happens because more blood is needed in that area to build the tissue for pregnancy.
  • Nausea with or without vomiting: Morning sickness, which may strike at any time of the day or night, often begins about four weeks after a woman becomes pregnant. Some women feel nausea earlier and some never experience it. Research emphasizes that pregnancy hormones may play a role in this symptom.
  • How Can I Get Rid Of A Headache While Pregnant

    If headaches are causing you problems, make sure you following the tips above to avoid triggering them in the first place.

    No matter what you do, however, headaches in early pregnancy might still happen.

    If they do, you might like to try the following remedies to relieve your headache:

    • Apply a cold compress or ice pack to the back of your neck
    • For sinus headaches, apply a warm compress over your eyes and nose
    • Have a massage, or do some yoga to stretch out your shoulder and neck muscles
    • Rest in a darkened room
    • Have a warm bath
    • Cold, or very warm water on the head can help try one or the other to find out which works for you
    • Try acupuncture or acupressure
    • Sniff peppermint or lavender oil, but dont ingest it or use it on your skin
    • Body work therapy, such as osteopathy, to improve your posture and alignment.

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    Is It Normal To Have Headaches While Pregnant

    Headache pain during pregnancy is common. You may have tension headaches during your first trimester of pregnancy. This may happen because of the many changes that youre going through in a short period. Headache pain may happen in the second and third period of your pregnancy for other reasons.6 2019 .

    Natural Remedies For Pregnancy Migraines:

    Headaches During Pregnancy: Migraine &  Pregnancy Headache ...

    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.

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    How Do I Get Rid Of A Migraine While Pregnant

    The good news? Most women see an improvement in the number of migraines they experience as their pregnancy goes on, reports Dr. Shadbehr. But to better cope when the headaches just wont quit, she recommends these seven tips:

    • Keep a headache diary: By tracking your headaches and symptoms, its easier to notice any changes that your doctor should know about.
    • Know your migraine triggers: A headache diary can also help you recognize and avoid potential triggers. That way, if its cheese that sets you off, you wont put a slice in your afternoon sandwich. Other common triggers include processed meats, chocolate, MSG and ripe bananas.
    • Hydrate: Dr. Shadbehr recommends drinking about 8 to 10 glasses of water each day, but each persons water requirements differ.
    • Get enough sleep: Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night is ideal.
    • Try safe home remedies: Lying in a dark room or putting a cold rag over your head can provide some relief. But discuss any natural remedies with a physician before using them, cautions Dr. Shadbehr. The different substances in natural remedies could negatively affect you or your unborn child.
    • Explore cognitive behavioral therapy or biofeedback: Both can teach you ways to cope with headache pain by changing the way you think.
    • Try physical therapy: Poor posture, especially late in pregnancy, can lead to headaches. Strengthening the neck and shoulder muscles through PT can help combat this.

    Migraine Medication And Pregnancy

    Some migraine medications can be harmful to developing babies, which is why doctors recommend speaking to them early on in the family planning stage.

    Much of the injury that can be done to a developing baby by medications that are taken by a mother who is newly pregnant can occur early on, often before a mother even knows shes pregnant, says Robbins. So its very important to have time to talk about what the plans are because there could be medicine exposures that could place a developing baby at risk.

    While a doctor can talk to patients more about specific casesand in some instances can recommend medication that will be safe during specific trimestersnon-medical approaches to migraine are often emphasized during pregnancy. Things like avoiding triggers, minimizing stress as much as possible, and non-medicine therapies like prenatal yoga and acupuncture are often recommended. Acetaminophen is usually considered safe for acute attacks, but pregnant women should always consult their doctor before taking medication.

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    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 pregnancys 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 dont decrease during pregnancy should be particularly vigilant. Its important to work with your obstetrician and your headache doctor when you have migraine to establish a safe treatment plan.

    How Can I Treat A Headache In Pregnancy

    Is it normal to have headaches during 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 Symptoms Often Improve With Pregnancy

    There is evidence that for many women, migraine can actually improve during pregnancy. A study published in the Journal of Headache Pain found several encouraging trends:

    • It was more common for pregnant women with existing migraine to stop having headaches than it was for pregnant women with no previous history of migraine to start having headaches.
    • There was a gradual decrease of headache and migraine attacks during pregnancy.
    • There was a significant decrease in the duration of headaches during pregnancy compared with prepregnancy headaches.

    As many as 50 to 80 percent of pregnant women with migraine have a reduction in migraine attacks during their pregnancy, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

    However, for some women, migraine can worsen during the first trimester, says Starling. A drop or big change in estrogen level can sometimes trigger a migraine attack, and there can be some drastic changes in estrogen early in pregnancy, she says. That usually levels off and improves in the second and third trimesters, she adds.

    How Is The Acute Attack Treated In Pregnancy

    The two main areas of concern are treating an acute migraine and preventing attacks. When planning pregnancy, women should find it useful to discuss the treatment options that exist for the acute attack .). It should be noted that ergotamine is specifically contraindicated in pregnancy. Paracetamol is a safe treatment for acute migraine in pregnancy, but it may provide no benefit.

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    Alternate Causes Of Headaches In Pregnancy

    It is extremely important to make an accurate diagnosis when dealing with headaches. First, severe neurological disease must be ruled out when dealing with new onset of headache with associated neurological. The diagnosis of migraine with aura must not be given until other potential causes have been ruled out.

    Pregnancy-related diseases should be ruled out as a cause for new onset of headache in pregnancy. Specifically, it is important to rule out preeclampsia , a pregnancy-related disorder that can be very serious. Mild cases of preeclampsia present with elevated blood pressure at an office visit, proteinuria , and nondependent edema . As preeclampsia progresses to a more severe form, a woman may develop headaches in association with multiple other symptoms. These headaches are unrelieved by symptomatic medications such as Tylenol. It is very important to mention an unrelenting headache to your physician, especially late in pregnancy, since this pregnancy-related disorder can result in significant complications including fetal death and maternal convulsions.

    What Can I Take To Treat My Migraine If I Am Breastfeeding

    10 Ways to Quickly Treat Pregnancy Headaches

    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 Reyes 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.

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    Migraine And Postpartum Depression

    Because migraine is often linked with depression, women sometimes assume postpartum depression will also be linked. Robbins says that is not the case.

    Although migraine is associated with depression in general, and depression can make migraine worse, women with migraine should not specifically worry about postpartum depression, he says. There is no known link between migraine and postpartum depression. Although migraine is associated with depression, and depression can make migraine worse, women with migraine should not specifically worry about postpartum depression, Robbins said. Medicines that are off limits during pregnancy are often fine to take shortly after pregnancy, so Robbins says women who are suffering from migraine or postpartum depression should seek care.

    Women with migraine should definitely not be afraid of becoming pregnant, Dr. Robbins said. Theres no evidence or experience that suggests that having children is in any way harmful to women with migraine overall.

    Migraine and pregnancy are distinct medical experiences, and each require specialized care. If you dont already have a headache doctor and youre considering becoming pregnant, connect with a specialist who can help you manage your migraine symptoms and treatment safely. The American Migraine Foundations searchable doctor database can make it easy to find a doctor or headache center near you.

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    Is It Normal To Have A Severe Headache At 6 Weeks Pregnant

    Headaches are one of the early signs of pregnancy and are extremely normal. But they shouldnt interfere with your day to day work a lot. Severe headaches might also be a cause of dehydration. During the initial weeks of pregnancy amniotic sac is formed which is 99% made up of water. So all the water in your body is used up for it.

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    How Is A Migraine Attack Prevented In Pregnancy

    Migraine prevention is more difficult when a patient is pregnant. Preventive agents are associated with the possibility of complications during pregnancy, so they should ideally be stopped in women planning to conceive .). Propranolol is both effective and safe. Unfortunately, the neuromodulators, valproate , topiramate, and gabapentin, are not established as safe valproate is a known teratogen.

    Outlook For Headache During Pregnancy

    Is it normal to get migraine headaches during pregnancy, and what should I do about them?

    Headache pain during pregnancy is common. You may have tension headaches during your first trimester of pregnancy. This may happen because of the many changes that youre going through in a short period.

    Headache pain may happen in the second and third period of your pregnancy for other reasons. Some causes of headaches in your mid to late pregnancy may be serious.

    High blood pressure is a serious cause of headache pain during pregnancy. You can have high blood pressure at any time in your pregnancy. You may not have any symptoms at all. Check your blood pressure at least once a day with a home monitor.

    Tell your doctor if you have headaches at any time in your pregnancy. Let your doctor know right away if you have a personal or family history of migraine, high blood pressure, seizures or diabetes.

    Take all medications and treatment exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all diet and exercise advice carefully. See your doctor for all follow-up and regular check-ups. Most causes of headaches during pregnancy are treatable or preventable with the right care.

    For more pregnancy guidance and weekly tips tailored to your due date, sign up for our Im Expecting newsletter.

    Last medically reviewed on May 6, 2019

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    Effect Of Pregnancy On Migraine

    Migraine headaches often improve during pregnancy, but have also been to known to worsen or start during pregnancy.2,3 A link between migraine and the female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, is seen in menstrual migraine and migraine in pregnancy.3 Almost half of women with migraine have improvment during the first trimester , and this improvement increases substantially in the second and third trimesters.4 The number of women with complete remission in the first trimester is low however, the rate of complete remission increases significantly as pregnancy progresses .5 Migraine with aura is less likely to improve or remit compared with migraine without aura.5 In a study of pregnant women with menstrual migraine, participants reported increased headache intensity but not frequency early in pregnancy , compared with pregnant women whose migraines were not menstrual.6 Regardless of whether womens migraines were menstrual or nonmenstrual, headache intensity decreased during the second half of pregnancy as did frequency of analgesic use.6

    Migraine itself may be a potential teratogen. A retrospective study showed that women treated for acute migraine had higher rates of preterm delivery, preeclampsia, and low birthweight.7 A more recent prospective observational study, however, showed no teratogenic effect of migraine itself.8


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