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Can You Get Migraines When Pregnant

What Can I Do About Headaches

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

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.

When Should I Be Concerned

When a headache is severe, or just doesnt go away, or when you have dizziness, blurred vision, or changes in your field of vision, you should contact your healthcare provider. Headaches can sometimes be related to blood pressure problems in pregnancy. If they are persistent or severe and happen after 20 weeks of pregnancy, let your healthcare provider know. Although strokes during pregnancy are rare, migraines can increase a pregnant womans risk for them. If you have migraines, report them to your healthcare provider.

How Do You Get Rid Of A Headache During Pregnancy

According to the latest research in the field, certain headaches during pregnancy might be the basis of some series health issues. Doctors examined the medical records of 140 pregnant women in N.Y., who started experiencing headaches during pregnancy, pains they didn`t have before.

Therefore, it was discovered that around 65% of these particular headaches represented migraines, while the remaining 35% was nothing more than the result of increase blood pressure, more commonly known as preeclampsia. The study outlined that 1 out of 6 women experiencing headache while pregnant was diagnosed with hypertensive disorder, and up to 16% of those particular women experience migraines for the first time.

While expecting a baby, it`s essential for blood pressure and urine to be closely monitored, because the increase of blood pressure or protein in the urine represent a symptoms of preeclampsia. This medical condition generally takes place in the 2nd half of pregnancy, especially in the last weeks before term. And among the first signs to occur are: blurred vision, fast weight gain, abnormal urination and pain, swelling of the hands or face and headache.

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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.

Remedies For Migraines During Pregnancy

7 ways to prevent headaches and migraines

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.

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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.

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.

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When To Seek Help

Tell your doctor or midwife if you often have bad headaches. It could be a sign of a more serious problem.

Contact your midwife or GP immediately if you have:

  • generalised swelling, especially if this is sudden
  • flashing lights in your eyes or blurred vision
  • been told your blood pressure is increasing
  • a sudden severe headache
  • a headache that is worsening
  • a migraine that feels different to the migraines you usually have
  • a pain in the upper part of your tummy

Coping With Headaches In Pregnancy

3 things you should know about headaches during pregnancy

Paracetamol is the first choice of painkiller if you’re pregnant.

However, for safety, if you take paracetamol in pregnancy, take it for the shortest possible time.

You can get advice from your pharmacist, midwife or GP about how much paracetamol you can take and for how long.

There are some painkillers you should avoid in pregnancy such as those containing codeine, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen unless prescribed by your doctor.

You can also make changes to your lifestyle to try and help prevent and treat headaches. Try to:

  • drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration

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The 12 Early Signs Of Pregnancy From Feeling Tired To Headaches

  • Vanessa Chalmers, Digital Health Reporter
  • 12:48 ET, Apr 28 2021

A HEADACHE one day and bloating another – the signs of pregnancy are all too common in every day life.

It can take several weeks before you put them together and realise you could be carrying a baby.

Doctors calculate pregnancy from the first day of a womans last period, rather than from the date the baby was conceived – if the parents can remember it.

The first obvious sign is usually a missed period.

But even this could go amiss in a small number of women who are used to erratic menstrual cycles, or who simply dont track their usual pattern.

Not all women experience the same pregnancy symptoms.

But the most common are fatigue, breast tenderness, nausea and bloating, Lia Moss, a certified nurse midwife at Northwestern Medicine, who delivers babies at Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago, told LiveScience.

Find out more about these signs:

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

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Is My Headache A Cause For Concern

Sometimes. Headaches tend to be more common in the first and third trimesters, but they can occur in the second trimester as well. While there are common causes for headaches during pregnancy, its important to note that headaches during the second and third trimester can also be due to high blood pressure, called preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-related condition that requires prompt evaluation and management with an obstetrician or maternal fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Saunders said. Elevated blood pressure prior to pregnancy puts a woman at increased risk for preeclampsia.

Rest Rest And More Rest


If youre aching back, heavy eyelids and swollen feet arent enough to make you sit down, a migraine headache sure will. If you are currently suffering from a migraine, sit down now. Sitting, resting, sleeping, napping and all around relaxing is the first thing you should be doing to alleviate your symptoms.

1. Sleep Schedule

Create a set bedtime and stick to it. Most of the time women are so tired in the first trimester this isnt a problem. Their body naturally puts itself to sleep sometimes before the sun has even set.

However, many people also can trigger a migraine by getting too much sleep. The problem of how much is too much is easily solved by setting a sleep schedule. Mark W Green, director of the Center for Headache and Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine said, People who are sleep-deprived get more migraines, so you need to keep sleep very regular to break the cycle. This means going to sleep at the same time and getting up at the same time every single day.”

2. During a Migraine

What do you do if you already have a migraine? Sleep may sound like a great way to treat a migraine, but can be difficult to make happen when your head is pounding so loudly its as if a herd of buffalo are racing across your forehead. Therefore, Mark Green suggests resting in a pitch black room with two pillows behind your head for extra cushioning. Drinking a relaxing cup of tea may also help sooth you into slumber. Below is a recipe from The Natural Pregnancy Book:

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Pregnancy And Migraine Medications

Pregnancy is a step into the unknown. It can be the most wonderful time in a persons life, but it can also be intimidating. For women living with migraine disease, contemplating pregnancy can be downright frightening.

I always assumed I would not have children. Motherhood and pregnancy seemed like an unthinkable undertaking to someone experiencing daily migraine since the age of four. But very suddenly, after 26 years of perfecting various migraine strategies and medications, I won my personal migraine battle. This was so life-changing for me that after a month without daily migraines I noticed flowers were beautiful for the first time. Four years later, I got up the courage to become pregnant. In truth, I was practically paralyzed with fear.

Last month, in an article on breastfeeding and migraine medications, I pointed out that our culture puts a lot of pressure on breastfeeding mothers to avoid medications. The stigma and cultural pressures are even more prevalent for expectant mothers. Studies have demonstrated that not just pregnant women, but also their healthcare providers tend to overestimate the risks associated with using medications during pregnancy.



When contemplating the use of a medication during pregnancy it is important to understand the code the FDA uses to rate the safety of medication during pregnancy. The FDA pregnancy categories 5 are as follows:


Migraine Medications That Are Safe During Pregnancy

Thanks to stable levels of migraine-preventive estrogen that occur during pregnancy, women who frequently experience these debilitating headaches often get a reprieve from them when they’re expecting. For those in the minority who still get migraines, the question of how to treat them is an important one. While there are several effective medications for the treatment of migraines, not all are considered safe for a developing baby.

Migraine painif experienced during pregnancyis often severe enough to require medication. Sometimes other migraine symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, also must be treated with drugs as well.

Fortunately, there are a number of effective migraine medications that the Food and Drug Administration considers safe to take during pregnancy. Before reaching for your regular prescription, make sure that it is included in this list . If it’s not, discuss these safer options with your healthcare provider.

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Botox For Migraines And More Pregnancy

    If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know how debilitating these severe headaches can be. From the nausea and dizziness to the light- and sound-sensitivity, migraines can seriously disrupt patients’ lives and even their approach to family planning.

    A study published by the American Headache Society found that nearly 20% of women with migraines avoided becoming pregnant due to their condition. Approximately 72% of them believed pregnancy would make their migraines worse, and 68% thought their symptoms would make pregnancy more difficult.

    Actually, research suggests that 50% to 80% of women have less frequent, less severe migraines during their second and third trimester. Migraines are thought to be caused not only by nerve disruptions but also by hormone fluctuations, particularly estrogen. Having high levels of estrogen during pregnancy may be therapeutic.

    However, migraines may carry a slightly higher risk of pregnancy complications. A Danish study found that women with a diagnosis of migraines had a slightly higher risk of hypertensive disorders and preterm birth, but having migraines didnt increase the frequency of birth defects.

    Fortunately, treatment for migraines does not carry any increased risk compared to untreated migraines so women should not hesitate to seek care for this condition.

    Before or early in pregnancy, tell your Ob/Gyn that you experience migraines. We can work with your neurologist to help you effectively manage your condition.

    What Are Possible Complications Of Migraines

    Is it normal to have headaches during pregnancy?

    If you have a history of migraine headaches, and have no other health problems, migraines during pregnancy are not usually a concern. 

    But if a first-time migraine-like headache occurs in pregnancy, it is important to check for any other type of condition that may be dangerous. This includes bleeding in the brain, meningitis, high blood pressure, or tumors. You may need further testing to find the cause of the headache. This testing may include urine and blood tests.

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    If I Tend To Get Migraines During My Period Will I Also Get Them During Pregnancy

    According to the Migraine Research Foundation, menstrual, or âhormonal,â migraines are a type of migraine that affects 7â19% of women.

    For women who get them, they tend to hit just before or at the start of your period. The quick drop in estrogen and progesterone that occurs before your period starts could be what triggers menstrual migraines, according to the US Office on Womenâs Health.

    If you suffer from menstrual migraine, you might worry that youâll also be prone to get migraines triggered by hormonal changes that happen in your body during pregnancy, but thereâs good news. Dr. Crystal points out that many women who get menstrual migraines actually see an improvement in their migraines while pregnant.

    Headache And Migraine Remedies That Are Safe During Pregnancy

      Most women deal with headaches at some point in their lives. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that one in five women had a severe acute headache or migraine in the previous three months. Additionally, migraines are more common in women than men approximately 18 percent of women have them compared to 6.5 percent of men.

      Because headaches and migraines are so common, its probably no surprise that many women deal with them during pregnancy. For the majority of pregnant women, occasional headaches or migraines are no cause for alarm, and most standard treatments are safe. However, suffering a severe headache at key times during or after pregnancy can indicate a serious medical emergency.

      Read Also: How To Get A Migraine

      What Do Headaches Feel Like In Early Pregnancy

      It`s not unusual to have headaches while pregnant, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. If you were always sensitive to these headaches, they may become more acute during pregnancy. No one knows exactly why they occur now, experts claiming they may be related to hormonal changes, but also about the changes in blood circulation.

      Headaches can usually occur during the same area of the head, or in distinct places. These can cause an acute pulse pain, or a generalized deaf pain. Generally speaking, headaches don`t cause other signs.

      Migraines are rather different, as they are considered to be caused by the abnormal functioning of brain blood vessels. Headaches triggered by migraines might lead to other signs, like sensitivity to odors, light or sounds, and nausea.

      How Do Migraine Headaches Typically Change From First Trimester To Second Trimester To Third Trimester

      How to Get Rid of Headaches During Pregnancy

      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 women, migraines can come back near the end of pregnancy, possibly because the discomforts of late pregnancy can impact your sleep.

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      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?

      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 Is A Migraine Treated During Pregnancy

      The first trimester generally provides a good idea about whether a woman experiences migraines, as well as the best way to treat them. If a pregnant woman experiences a migraine attack, she should see her physician. Then, this woman and her physician can determine how to address migraine pain.

      Preventative migraine medications are typically not recommended for use during pregnancy. These medications sometimes cause nausea and vomiting to worsen during pregnancy. They can also increase a pregnant womans risk of experiencing dehydration.

      In one study, researchers indicated pregnant women should first use nondrug therapies to help treat migraine pain. These therapies may include relaxation, sleep and massage, along with the use of ice packs and biofeedback therapy. Following the use of nondrug therapies, pregnant women may consider paracetamol as the initial drug treatment for migraine pain. The risks of using aspirin and ibuprofen to treat migraine pain are usually lower than those associated with other types of migraine medications; thus, pregnant women may sometimes use aspirin and ibuprofen to address a migraine attack.

      Furthermore, pregnant women may use the antipsychotic medication prochlorperazine to treat nausea associated with a migraine. Research shows that prochlorperazine is unlikely to put a woman in danger during pregnancy and helps alleviate nausea.

      Headache As Preeclampsia Symptom

      What can I take for headaches in 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

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      Tips For Relieving Mild Headaches

      • Get plenty of rest. Sleep is especially hard later in your pregnancy but is so important to physical and mental health. Find yourself a comfy prenatal pillow and snuggle away.
      • Drink plenty of water. Pregnant moms require more water than the average person. While you may want to avoid extra trips to the bathroom, adequate fluid intake is important for you and baby.
      • Eat regular, well-balanced meals. To prevent low blood sugar, eat small meals throughout the day. Avoid sugar, like soda and candy.
      • Get a prenatal massage. A full-body massage can release tension in the muscles of your neck, shoulders and back.
      • Use warm compresses on head, neck and shoulders.
      • Avoid triggers. Keep a journal to help identify specific triggers so you can learn what to avoid. Some common headache triggers include strong odors and nitrites or nitrates.
      • Try exercise and relaxation techniques. Theres evidence that regular exercise can reduce stress and boost overall mood. Check with your doctor first before starting any new fitness routines.
      • Take acetaminophen to relieve symptoms .
      • Take caffeine in doses less than 200mg in a day .

      If you have a history of migraines, however, your doctor may treat them differently during pregnancy. Discuss with your doctor what medications are safe to take during pregnancy.


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