When Should You Worry About Headaches During Pregnancy Ob
Nausea. Fatigue. Hormonal acne. Pregnancy is a wonderful thing, but it comes with some not-so-nice symptoms that can make it a little less blissful along the way. For some women, headaches can seem to pop up out of nowhere. They’re usually just another normal symptom, but when are headaches during pregnancy something to worry about?
Heather Levin, MD, board-certified OB-GYN and maternal fetal medicine specialist at Northwell Health, tells Romper in an interview that whether headaches are normal or new for you, itâs important to bring them up with your doctor. They can help determine how serious the problem is. âHeadaches during pregnancy should always be discussed with your doctor. Headaches that are mild or self-limiting are generally of less concern than severe, persistent headaches,â she explains.
âHeadaches are very common, particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy. Commonly, first trimester headaches tend to be either migraines or tension headaches. The cause for this early pregnancy increase isnât always clear but is likely multifactorial, due to the rapid change in hormones of early pregnancy, nausea and dehydration, stress and poor sleep, and dietary changes, like a decrease in caffeine intake,â Peter Kim, MD, an OB-GYN at SCL Health Central Park OB-GYN tells Romper.
For women who experience migraines regularly, Kim actually finds that pregnancy seems to give them a bit of a break.
What Is The Best Treatment For Migraine Pain
The best treatment for migraine pain depends on the patient. For pregnant women coping with migraines, meeting with a physician provides a great starting point for treatment. Of course, for patients who are dealing with chronic migraines but find that their medications are ineffective or cause unwanted side effects, additional treatment options may be considered.
Dr. Jonathan Cabin of The Migraine Institute offers comprehensive treatments to chronic migraine patients. He is a board-certified head and neck surgeon with dual subspecialty training in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, and he uses his unique expertise to provide a custom treatment for each chronic migraine patient. In doing so, Dr. Cabin helps chronic migraine patients identify the root cause of migraine pain and treat their migraine symptoms appropriately.
Dr. Cabin is available to discuss migraine treatment options for individuals who previously received a chronic migraine diagnosis and are not satisfied with their migraine medications. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Cabin, please contact us online or call us today at 310.461.0303.
Is It Common To Get 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 .
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When A Headache During Pregnancy Isnt Normal
Head up immediately to the doctor in the following cases:
- If the headache is violent, totally different from the others you have suffered.
- Pain in the upper part of the abdomen
- Sudden weight gain
- Hands, feet or face swelling
- Blood pressure has gone up or you have suffered from hypertension
- If you present fever and chills
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
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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What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy
The primary culprits are pregnancy hormones, though there are many other causes of headaches during every stage of pregnancy. This type of pain can have lots of triggers, which means it can come on at any time. Some common causes:
- Hormones:;Headaches are often an early sign of pregnancy and tend to begin during the first trimester when your hormone levels surge and blood volume increases.;
- Trigger foods:;Certain foods like cheese, chocolate, dairy and processed meats like bacon can trigger a headache in any trimester.;Women who drink less caffeine in pregnancy may get withdrawal headaches.
- Sinus congration:;If youre;suffering from sinus congestion, a runny nose or allergies , a headache may accompany these symptoms.
- Dehydration:;The dehydration that often goes hand in hand with nausea and vomiting can also cause your head to throb.
- High blood pressure:;After week 20 in pregnancy, severe headaches may be related to;high blood pressure. This may raise your risk of a number of pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and premature delivery, so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you notice this symptom.
Other causes can include:
- Low blood sugar levels
- Physical or emotional stress
On the bright side, at least for those already prone to migraines: Surging hormones during pregnancy might actually make those less-than-pleasant headaches less frequent.
Is It Normal To Have Migraines Everyday
Most people have headaches from time to time. But if you have a headache more days than not, you might have chronic daily headaches. Rather than a specific headache type, chronic daily headaches include a variety of headache subtypes. Chronic refers to how often the headaches occur and how long the condition lasts.
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How Do I Treat Headaches During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, you want to try and relieve your headache by natural means if possible, however your health care provider may recommend acetaminophen.
You may want to try to relieve your headache with one or more of;the following natural remedies:
- If you have a sinus headache, apply a warm;compress around your eyes and nose
- If you have a tension headache, apply a;cold compress or ice pack at the base of your neck
- Maintain your blood sugar by eating smaller,;more frequent meals this may also help prevent future headaches
- Get a massage massaging your shoulders;and neck is an effective way to relieve pain
- Rest in a dark room and practice deep breathing
- Take a warm shower or bath
- Practice good posture
- Get plenty of rest and relaxation
Is Severe Headache A Sign Of Early Pregnancy
Headaches and dizziness: Headaches and the feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness are common during early pregnancy. This happens because of both the hormonal changes in your body and your increasing blood volume. Cramping: You can also experience cramps that might feel like your period is about to start.
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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, lets examine some of the key questions surrounding migraines during pregnancy, and how pregnant women can treat their migraine symptoms.
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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How To Relieve A Headache During Pregnancy
Do you often wonder? Im pregnant and my head hurts, what can I take?
You can resort to certain medications such as paracetamol to relieve headache during pregnancy.
But if you are determined not to use any type of medication, and you dont know what to take, you may want to try some home remedies for headache during pregnancy.
What Can Cause Frequent Headaches During Pregnancy
What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy? During the first trimester, your body experiences a surge of hormones and an increase in blood volume. These two changes can cause more frequent headaches. These headaches may be further aggravated by stress, poor posture or changes in your vision.
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Can Pregnancy Trigger Migraines
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.
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
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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.
When To Call Your Doctor
Headaches are common during pregnancy. While they’re painful, they’re usually nothing to worry about. However, headaches in pregnancy can sometimes be a warning sign of a more serious problem like preeclampsia.
Here’s what you need to know about the different types of headaches during pregnancy, how to recognize them, and what to do if you think your headache may be a sign of a dangerous complication.
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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.
Coping With Headaches In 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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Is It Normal To Have Migraines Everyday While Pregnant
A: Headaches are very common during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester. Your hormone levels are skyrocketing and this can lead to daily headaches. Other common causes include dehydration, abruptly stopping your caffeine intake, increased stress, and poor sleep.
Remedies For Migraines 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.
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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.
Is It Common To Have Pregnancy Second Trimester Headaches
Headaches are a common pregnancy symptom. Researchers say that 39% of pregnant and postpartum women have headaches.
Headaches tend to be worse in the first trimester and improve during the second and third trimester. But some women still get headaches in their second trimester. About 4% to 8% of women say their pregnancy headaches get worse after the first trimester.
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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.
HOW THE FDA RATES THE SAFETY OF MEDICATIONS FOR USE IN 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:
Outlook For Headache During Pregnancy
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.
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Last medically reviewed on May 6, 2019
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