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What To Take For A Migraine While Pregnant

What Causes Migraine Headaches During Pregnancy

Pregnancy Tips : How to Treat Headaches During Pregnancy

Migraine headaches seem to have a genetic component, which means they tend to run in families. That said, theres 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, havent 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 youre pregnant or not, include:

Pregnancy Means Big Changes In A Womans Body: What Does That Mean For Women With Migraine

Starting a family is one of the most amazing experiences in a womans life. It can be exciting, intimidating, joyous and even a little bit scaryespecially if you are one of the millions of women in the United States who are living with migraine. But before you put your pregnancy dreams on the backburner, we have great news: pregnancy can oftentimes bring relief to migraine patients.

Dr. Matthew Robbins, associate professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, researches headache and pregnancy. In a recent Facebook Live event hosted by the American Migraine Foundation, he revealed that pregnancy, and breastfeeding after birth, can actually reduce the frequency of headache attacks in women with migraine.

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

Why Does My Head Hurt

Women often experience tension headaches during the first trimester. It’s most likely because of fluctuations in hormones, says Sheena Aurora, M.D., director of the Swedish Headache Center, in Seattle. By the second trimester, she says, the pain subsides because the hormones are steadily high.

Of course, there are many other possible reasons for your throbbing head. Ask yourself, ‘Are my headaches being stimulated by something in my diet?’ says Lillian Schapiro, M.D., an OB-GYN in Atlanta. ‘What medications am I taking? What time of day are they happening? Is there anything I can change?’

In the third trimester, when you’re carrying a lot of additional weight, consider whether poor posture might be a factor in your headaches. The strain on your neck and shoulders could lead to muscle spasms, which can irritate nerves in the back of your head. Or you might develop muscle tightening and spasms from sleeping with your head in an unnatural position.

Also Check: Why Is Excedrin Migraine Being Taken Off The Market

Remedies For Pregnancy Headaches: How To Relieve Migraines

Youve 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. Well 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 youre pregnant.

How To Treat Migraines When Naturally Doesnt Work

Headaches During Pregnancy: Migraine & Pregnancy Headache ...

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?

Also Check: Migraine Earring

Pregnancy Headaches: Second Trimester

Most commonly, people experience headaches in the first and third trimesters. However, some still suffer from them in the second trimester. During this stage, you can ask yourself if the pain is caused by muscle strain, poor posture, stress or hunger. If it persists or becomes severe, see your doctor, who can check for high blood pressure and other causes.

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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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.

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  • Amundsen S, Nordeng H, Nezvalova-Henriksen K, Stovner LJ, Spigset O. Pharmacological treatment of migraine during pregnancy and breastfeeding. NatRev Neurol. 2015 Apr;11:209-19.
  • Hamilton KT and Robbins MS. Migraine treatment in pregnant women presenting to acute care: a retrospective observational study. Headache.2019 Feb;59:173-179.
  • Amundsen S, Ovrebo TG, Amble NMS, Nordeng H. Risk perception, beliefs about medicines and medical adherence among pregnant and breastfeeding women with migraine: findings from a cross-sectional study in Norway. BMJ Open. 2019 Feb 27;9.
  • Wells RE, Turner DP, Lee M, Bishop L, Strauss L. Managing migraine during pregnancy and lactation. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2016 Apr;16:40.
  • Content and Format of Labeling for Human Prescription Drug and Biological Products; Requirements for Pregnancy and Lactation Labeling
  • Meidahl Petersen K, Jimenez-Solem E, Andersen JT, Petersen M, Brodbaek K, Kober L, Torp-Pedersen C, Poulsen HE. Beta-Blocker treatment during pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes: a nationwide population-based cohort study. BMJ Open. 2012 Jul 19;2.
  • Robinson AY, Grogan PM. OnabotulinumtoxinA successfully used as migraine prophylaxis during pregnancy: a case report. Mil Med. 2014 Jun;179.
  • Yallampalli C, Chauhan M, Endsley J, Sathishkumar K. Calcitonin gene related family peptides: Importance in normal placental and fetal development. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;814:229-40.
  • Read Also: Migraine With Chills

    Drugs To Prevent Migraine

    If daily medication is considered necessary to prevent migraine during pregnancy, the lowest effective dose of propranolol is the drug of choice.9 Low dose amitriptyline is a safe alternative.9 There are no reports of adverse outcomes from pizotifen used during pregnancy or lactation, although it is less often used than the drugs above.

    In contrast, sodium valproate, should not be taken during pregnancy for migraine as there is a high risk of fetal abnormalities. Indeed, women prescribed sodium valproate for migraine must use effective contraception.

    Topiramate should not be used for migraine during pregnancy and breastfeeding as there are insufficient data regarding safety.

    Is Excedrin Migraine Safe During Pregnancy

  • Is Excedrin Tension Headache the same as Excedrin Migraine?
  • You should not use Excedrin Migraine during the last trimester of pregnancy, as it may harm your pregnancy. This is because Excedrin Migraine contains aspirin. Using regular-strength aspirin often in the third trimester can cause a serious birth defect of your babys heart.

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    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.

    Using Painkillers When Pregnant

    How To Manage Migraine During Pregnancy? by Erin Bell

    Some medicines, including painkillers, can harm your baby’s health.

    Paracetamol is generally considered safe during pregnancy. Always check the packaging for the correct amount of tablets to take, and how often you may take them.

    If you find you need to take paracetamol for more than a couple of days, you may need to speak to your GP.

    Ibuprofen is sometimes recommended for headaches during pregnancy. You can only take this at certain times during your pregnancy. Always check with your GP, pharmacist or obstetrician before taking ibuprofen.

    Check with your GP, pharmacist or midwife before taking any medication.

    Also Check: How To Get A Migraine

    What Happens To Migraine During The Second Trimester Of Pregnancy

    Generally speaking, that’s the time when migraine improves. It becomes less frequent and less severe, likely due to associated hormonal changes. That’s the good news.

    For an unfortunate minority, severe migraine may persist throughout pregnancy. This can be a difficult situation due to medication limitations, although there are some safe non-medication and medication options available.

    Preventive Treatment In Pregnancy

    Behavioral Approaches

    It is best to start nonpharmacologic behavioral changes known to decrease frequency and severity of migraines before pregnancy to make them learned behaviors. These approaches include relaxation therapy, biofeedback, and behavioral sleep modification, the latter of which may revert chronic migraines to episodic.11,12 Although these approaches are viable first-line treatment options for some pregnant women or individuals considering pregnancy, they may not be sufficient for others. For women with high frequency of migraine or significant disability due to migraine, the risk of pharmacologic agents needs to be weighed against the health consequences of untreated migraine, which can negatively affect both the mother and fetus. Untreated migraine can lead to poor oral intake, resulting in inadequate nutrition and dehydration in addition to sleep deprivation, increased stress, and depression.13

    Vitamins and Minerals

    Oral Pharmacologic Agents

    A recent cohort study evaluating outcomes of children born to mothers who used beta blockers during pregnancy showed no increased congenital malformation risk.18 A prior cohort study, however, did show an association between beta blockers and fetal growth restriction, preterm birth, and perinatal mortality. The use of beta blockers for migraine prevention in pregnancy may warrant close monitoring of fetal growth.19

    Monoclonal Antibodies


    Also Check: What Is Wrong With Excedrin Migraine

    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 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.

    What Medications Should I Avoid When Im Pregnant

    Ask Dr Charlotte: What medications for migraine sufferers are safe to take during pregnancy?

    Starling recommends against taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen during pregnancy. Thats because in the first trimester, these drugs are linked to an increased risk of spontaneous abortions, and in the third trimester, there are concerns about fetal kidney issues, and other issues with the fetus, she says.

    A study published in 2018 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that NSAID use in women around conception was associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, especially in women with a lower body mass index .

    The FDA issued a safety warning in 2020 that recommends avoiding NSAIDs in pregnancy at 20 weeks or later because they can result in low amniotic fluid and may cause rare kidney problems in unborn babies.

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    Nurtec Odt Side Effects

    Nurtec ODT can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Nurtec ODT. But these lists do not include all possible side effects.

    For more information about the possible side effects of Nurtec ODT, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.

    Note: The Food and Drug Administration tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect youve had with Nurtec ODT, you can do so through .

    When Should I Call A Doctor Or Midwife About A Headache In Pregnancy

    Call your midwife, doctor or hospital maternity unit if you have a very bad headache or a headache that wont go away. This could be a symptom of pregnancy induced hypertension. ;This is a type of high blood pressure that develops after 20;weeks and goes away within 6;weeks of the baby’s birth. Its also known as gestational high blood pressure or gestational hypertension.

    Call your midwife, doctor or hospital straight away if you have a headache and vision problems and sudden swelling on your hands, feet, face or stomach. This could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy condition that can be dangerous for you and the baby if it is not monitored and treated.;

    • 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.

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    Symptoms Of A Migraine During Pregnancy

    Though it usually depends on the individual, a commonly reported symptom of migraines is a severe throbbing pain on one side of the head. Migraine pain is capable of interfering with your work and other daily activities. Associated symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. You could experience sweating, chills, tiredness, or a loss of appetite. On average, migraine episodes last roughly four hours, but at times, can go on much longer.

    Though it usually depends on the individual, a commonly reported symptom of migraines is a severe throbbing pain on one side of the head.

    Occasionally, you may even observe subtle warning signs of a migraine such as food cravings, mood changes, or constipation in the days preceding an attack. This pre-migraine stage is called a prodrome.;

    In 1520 percent of migraine sufferers, episodes will be accompanied by visual disturbances known as auras. Flashes and arches of light, combined with blind spots, suddenly appear. Other symptoms include jerking uncontrollably, hearing noises, or having difficulty speaking.

    What Is This Medicine

    Managing Migraines During Pregnancy PP

    ACETAMINOPHEN; ASPIRIN; CAFFEINE is a pain reliever. It is used to treat mild aches and pains. This medicine may help with arthritis, colds, headache , muscle aches, menstrual cramps, sinusitis, and toothache.

    This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

    COMMON BRAND NAME: Bayer Migraine Formula, Excedrin Extra Strength, Excedrin Extra Strength Express, Excedrin Menstrual Complete, Excedrin Migraine, Genaced, Goodys Extra Strength, Pain Reliever Plus, Pamprin, Vanquish

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    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 Womens 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.


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