Detailed information about headaches during pregnancy, its symptoms, causes and treatments. We hope that our advice and tips will help you
Rosie Foster of Stockton, California, had numerous headaches when she was pregnant with her first son, Lucas. Now she lets her 2-year-old son comfort her by patting her on the back when she feels nauseated and frazzled by headaches so common during the first trimester. Foster is expecting her second child soon.
“I had more headaches with Lucas than I did with this one,” says Foster, who has been in the hospital twice for extreme vomiting. “I started getting headaches right away with the first pregnancy. They were tension headaches across the forehead. They get so bad they feel like migraines.” When she feels a headache coming on, Foster lies down to rest. “Getting hungry and not eating brings on headaches,” she says. “My hormone levels are going down and I’m starting to feel better.”
To learn about migraine during pregnancy : A Major Pain – Migraine Headaches and Pregnancy
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Nicole G., an expert at a university, says women tend to have more headaches during pregnancy because of high estrogen levels. Their blood vessels are more likely to constrict, and their joints are more flexible due to the increase in estrogen, which increases the odds of getting a headache.
“Ideally, women should talk to their doctor to plan headache treatment strategies before planning a pregnancy,” Nicole says. “This allows time to receive instruction in effective non-medication techniques, such as relaxation and biofeedback, and change medications to regimens that are safe for the baby.” She says pregnant women should avoid using headache relief medications too frequently or they may develop rebound headaches.
Experts say a few of the most common headaches during pregnancy causes include:
Blood Sugar Fluctuations: Your body is trying to supply your baby with glucose, which may cause your own blood-sugar levels to fluctuate.
Solution: Eat regular meals, and include at least a small amount of protein, such as a glass of milk, at every meal.
Dehydration: During your pregnancy you may urinate more frequently or lose fluids by vomiting. You need more water when you are pregnant because you are producing extra blood and amniotic fluid.
Solution: Drink plenty of water, at least 48 ounces a day, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Also check our article about water consumption during pregnancy : How Much Water Should You Drink During Pregnancy?
Stress: Loud noises, arguments and too much stress on the job may trigger tension headaches.
Solution: Listen to soothing music, maintain a regular sleep pattern and enjoy lavender aromatherapy candles.
Caffeine: Most experts suggest women who are pregnant avoid caffeine and recommend limiting caffeine consumption to between 150 and 300 milligrams a day, which is the equivalent of about two cups of coffee.
Solution: Gradually cut back on your caffeine use.
Take a look at this article too : Hidden Caffeine It’s Not Just in Coffee and Tea Anymore
What about your ideas? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section.
Headache Effects on Breastfeeding
Nicole says women who are breastfeeding will also need to restrict their use of medications. Women who are breastfeeding may notice a return of their headaches within a few days to weeks after delivery, she says. “Talk to your doctor while still pregnant to make plans for postpartum treatment,” Nicole says. She says most medications that are safe during pregnancy are also safe for women while they are breastfeeding. Check with your doctor before taking any medication.
You should see our other articles and categories to learn the things you wonder.
What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy
About 15 percent of women have their first migraine, more debilitating headaches during pregnancy. Although migraines hurt, they don’t cause any long-term damage to your baby. Some experts say migraines are caused by hormone changes, while others believe they are related to an inherited disorder in the central nervous system.
“Although migraines improve for about 50 to 80 percent of women with pregnancy, migraines are not likely to improve if they haven’t done so during the first trimester,” Nicole says. “There are effective treatments that can be used safely during pregnancy to minimize migraine-related disability. Even when headaches improve with pregnancy, they often worsen after delivery.”
Jerald H., an expert at a medical college, says headaches may often simply be annoying or may be the body’s way of giving a warning when there is a major problem such as aneurysm. “When a physician looks at a patient coming in with a headache we divide headaches into two types,” says Jerald. “One is a primary headache, which are benign headaches such as migraines and tension headaches, versus secondary headaches, which are headaches which are potentially malignant such as brain tumors and aneurysms. We have to, as physicians, ask certain questions and figure out what the patient has. If we are satisfied with their screening exams and say this is a primary or benign headache, we look at what could be causing the headaches the patient is complaining about.”
Jerald says estrogen levels in a state of fluctuation cause most migraine headaches during pregnancy. “The biggest problem is to find something you can do when you are pregnant and having a headache,” he says. “If you are dealing with tension headaches, we tend not to use any medications. Most of the medications you would use would have a negative effect on the fetus.”
Because migraine headaches during pregnancy for some people are triggered by secondhand smoke or noises, he advises staying away from whatever triggers your migraines. “Patients who have migraines like consistency,” Jerald says. “Patients who have migraines should eat at the same time every day, go to bed at the same time every day, wake up at the same time every day, do the same things every day. Routine is very important to prevent migraine headaches during pregnancy. The best advice for the pregnant woman with migraines is to try to maintain a consistency in their daily activities.”
In terms of dietary changes, Jerald says most people connect chocolate with causing migraines, but he remains skeptical. “The theory is it causes headaches because of the caffeine,” he says. “Most people say chocolate triggers their migraines. Any food can trigger migraines in different people.”
Determining The Type of Headache
Some experts recommend keeping a headache diary, which you can share with your physician. Before you try to treat your headache, see if you can identify what kind of headache you have. In addition to migraines, Jerald says the following types of headaches during pregnancy are most common:
- Tension headaches feel as though you have a tight band around your head. It’s a steady, constant, dull pain that starts at the back of the head or forehead.
- Sinus headaches feel like a dull, continuous pain around the eyes or cheekbones that worsens when you bend over. Sinus headaches are often seasonal or can be caused during pregnancy by increased swelling of nasal tissues and heavier mucus production.
- Cluster headaches feel like excruciating pain over the eye and forehead, usually just on one side of the face. The headaches last from 15 minutes to an hour.
Finally, pay attention to the pattern of your headaches during pregnancy so your obstetrician can keep an eye on and prevent complications. Also, use the times when you can’t get rid of a headache as a chance to practice pain management, relaxation and visualization techniques that will help you get through the pain of childbirth.
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The names of the people mentioned in the article have been changed for security reasons and to protect privacy.