Headaches are challenging during pregnancy. First, because it’s not easy to find a remedy that’s safe for the baby. Second, headaches can be an indicator of complications with the pregnancy or something with a simple fix like dehydration.
Table of Contents
- The hormonal changes of early pregnancy can cause both migraines and cluster headaches.
- Hormonal fluctuation during pregnancy could trigger tension headaches, especially in the third trimester.
- Adding enough fluid to your diet can reduce headaches.
- Getting enough sleep can prevent headaches.
- Prenatal care includes watching for signs of headaches and prescribing treatments.
- Headaches During Pregnancy
- What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy?
- How Do You Treat Headaches During Pregnancy?
- How to Avoid Headaches During Pregnancy
- Many women report getting headaches during pregnancy, but fortunately most are harmless.
- Pregnancy can cause a variety of different types of headaches.
Pregnancy can be an exciting, magical time for women. But for some women, their pregnancy is one of the most painful experiences they’ve ever had. Many of these women get headaches during this time. This article will discuss why this is, as well as treatments that could help alleviate your headaches during pregnancy.
The hormonal changes of early pregnancy can cause both migraines and cluster headaches.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, a woman’s hormonal levels begin to increase. The placenta produces hormones that can cause increased blood flow to your brain, which can lead to headaches. This effect is known as vasodilation and is caused by estrogen, progesterone, and relaxing hormones that are produced during early pregnancy.
Growth hormone (GH) is also released during this time period in response to elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone. GH can lead to swelling in the face and hands due to water retention and increased fat deposits under the skin; it may also contribute to nausea in some women during their first trimester.
Hormonal fluctuation during pregnancy could trigger tension headaches, especially in the third trimester.
Hormonal fluctuation during pregnancy could trigger tension headaches, especially in the third trimester. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can cause muscles to tighten, resulting in tension headaches. Traditionally, pregnant women have been told to avoid aspirin and other pain relievers containing acetaminophen because they may be harmful to their unborn child. However, it’s generally safe for pregnant women to use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium (Aleve).
Adding enough fluid to your diet can reduce headaches.
If you’re prone to headaches, try drinking more water. According to the American Pregnancy Association, dehydration can cause headaches in some women during pregnancy. The National Institute of Health recommends that pregnant women drink up to 10 glasses of water every day (about 1.5 quarts).
However, if you feel like you are constantly thirsty during this time, make sure that’s what it is before assuming it’s a migraine or headache symptom. You could be experiencing another sign of pregnancy—like nausea—and not realize it!
Getting enough sleep can prevent headaches.
One of the best ways to prevent headaches during pregnancy is to get enough sleep.
What is the right amount of sleep?
Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, there are some things you can do to improve the quality and duration of your sleep:
Prenatal care includes watching for signs of headaches and prescribing treatments.
Depending on the type of headache you’re experiencing, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- Migraine headaches. If you suffer from migraine headaches, your doctor will likely suggest medications to relieve the pain and symptoms.
- Tension headaches. You can try over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen sodium (Aleve). Consider using a warm compress on your forehead or neck for 20 minutes at a time; this may also help reduce symptoms.
- Sinus headaches. Drinking plenty of water to flush out mucus from your sinuses may help relieve some symptoms; taking sinus medications prescribed by your doctor may also be helpful.
- Cluster headaches. These severe pains can’t always be treated with medication, but hot showers or baths might provide relief for some sufferers when applied directly to the face and neck area where clusters typically occur (especially during flare-ups).
Headaches During Pregnancy
There are a number of different reasons why you might be experiencing headaches during your pregnancy. The most common cause is hormone changes. Many women will experience headaches because of the increased amounts of estrogen and progesterone in their bodies at this time.
Another possible cause could be stress, which also has an effect on hormones and can worsen pain as a result. You may also find that you have less tolerance for certain smells or strong lights than before, which could mean that your sinus problems are acting up. If you’re prone to tension headaches, this is often exacerbated during pregnancy due to increased blood pressure levels and fatigue from feeling tired all the time!
What can I do ?
The best advice is almost too simple: avoid the conditions that lead to headaches. Get enough sleep, stay hydrated, eat regularly and avoid stressful situations .
Acupuncture (massage or acupuncture of reflex points) and biofeedback (which helps the body to remember and reproduce states in which there is no pain) may be effective alternatives to medicine .
What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy?
- Hormonal changes. Estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that cause a woman’s body to support pregnancy, can also be responsible for headaches during pregnancy. These fluctuations can cause inflammation in your blood vessels as well as changes in blood pressure and heart rate.
- Increased blood volume. The uterus expands dramatically during early pregnancy, causing a slight increase in blood flow to your brain—which may lead to headaches if you’re already prone to migraines or have high blood pressure.
- Increased blood pressure. With so much extra fluid circulating through your body during early pregnancy, it’s not surprising that some women feel dizzy or faint when standing up suddenly (and sometimes when they stand up at all). This can put too much strain on their circulatory system, leading them to experience headaches while pregnant due to increased stress on their cardiovascular systems.
- Poor posture: As you start showing more throughout the second trimester of your pregnancy (and beyond), make sure that you’re always sitting upright with good posture whenever possible—even if that means taking frequent breaks every hour or two just so you can stretch out! Otherwise you’ll risk developing tension headaches from poor spinal alignment over time which will eventually lead into chronic pain issues even after delivery occurs depending upon how long it takes before symptoms start manifesting themselves once again after giving birth.”
How Do You Treat Headaches During Pregnancy?
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine can cause headaches, and it’s best to avoid it during pregnancy. Alcohol is also not recommended, as it can be dehydrating and may cause your headache to become worse.
- Get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep is important for you and your baby’s health, so be sure you get at least 7 hours of rest every night in a dark room with no lights on or noises bothering you (like an air conditioner). If that isn’t possible, try using earplugs or white noise machines to help block out distractions from the outside world while sleeping so that your body has more time to relax before its next day on Earth!
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day (at least 8 cups per day). Drinking lots of water helps keep our bodies hydrated which makes us feel less tired overall…and don’t forget those fruits too! They’re full of vitamins which are great for keeping those nasty headaches away! So remember: eight glasses each morning then add in two more after lunchtime snack before dinner ends with another six cans’ worth before bedtime hits around 10pm.”
How to Avoid Headaches During Pregnancy
There are some things that you can do, however, to help keep migraines at bay:
- Get more sleep. When you’re pregnant, it’s natural to feel tired. Just as your body is going through all kinds of changes during pregnancy and your little one is growing inside of you, so too will your body be working extra hard to make sure both mom and baby stay healthy. So try not to push yourself too hard throughout the day—and definitely don’t skip out on those long-awaited naps!
- Take a nap when you can. You may not have time for a full night’s sleep anymore (or even two or three), but if possible take a short nap every day if at all possible. Even 10 minutes here or there can make a difference in how sharp and alert we feel throughout our days—and when it comes down to headaches versus relaxation every time, we’ll take feeling good any day!
Many women report getting headaches during pregnancy, but fortunately most are harmless.
Many women report getting headaches during pregnancy, but fortunately most are harmless. In fact, many women get a headache as a sign of a healthy pregnancy. If you have any symptoms of preeclampsia (high blood pressure), however, such as swelling or blurred vision, you should contact your doctor right away.
In early pregnancy (first trimester) it’s common to experience:
- Tension headaches
- Sinus headaches
Tension headaches are common during pregnancy, and they aren’t dangerous.
Treatments include over-the-counter headache pain relievers, prescription medications, and acupuncture.
A migraine is a primary headache disorder that causes recurrent attacks of pain. Migraines are more common in women than men, and they usually begin before age 25. They may be triggered by hormonal changes, stress and sleep deprivation. Other potential triggers include certain foods or drinks, weather changes and bright lights or loud noises.
Sinus headaches are also common during pregnancy, and can be caused by inflammation in the sinuses.
The pain from sinus headaches is typically felt deep behind the cheekbones, forehead and sinuses. You may also have a blocked nose, with greenish-yellow nasal discharge. If you have frequent or severe headaches it’s important to see your doctor for advice on how to manage them.
Over-the-counter painkillers (such as aspirin) or antihistamines may help relieve milder symptoms of a headache.
If you’re suffering from chronic sinusitis or feel your symptoms are particularly bad after becoming pregnant, speak to your GP about using a neti pot to rinse out any mucus buildup that might be irritating your nose and causing you discomfort.
- Cluster headaches are a type of headache that is more common in men than women. They usually happen during the night and can last for hours or even days.
- They cause a sudden, severe pain around one eye, temple or side of the face. The pain is often described as an ice pick-like stabbing sensation, but it can also feel like being hit with a hammer or having a nail driven into your head.
Pregnancy can cause a variety of different types of headaches.
Most headaches, especially during pregnancy, are harmless. However, you should monitor the severity and frequency of your symptoms to ensure that they don’t progress into something more serious.
If you start experiencing frequent headaches that are accompanied by pain in your eyes and face or light sensitivity, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. These symptoms may indicate an underlying issue with your blood vessels or nerves in the brain.
If you’re experiencing headaches during pregnancy, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider about the best course of treatment. You can also try some simple measures yourself. For example, be sure to drink plenty of water and get enough rest every night—both have been shown to help with headaches. Also make sure that any prescription medications you take for other conditions don’t give you side effects like nausea or dizziness that could worsen the pain from your head!
If you had headaches before pregnancy and now they are about the same frequency and intensity then you do not need to be alarmed. If you didn’t have headaches before or your headaches have changed since becoming pregnant, then it’s a good idea to tell your obstetrician. Headaches especially after 20 weeks may be a sign of preeclampsia . Your doctor will look for other signs of preeclampsia .
This is normal. Up to 75% of women who have migraine headaches experience significant relief during pregnancy of their first child. Unfortunately (and for reasons not yet understood), repeated pregnancies do not offer the same relief for headaches .
All medicine (including herbal medicine) is unsafe, but the pain from headaches can be severe. If you cannot cope without medication, then talk to your doctor. She will help you understand how you can get the most relief with as little harm to the baby as possible.
Paracetamol is considered the drug of choice for pregnant women. But its use is associated with the increased chances of asthma and ADHD in a child in the future.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
in the first trimester can cause miscarriage, and in the last – cerebral palsy or impaired kidney function of the child. In the second trimester, they can be used.
Aspirin in the last trimester can lead to oligohydramnios — too little amniotic fluid — and bleeding.
Triptans (usually prescribed for migraines) should be avoided in the first trimester. But they do not help with tension headaches .