Women suffer from headaches more than men. Numerous women experience headaches and migraines during their pregnancy. In case you are prone to headaches and experience them quite often, then you might discover them deteriorating during your pregnancy.
In case you are similar to many other people, then over the counter pain killers will be your go-to headache relievers. It is how you charge yourself for your busy life. You are severely restricted from taking any kind of medicine during pregnancy. It is quite a paradox that some of the most common symptoms of pregnancy, like low blood sugar level, hormonal mood swings, and fatigue, can likewise trigger headaches during pregnancy.
Headaches are the most significant cause of discomfort during pregnancy. They can occur out of nowhere during any time of your pregnancy. However, headaches have a greater chance of occurring during the first and third trimesters.
The causes of headaches during the first trimester are very much different than the headaches that happen during the second and third trimesters. Sometimes, headaches can be an indication of other health problems or medical issues during pregnancy.
For most of the pregnant ladies, occasional migraines and headaches are nothing to worry about. Most often, the standard treatments and medications are safe to use for headaches while pregnant. However, if you suffer from extreme headaches or migraines at critical times after or during pregnancy, then it can be a genuine health-related serious medical emergency.
What are the most common type of headaches that occur during pregnancy?
Primary headache sand migraines are the two common types of headaches that are most likely to occur during pregnancy.
1. Primary headaches:
Acute or primary headaches emerge occasionally and usually go away after a couple of hours. Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches. This type of headache is characterized by localized pain and muscle tightness in the neck and head.
Migraines are episodic in general (enduring and frequent). They tend to cause further neurological problems. For example; Hallucinations, vomiting, nausea, blurry vision, and light sensitivity.
Symptoms of headache throughout pregnancy:
Headache symptoms vary from person to person. The intensity of pain fluctuates. The kind of pain you experience might be dull, severe, sharp, throbbing, pulsating, either on one or both sides or behind one or both eyes. Headaches might likewise include blind spots, vomiting, queasiness, or seeing flashes of lights or lines.
Causes of headaches during pregnancy:
The reasons for headaches occurring during pregnancy are different for the first, second, and third trimester. Following is a detailed explanation of the causes of headaches during the trimester.
1. First trimester:
Tension headaches are most tend to happen during the first trimester of your pregnancy. It might be because your body is going through many changes during this period. Change in your weight, hormonal changes, and high blood pressure can trigger headaches during the first trimester.
There can be several other causes of headaches during the first trimester of your pregnancy. Such as vision changes, low glucose levels, minimal physical activity, stress, nausea, poor nutrition, vomiting, dehydration, light sensitivity, and lack of sleep can trigger headaches during your pregnancy as well.
Sometimes headaches can be triggered by some foods you consume. These triggers might change during your pregnancy. However, yeast, tomatoes, cheese, chocolate, and dairy are known to be the most common foods that trigger headaches during pregnancy.
2. Second and third trimester:
Headaches occurring during the second and third trimester might have various causes. These multiple causes may include:
- Muscle strain
- Muscle tightness
- Too little rest
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
Pregnancy headaches might be an indication that your blood pressure is high at the moment. Six to eight percent of women suffer from high blood pressure during their pregnancy.
High blood pressure can cause serious complexities for both baby and mother during pregnancy, although blood pressure is generally common after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Risks of high blood pressure:
Pregnant women should be careful about their blood pressure. As high blood pressure during pregnancy raises the risk of various serious problems. Such as;
- Low oxygen flow to the baby
- Eclampsia (seizure development in women during pregnancy due to severe pre-eclampsia also known as life-threatening pregnancy condition)
- Pre-eclampsia (pregnancy condition characterized by protein in urine and high blood pressure)
- Placental abruption
- Premature delivery
Some severe diseases and infections such as brain tumors, low blood pressure, stroke, meningitis, aneurysm, bleeding, blood clots, sinus infection, sickle cell anemia, and heart conditions can be other causes of headaches during pregnancy.
How can you treat high blood pressure during pregnancy?
Your primary care physician may endorse a prescription to treat your hypertension. You will likewise need to eliminate salt and add more fiber to your everyday diet. Regular exercises play an important role in balancing blood pressure.
Track your headaches and migraine:
Hormone changes are not the only thing that triggers migraines during pregnancy. Most ladies have combinational triggers. For example, lack of sleep, stress, and skipped meals may all trigger headaches. Also, sometimes something that triggers a headache one day might be gone the next day.
Headaches and their symptoms vary from person to person. Headaches are very unpredictable. Pregnancy can aggravate the symptoms in one woman and may vanish for another. However, caffeine, alcohol, sour creams, peanuts, chocolate, and foods containing monosodium glutamate preservatives are known to be the potential headache triggers.
Treating headache during pregnancy:
During pregnancy, before taking any kind of pain killer or medicine, you must always talk to your doctor first. Try to avoid taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
These pain relievers and medications can be extremely harmful to your developing baby, particularly when taken during the first trimester. Most women tend to take Tylenol during pregnancy. However, studies show that there might be some serious effects from taking this medicine as well.
Headache and Migraine Treatment:
How can I get rid of a headache while pregnant? The question all pregnant ladies suffering from headaches want to ask. There are several over the counter treatments to get rid of headaches and migraines. But only a few are acceptable to be followed during pregnancy.
Your primary care physician can prescribe elective drugs for treating headache during pregnancy and some common natural remedies, for example,
- Drinking lots of water
- Taking enough rest
- Using ice packs and heating pads
- Warming cushion
- Essential oils such as rosemary oil, peppermint oil, and chamomile oil.
Medicines to avoid during pregnancy:
- Ergotamines work explicitly for headaches. However, specialists do not recommend consuming these medications during pregnancy. If taken during the first trimester, they can cause various kinds of congenital disabilities. These medications may likewise invigorate premature birth.
- Acetaminophen is commonly known to be safe during pregnancy.
- Pregnant women must avoid narcotic pain relievers. As it can cause addiction among both mother and the baby if they are used for longer timeframes
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen need more controlled human research studies to evaluate every one of their dangers in pregnancy.
- Analgesics may help facilitate the serious torment of headaches. These general pain diminishing medications, however, are not explicitly for headaches, but they can help get rid of headaches.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin, increases the risk of miscarriage and bleeding whenever taken near conception time. There is additionally a potential danger of heart complexities in the baby if taken during the third trimester. Aspirin can causes excessive blood loss in mothers during birth, if taken near the delivery.
When you should see the doctor:
You must see your doctor if you have a headache all during pregnancy. Consider getting immediate clinical consideration if you have any of the following:
- Frequent headaches
- Extreme torment
- Headache that endures longer than a couple of hours
Tests for Migraines:
Your doctor might recommend some tests to confirm the cause of headaches. Make sure to enlighten your doctor regarding all the prescriptions you are taking, including supplements or over the counter pain killers. Tell him in detail if anyone had migraines in your family.
Doctors usually don’t recommend tests such as radiology tests or CT scans during pregnancy due to their potential risks to the baby.
They might perform an ultrasound of your head and neck, check your blood pressure, tell you to take a blood test or blood sugar test, check your eye health or make a vision test to diagnose the actual cause of headache or migraine.
Self-Care to avoid headaches during pregnancy:
- Good lifestyle and self-care is the principal defense against headaches and migraines. The following are some useful tips to help you in managing headaches during pregnancy.
- Stay away from your headache triggers and avoid foods that can trigger your migraine.
- Make your diet schedule and eat your meals at the right time.
- Drink lots of water.
- Take rest and get enough sleep.
- You can take a yoga class or learn some relaxation techniques.