Migraines During Pregnancy
No Clear Answer
For some reason still not totally understood, headaches are quite common during pregnancy. A good guess as to why may be found in the fact that hormones in the body run rampant, and if you can't drink coffee like you used to, then add caffeine withdrawal to the mix. Whatever the cause, tension headaches can occur frequently during pregnancy. They are the ones that feel like your head is being squeezed until there is a dull ache around the head and into the neck. If you are prone to headaches, then pregnancy may exacerbate the problem. Other reasons for headaches may include allergies, fatigue due to lack of sleep, depression, stress, sinus congestion, or just being hungry or dehydrated.
The good news is that the hormonal juggling usually tapers off by the second trimester and the headaches may well disappear by that time.
Migraine Headaches And Pregnancy
One type of headache that may make its debut during pregnancy is migraine. Migraine headaches have been dubbed, "the mother of all headaches," and unlike tension headaches they are typically localized to one side of the head. The throbbing pain can last for days, if left untreated, and is made worse with activity. Nausea, vomiting, the inability to be in light, and sensitivity to loud noises are all common symptoms of a migraine headache.
Many women have their first migraine headache during pregnancy. Migraines are kind of like buying a ticket in the lottery. Many women who suffer with migraines when not pregnant find that their headaches diminish during pregnancy. On the other hand, many migraine sufferers find their headaches increase in severity and frequency during pregnancy. There is no way to tell how a woman will be affected as she progresses through the pregnancy.
Treating Migraines With Medications
There is little you can do, in terms of taking medications for the headaches while you are pregnant. Acetaminophen is considered to be safe if taken as directed but it is best to check with the health care provider about medication if the headaches are bad. Some medications may be alright to use while others may be totally out of the question to take during pregnancy.
Some non-medicinal things you can do to circumvent or relieve the pain of a headache include keeping a diary of triggers for the headaches. Migraines are often preceded by an aura, or light ring, that is noticeable about an hour before the headache manifests. If you have a headache, try to remember and write down what you ate within the previous 24 hours. Sometimes certain chemicals in foods, like MSG, can trigger a headache. Nitrites, sulfites, artificial sweeteners, certain fruits, dairy, and fermented foods can all set a migraine headache into motion.
Tension headaches can be treated with warm or cool compresses to the forehead and back of the neck. If it's a migraine, use cold compresses which tend to work better. A cool shower can provide fast but temporary relief as well. If the headache is from tension, a nice soak in a warm tub may do the trick.
Very often headaches are the result of hunger or dehydration. Keep blood sugar steady by eating more frequently throughout the day and avoid sugar, which may cause your blood sugar to spike. Sipping water all day long is a good way to keep hydrated without having to run to the bathroom every two minutes. Get enough rest and balance it out with exercise. Research has shown that exercise can be great prevention for migraines and tension headaches.