Headaches during pregnancy is one of the most widely recognized inconveniences experienced. Headaches can occur at any time but are commonest during the first and third trimesters.
Common Types of Headaches During Pregnancy
Just as people differ in their physical makeup, so do types of headache pain. You may have
• Severe pain on one or both sides • Throbbing or pulsating pain • Dull aching • Sharp pain behind one or both eyes • Migraine pain, including nausea; lines, flashes of light, or blind spots in your visual field; or vomiting
What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy?
During the first trimester, a surge of hormones and an increase in blood volume can cause frequent headaches. Headaches might also result from stress, poor posture, or changes in your vision.
Other causes of headaches during pregnancy may involve one or more of the following:
• Caffeine withdrawal • Low blood sugar • Lack of sleep • Stress (due to many changes) • Dehydration
Some women who have regular migraine headaches may find that they experience fewer migraines during pregnancy, but others may experience a similar number or more migraine headaches. If you are pregnant, it is essential to talk with your doctor about any drugs that you might be taking for headaches.
Headaches during the third trimester are usually due to poor posture and strain from carrying additional weight. They may also be associated with a condition called preeclampsia, which is hypertension during pregnancy.
What Can You Do to Treat Headaches During Pregnancy?
Just like with any other sickness, the best way to “treat” a headache is to avoid having it.
Avoiding tension headaches is easiest when you follow these tips:
• Get exercise. • Get plenty of rest. • Apply cold or heat packs to your head if you feel a headache coming on. • Practice good posture (especially during the third trimester). • Eat well-balanced meals.
If you cannot prevent headaches during pregnancy, you need to treat them with conventional methods. Taking painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen is not recommended for many pregnant women. Acetaminophen might be prescribed by your doctor.
Natural Remedies for Relieving Headaches
Talk to your doctor before taking your regular headache pain drug during pregnancy. Try not to take aspirin or ibuprofen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Trusted Source cautions that these pain relief medications can be unsafe for your developing child, particularly during the first trimester.
Instead of painkillers, try one of these remedies:
• Take a warm shower or bath. • If you have a tension headache, apply a cold compress or ice pack at the base of your neck. • If you have a sinus headache, apply a warm compress near your eyes and nose. • Get a massage of your shoulders and neck. • Maintain your blood sugar level by eating smaller, more frequent meals. • Rest in a dark room and practice deep breathing.
Applying warm or cold compresses to the sides of the head, the eyes, or the back of the neck is perhaps the most ideal approach to lessen or ease headache pain. Warm pads and cold packs are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most need to be put in a microwave or refrigerator. Another downside is that the heat or cold subsides as time goes on.
You may lessen the possibility of migraine headaches during pregnancy by staying away from regular triggers of them. They can be triggered by eating certain foods such as yogurt, sour cream, peanuts, chocolate, aged cheeses, bread made with fresh yeast, and preserved meats. Drinking alcohol can be another trigger.
When to Contact Your Health Care Provider
• When your headaches get worse or are more persistent • Before you take any medications • If your headaches are accompanied by blurred vision, a sudden weight gain, pain in the upper right abdomen, and swelling in the hands and face • If the headaches are different than ones you’ve had in the past • If you do not experience any relief from the remedies listed above
Headaches That Are a Cause for Concern
Most headaches during pregnancy are due to changes occurring in your body or stress.
Some headaches in mid to late pregnancy may be severe, however.
High blood pressure is a severe cause of headache pain during pregnancy, and it can occur in any trimester. You may not have any symptoms of high blood pressure, so it is a good idea to check your blood pressure at least once a day with a home monitor.
Tell your doctor if headaches occur at any time in your pregnancy. Let your doctor know right away if you have a personal or family history of migraines, high blood pressure, seizures, or diabetes.
Take all medications exactly as outlined by your doctor. Follow all dietary and exercise suggestions carefully. Be sure to go to all regular checkups and follow-up appointments. Most causes of headaches during pregnancy are treatable or preventable with the right care.
The information contained in this post is for general information purposes only. Headaches During Pregnancy: Causes and Treatment is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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