Headaches during pregnancy may be a common situation we often hear of. But did you ever try to find out what may be causing the condition, and is there anything to worry about?! Neglecting any minor sickness or issue can be quite dangerous for expectant mothers. Similar is the case of head pain.
If you are bugged with a headache while pregnant frequently, make sure to know the causes, and symptoms and find out if the condition requires consultation with your doctor. Let us help you out and see if your headaches are normal or not!
Is It Normal to Have Headaches During Pregnancy?
Headaches for pregnant ladies can be due to a range of issues. If your headaches are not frequent and on an everyday basis, and if they aren’t leading to any lifestyle concerns such as weakness, dizziness, then you may choose to rest and get back to normal. But if you have sharp pain daily with lousy vision and giddiness issues, you may not be having a regular headache.
Types of Headaches During Pregnancy:
Most of the headaches pregnant women suffer at this time are normal and primary ones. This may not always be a sign or symptom of anything significant related to health. These include,
- Tension or stress headaches during pregnancy.
- Cluster headache.
It is said that around 26% of troubles during this time are tension headaches. However, do not ignore the same if you get them regularly and daily. Apart from tension headaches, migraines are also frequent during pregnancy. However, the pain is different and more irritating when compared to a tension headache. Migraines tend to cause throbbing, excruciating pain, mostly on only one side of the head. Migraines might also cause nausea and vomiting, along with photosensitivity and sensitivity to noise. If you have an issue with migraines in long-standing time, you must consult the doctor as it may later also lead to complications. Similarly, there may also be a case of sinus headache at pregnancy time, if you are already suffering from it.
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If you have a cycle of headache attacks over the period, then these are cluster headaches. If they are long-lasting, you must consult your healthcare provider.
Symptoms of Headaches During Pregnancy:
The most common signs and ways to find out you have terrible head pain during pregnancy are as follows,
- Dull ache to severe ache.
- Throbbing pain.
- Severe pain on the left or right side, be it both sides, of the head.
- Vomiting (at times).
- Sharp pain near eyes.
If you see blurry eye vision and blind spots, it means that you should take your situation seriously and consult your health professional.
Causes of Headache in Pregnancy:
The reason and cause for suffering from mild to severe headaches during pregnancy may vary as per the trimester one is in.
1. First trimester:
While the most common cause for headaches during early pregnancy are due to hormonal issues, weight changes and alterations along with high blood volume, the other reasons are as follows,
- Constant stress in the mind causes muscle tension in the neck which causes headaches and migraines.
- If you skip meals or don’t drink sufficient water during the day, the body feels weak which is one of the reasons for headaches and migraine pains.
- Sleeping less and even oversleeping are two essential reasons which cause excruciating pain in the head. One should sleep 7-8 hours a day, not more and not less.
- Caffeine withdrawal might be one of the reasons, as well. If you were addicted to caffeine before your pregnancy, cutting down on it may trigger headaches as the body takes time to adjust to the new conditions.
- Poor nutrition and lack of a healthy diet may also lead to constant and chronic headaches.
- If you have low blood sugar, you may also be prone to headaches in the first trimester time.
- Do not be too lazy. If you aren’t walking much or have no physical activity at all, you would be shocked to know that this may also lead to headaches.
2. Second and Third Trimesters:
The headaches in late pregnancy and during this trimester may have different causes,
- Improper posture while sitting aggravates the headaches further.
- Exercising a lot and that too, in an irregular manner, might cause stress in the body, causing headaches.
- A particular food or drink, like ice cream, can also cause headaches within a few hours of eating it. Ice creams cause brain freeze, which might be one of the reasons for problems.
- Migraines can be hereditary also. So if your mother or sister has a migraine problem, then there is a very high chance that you will develop one too.
- If you have diabetes, well, you may be prone to headaches too often.
Besides the following common causes, high blood pressure is among the most known and popular reasons behind pregnancy headaches. Around 8% of women in the United States are reportedly suffering from head pain just due to this issue. This should not be taken with ease as high blood pressure can cause potential complications such as preeclampsia, eclampsia, placental abruption and low baby birth weight.
3. Foods Causing Headaches:
Do you know that headaches may even be caused due to food allergies or unsuitable foods for a few body types? Yes, you heard it right! Trigger foods like dairy, chocolate, cheese and yeast may cause you a headache if your body isn’t taking them positively.
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Treatment for Headache in Pregnancy:
If you have frequent headaches, it may not be a good sign for expectant mothers. Besides the doctor’s medications, you can even see too few home remedies, which can be easy for miracle results.
Home remedies for Headache During Pregnancy:
Here are a few easy to do home remedies that can work wonders.
1. Cool Compress:
Lie down straight and put a cold compress on your head. The coolness relieves the pain to quite a great extent.
2. Avoid Headache Triggers:
If particular food items or odours might have triggered your headaches and migraines sometime in the past, it is best to avoid them. A headache diary is necessary to identify migraine triggers.
3. Exercise Daily:
Go for a walk daily or perform some aerobics to keep yourself fit. Exercise regularly, without taking breaks in between as they ruin the exercise schedule. Exercise helps in regulating the sugar levels in the body and also improves the respiratory system in the body. It also triggers the release of endorphins, the so-called “feel-good” chemicals inside the body.
4. Manage Stress:
Manage stress by preparing a to-do list and finishing each job one by one. Do not push yourself to the brink of depression as it may affect both the mother and the child. Keep your goals realistic to achieve them and be calm at all times.
5. Practice Relaxation Techniques:
Try breathing exercises, yoga, massage therapy, and visualization. Keep yourself always in a relaxed and peaceful manner.
6. Eat Regularly:
Always eat a balanced diet, in regularly scheduled meals. Eating healthy can quickly cure most of the ailments. Also, drink a lot of fluids to keep your body hydrated for the whole day. Don’t skip meals by any chance.
7. Follow a Regular Sleep Schedule:
Sleep deprivation or even oversleeping might trigger headaches and migraine pains during pregnancy. Try and follow a fixed sleeping pattern to keep your biological clock intact.
Aromatherapy oils are incredibly effective against headaches. Put a few drops of peppermint or lavender oil on a tissue and take a deep breathe in. You can also rub one drop of each into your temples on either side of the forehead and then give a good massage. This reduces headache in no time!
9. Bach Flower Remedies:
If you are tired or under a lot of stress, the headache usually gets worse. The best remedy in such a situation is the Bach flower remedy.
To get rid of exhaustion put four drops of Rescue Remedy neat on your tongue, or try two drops of olive, another Bach Flower Remedy, dissolved in a glass of water.
Speak to your doctor before you take any headache medicines or tablets during pregnancy. Do not have them all by yourself. Avoid standard pills like aspirin and ibuprofen as they may not be good at this phase. This is because the painkillers may cause adverse effects and childbirth defects when used at pregnancy periods. It is better henceforth to first try home remedies to cure headache during pregnancy, and then work on medicines if not cured.
Doctors may check your blood pressure, do a blood test, ultrasound and vision test before going ahead with treatments. Here are a few common remedies, besides medications, suggested by a health care provider; however, they must only be done at their discretion.
With this mind-body technique, you can control certain functions in the body — such as muscle tension, heart rate, and blood pressure — to prevent headaches or lessen migraine pain. If you’d like to try biofeedback to treat headaches during pregnancy, consult your doctor and go for a biofeedback therapist. It is an effective way of getting rid of headaches. You can also try acupuncture, which is a safe method of curing headaches and relieving your pain.
Homoeopathy treatments might be the best alternatives available. With absolutely no side effects, these are highly recommended for the treatment of headaches and can be kept in use only after consultation with a qualified physician.
3. Osteopathy and Chiropractic:
Osteopathy aims to realign your muscles, bones, and joints. It can help with shoulder and neck pain, so if these are typical tension points for you, this might be worth a try.
The therapy of chiropractic can be beneficial in case of stubborn headaches. This technique uses spinal manipulation to ease the pain.
In case of minor headaches, a simple reflexology technique is highly advised. Massaging your big toes puts pressure on the head and the neck, which helps in getting rid of the problems and migraine pains.
When Should I Seek Help for Pregnancy Headaches?
Most headaches during pregnancy are unpleasant but don’t cause any harm. However, if you experience other unusual symptoms like blurred vision, violent vomiting or sudden swelling and inflammation, seizures, and fainting, these can be symptoms of pre-eclampsia, a severe form of pregnancy-related high blood pressure. In such a scenario, consult your doctor straight away.
Tips to Prevent Headaches:
Make sure always to follow the principle, and prevention is better than cure,
- Eat regularly and have a healthy, nutritious diet. Skip out on trigger foods.
- Follow regular sleeping schedules and do not get stressed out.
- Include mild to daily physical activity at your home. You can do ordinary walks or moderate aerobic exercises.
- Watch your posture. Do not bend and work or walk. Sit straight and walk straight.
- Rest well and be relaxed with a calm mind. Tension and stress can lead to a worsening of headaches.
Any case of constant and chronic headaches should be reported to the doctor immediately. Do not take medication at your own cost and always consult your doctor for the best advice and suggestions about oral medicines and therapies.
Though headaches during pregnancy are a common occurrence, they can get very irritating. Make sure to always remain healthy with the help of a healthy lifestyle. Never neglect any pains and headaches. Try these simple home remedies out for the best results before taking oral medications. If any of these worked, share your thoughts with us!
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:
Q1. What is the difference between migraines and headaches during pregnancy?
Ans: Migraine headaches are quite different from tension or stress headaches. You may have such stronger headaches if you are already prone to migraines. These are the result of blood vessels enlarging in the brain and can bring in sharp pains.
Q2. When to consult a doctor due to head pain while pregnant?
Ans: If your headaches are chronic and also have other symptoms such as blurry vision, dizziness, fatigue, fainting, etc., then it is better to consult your health care provider.
Q3. Can women suffer headaches after pregnancy delivery and giving birth?
Ans: It is common even to experience a headache after the delivery time. This may be caused due to estrogen levels when they drop significantly. Besides this, women also suffer headache during labour which can be of severe pain due to loss of spinal fluid.