Headaches during pregnancy
(healthy mama® ranks headaches during pregnancy #6 on the “no one told me this was going to happen” list)
Many mamas-to-be experience headaches during pregnancy and it can happen at anytime, but occur most frequently in the first and third trimester.
Pregnancy headaches can be caused by tension, congestion, constipation, lack of sleep, dehydration, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, and even caffeine withdrawal. And in some cases, it is caused by preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia (also called Toxemia)
A severe headache in the second or third trimester of pregnancy can be a warning sign of preeclampsia, or high blood pressure in pregnancy. Preeclampsia is a rare condition that affects about five to ten percent of pregnancies. Headaches caused by preeclampsia are persistent and throbbing. Women with preeclampsia may also have symptoms such as blurry vision or seeing spots, sudden weight gain (more than a pound in one day), pain in the upper right abdomen, and swelling in the hands and face. If you have any of these symptoms, or if you get a headache that is different than normal, call your doctor or midwife right away.
If you have further questions about headaches in pregnancy, contact your doctor or midwife.
How Can You Avoid or Treat Headaches During Pregnancy
• Practice good posture
• Get plenty of rest and practice relaxation
• Moderate exercise (daily walk)
• Eat well-balanced meals
• Manage stress
• Stay hydrated
If you have a headache, you can try to relieve it by:
• Applying a compress to your head or neck
• Eating frequent meals to avoid low blood sugar
• Head massage
• Good ole rest
• Have a little caffeine (really, 200mg is considered acceptable!)
• Avoiding certain foods known to sometimes trigger headache (chocolate, cheese, yogurt, alcohol, preserved meat)
If you experience headaches that become worse or come on suddenly, headaches that are different than normal, headaches that are accompanied by vision changes, sudden weight gain, pain in upper right abdomen, or swelling in the hands and face, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
• Consult your healthcare provider prior to taking any medication while pregnant or nursing.
• Follow the directions on the package
• No medication is deemed 100% safe during pregnancy
What NOT to take while Pregnant and Nursing:
• Naproxen sodium (with caution and doctor’s supervision)
*No medication is considered 100% safe during pregnancy and nursing.