How To Prevent Pregnancy Headaches
Help keep headaches away with these expert tips:
- Pinpoint your headache triggers. Keep track of your meals and activities, as well as when a headache strikes, to help you learn how to modify headache-causing habits.
- Exercise. Take a daily walk or do prenatal yoga, if permitted by your doctor.
- Practice relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, yoga, and visualization.
- Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar on an even keel.
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
- Follow a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Maintain good posture to help prevent muscle tension.
Shortness Of Breath Anxiety
Shortness of breath, a racing pulse, mental confusion, a heightened sense of anxiety, and a sense of impending doom can be symptoms of preeclampsia. If these symptoms are new to you, they could indicate an elevated blood pressure, or more rarely, fluid collecting in your lungs .
What you can do…
Contact your healthcare provider immediately if these symptoms are new. If you’ve experienced these conditions before pregnancy, be sure to mention them to your care provider during your next visit so they can be monitored closely.
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Does Preeclampsia Go Away After Delivery
Preeclampsia typically goes away within days to weeks following delivery. Sometimes, your blood pressure can remain high for a few weeks after delivery, requiring treatment with medication. Your healthcare provider will work with you after your pregnancy to manage your blood pressure. People with preeclampsia â particularly those who develop the condition early in pregnancy â are at greater risk for high blood pressure and heart disease later in life. Knowing this information, those women can work with their primary care provider to take steps to reduce these risks.
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What Might Cause Preterm Labor
There are many possible causes of preterm labor.
One cause may be a weak cervix , which can cause the uterus to contract and open too early.
In rare cases harder physical activity can trigger it
Carrying multiple babies is one of the risk factors for premature birth.
Additionally, women who have had previous preterm births are more likely to experience it again.
Drug use can cause preterm labor
Dehydration can also cause preterm labor.
There are also health problems, issues or illnesses can cause premature labor .
Sometimes doctors will check the length of your cervix via ultrasound when you get into your 3rd trimester, just to rule-out any preterm labor.
Survival Outside The Womb
At 34 weeks, babies graduate from “moderate preterm” to “late preterm.” A late preterm baby may look like a full-term baby, but they are still not fully mature.
Babies born at 34 weeks can experience some health issues such as jaundice, difficulty feeding, or difficulty breathing. But, with proper care, they often do well. The survival rate of a baby at 34 weeks is greater than 99%, and the risk of major disabilities associated with prematurity is as low as 5%.
Explore a few of your baby’s week 34 milestones in this interactive experience.
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What Does My Baby Look Like
Your baby, or foetus, is around 45cm long from head to heel, and weighs about 2.1kg. Thatâs approximately the size of a rucksack and the weight of a cantaloupe melon.
Your baby is curled up inside your uterus , with their little legs bent up towards the chest. There’s not a lot of space in there, but you should still feel your baby shifting around and see your bump change shape too.
If you’ve got a little boy in there, then his testicles will be descending from his abdomen into his scrotum. When he’s born, his genitals may look quite enlarged. This is swelling caused by extra fluid or a late rush of hormones â it goes down after a few days.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If your healthcare provider has diagnosed you with preeclampsia, it’s normal to have concerns. Some common questions to ask your healthcare provider are:
- Do I need to take medication?
- Do I need to restrict my activities?
- What changes should I make to my diet?
- How are you planning to monitor me and my baby now that I have preeclampsia?
- Will I need to deliver my baby early?
- How can I best manage preeclampsia?
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Is My Headache A Cause For Concern
Sometimes. Headaches tend to be more common in the first and third trimesters, but they can occur in the second trimester as well. While there are common causes for headaches during pregnancy, its important to note that headaches during the second and third trimester can also be due to high blood pressure, called preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-related condition that requires prompt evaluation and management with an obstetrician or maternal fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Saunders said. Elevated blood pressure prior to pregnancy puts a woman at increased risk for preeclampsia.
What Can I Take For A Headache While Pregnant
It’s always best to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any medicines while you’re pregnant, but when it comes to headache relief, acetaminophen is considered the safest over-the-counter pain reliever to take during pregnancy, if used as directed. Don’t exceed the recommended daily dose, and because acetaminophen may not be safe to take for prolonged periods, take it only as it’s needed.
If your headaches aren’t getting any better, your ob-gyn or midwife may be able to prescribe some other safe options, so talk to them.
If you’re prone to severe migraines, ask your provider which medications you can take. One well-known class of migraine drugs, triptans, have been generally shown to be safe during pregnancy, but you may need to be monitored by a maternal-fetal medicine specialist or a neurologist during your pregnancy if you’re taking them.
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What Happens When You Have Preeclampsia
When you have preeclampsia, your blood pressure is elevated , and you may have high levels of protein in your urine. Preeclampsia puts stress on your heart and other organs and can cause serious complications. It can also affect the blood supply to your placenta, impair liver and kidney function or cause fluid to build up in your lungs. The protein in your urine is a sign of kidney dysfunction.
Your Pregnant Belly At 34 Weeks
Your 34 weeks pregnant belly might seem a littleor a lotlower than it did a few weeks ago. Thats because baby may have descended lower into your pelvis. This may let you breathe a little easier, since your lungs have more space. Ahh! The pitfall of this descent, of course, is even more pressure on your bladder, so be prepared to make even more trips to the ladies room over the coming weeks.
At 34 weeks pregnant, your belly should measure about 32 to 36 centimeters from the top of the uterus to the pubic bone. If youre measuring a bit big or a bit small, it could mean baby is bigger or smaller than average or in a breech or sideways position, or that there is an abnormal level of amniotic fluid. Anything out of the ordinary with fundal height may prompt your doctor to order a 34 weeks pregnant ultrasound to figure out the cause.
Fun fact: Amniotic fluid is at an all-time high between weeks 34 and 36, so you might feel as if your belly isnt getting too much bigger after this point. Thats because fluid will decrease so baby can keep growing and have room to wiggle around. Still, theyre getting snug in there, causing movement to start to feel slightly different around this time.
Continue checking in on baby by doing kick counts. Twice a day, set a timer and see how much time it takes baby to move 10 times. Let your doctor know about any notable changes.
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When Should I Call My Doctor
Whether you experience headaches or not, its always important to discuss your pre-pregnancy history, obstetrical history and concerns with your doctor for an individualized assessment and management plan. However, if none of the above treatments resolve your mild headache or your headaches become more frequent and severe, talk to your doctor to determine the cause.
This includes new headaches that present after 20 weeks, a sudden onset of severe headaches, headaches associated with a fever, mental health changes, elevated blood pressure and vision changes, Dr. Saunders said. Its important to keep an open line of communication with your physician and let them know about any changes in your health so they can rule out anything serious.”
How Is Preeclampsia Treated
Your healthcare provider will advise you on the best way to treat preeclampsia. Treatment generally depends on how severe your preeclampsia is and how far along you are in pregnancy.
If you’re close to full term , your baby will probably be delivered early. You can still have a vaginal delivery, but sometimes a Cesarean delivery is recommended. Your healthcare provider may give you medication to help your baby’s lungs develop and manage your blood pressure until the baby can be delivered. Sometimes it is safer to deliver the baby early than to risk prolonging the pregnancy.
When preeclampsia develops earlier in pregnancy, you’ll be monitored closely in an effort to prolong the pregnancy and allow for the fetus to grow and develop. You’ll have more prenatal appointments, including ultrasounds, urine tests and blood draws. You may be asked to check your blood pressure at home. If you are diagnosed with severe preeclampsia, you could remain in the hospital until you deliver your baby.
If the preeclampsia worsens or becomes more severe, your baby will need to be delivered.
During labor and following delivery, people with preeclampsia are often given magnesium intravenously to prevent the development of eclampsia .
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Symptoms And Body Changes At 34 Weeks
The biggest thing youll notice in this thirty-fourth week is the reduction of pressure on your chest and lungs. This is due to your baby moving down into the pelvis area. Your uterus should be close to 5 ½ inches above your belly button. Your belly button is probably extremely sensitive too, and you may notice that if it wasnt an outie before, it is now. Some women have heartburn due to relaxation of the muscles in the lower esophagus. Swelling in your hands, wrists, face, legs, ankles, and feet is likely increasing. If the swelling is accompanied by severe headaches, dizziness, or pain your upper abdomen, you should contact your healthcare provider, as this could be a sign of pre-eclampsia. The swelling is due to water retention, and believe it or not, the way to reduce it is to continue drinking more water. Drinking less water only makes the situation worse.
What Are The Symptoms Of Preeclampsia
Possible symptoms of preeclampsia include:
- High blood pressure
- Too much protein in your urine
- Swelling in your face and hands. Your feet may also swell, but many women have swollen feet during pregnancy. So swollen feet by themselves may not be a sign of a problem.
- Headache that does not go away
- Vision problems, including blurred vision or seeing spots
- Pain in your upper right abdomen
- Trouble breathing
Eclampsia can also cause seizures, nausea and/or vomiting, and low urine output. If you go on to develop HELLP syndrome, you may also have bleeding or bruising easily, extreme fatigue, and liver failure.
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When To Call The Doctor
Most of the time, a headache is just a headache, and it will go away once you eat something or get a little rest.
A bad headache that does not go away in a few hours, gets worse, or keeps coming back could be a sign of a pregnancy complication, so you should call your doctor.
You should also notify the doctor:
- Before taking any medication or herbal supplement to treat your headache to be sure that its safe
- If your natural treatments are not working
- If you have a fever, pressure around your eyes, or a stuffy nose
- If you get a headache and you have a history of high blood pressure
- If you get a headache after you hit 20 weeks pregnant
- If you have pain along with other symptoms such as nausea, blurry vision, abdominal pain, or swelling in the body
- If you have head pain after falling and hitting your head
What Do I Do If I Have A Migraine In Pregnancy
If youve never had a migraine call your midwife, doctor or hospital maternity unit. Serious conditions like pre-eclampsia can be like a migraine, so although its unlikely anything is wrong, your healthcare team may want to see you.
If you have always had migraines, you may find that they get better during your pregnancy. But pregnancy can also change the nature of migraines, so if you have a migraine that feels different to what youve had before, call your midwife, doctor or hospital maternity unit.
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What Is Postpartum Preeclampsia
Postpartum preeclampsia is when you develop preeclampsia after your baby is born. It typically happens within two days of giving birth but can also develop several weeks later. The signs of postpartum preeclampsia are similar to preeclampsia and include swelling in your limbs and extremities, headaches, seeing spots, stomach pains and nausea. It’s a serious condition that can cause seizures, stroke and organ damage.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Preeclampsia is a serious condition that you may not be aware you even have. It’s important to go to all your prenatal appointments and be open about all the symptoms you feel during pregnancy. When preeclampsia is caught early, it can be treated and managed to keep both you and your baby safe and healthy. Most people with preeclampsia go on to have healthy babies.
Weeks Pregnant: What To Expect
- You might feel a little bloated and your belly button may go from an innie to an outie.
- You may experience heartburn as your baby grows and your uterus presses against your stomach.
- Your baby is gaining weight, and their lungs are well developed by now.
- Its time to start learning more about the birthing process. Talk with your doctor about your options.
As your baby continues to grow, youll no doubt notice the extra weight around your midsection. Plan to continue to gain up to 1 pound per week unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
You may also feel extra bloated from fluid retention.
Even though it may seem counterintuitive, drinking plenty of liquids can help flush the excess fluids from your system, according to 2021 research . Plus, staying hydrated is important for both you and your baby.
Along with your growing baby, your uterus also contains increasing levels of amniotic fluid. The amount of fluid may be peaking right about now.
Some women see their belly button shift from an innie to an outie by this point. This is expected and nothing to worry about. If you notice that your belly button is especially sensitive, place a bandage over it to avoid irritation.
The most important thing for your baby is that they are growing and developing in a healthy way. This week your baby is about 17 inches long and weighs around 5 pounds, according to experts. Thats a little more than a cantaloupe.
- heartburn and indigestion
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What Are The Most Common Complications Of Preeclampsia
If left untreated, preeclampsia can be potentially fatal to both you and your baby.
Before delivery, the most common complications are preterm birth, low birth weight or placental abruption.
Preeclampsia can cause HELLP syndrome . This happens when preeclampsia damages your liver and red blood cells and interferes with blood clotting. Other signs of HELLP syndrome are blurry vision, chest pain, headaches and nosebleeds.
After you’ve delivered your baby, you may be at an increased risk for:
- Kidney disease.
- Developing preeclampsia in future pregnancies.
You Can Have Preeclampsia And Not Know It So Go To All Of Your Prenatal Care Visits Even If Youre Feeling Fine
What is preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a serious blood pressure condition that can happen after the 20th week of pregnancy or after giving birth . Its when a woman has high blood pressure and signs that some of her organs, like her kidneys and liver, may not be working normally. Blood pressure is the force of blood that pushes against the walls of your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart to other parts of the body. High blood pressure is when the force of blood against the walls of the blood vessels is too high. It can stress your heart and cause problems during pregnancy.
Preeclampsia is a serious health problem for women around the world. It affects 2 to 8 percent of pregnancies worldwide . In the United States, its the cause of 15 percent of premature births. Premature birth is birth that happens too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Most women with preeclampsia have healthy babies. But if not treated, it can cause severe health problems for you and your baby.
Can taking low-dose aspirin help reduce your risk for preeclampsia and premature birth?
For some women, yes. If your provider thinks youre at risk for preeclampsia, he may want you to take low-dose aspirin to help prevent it. Low-dose aspirin also is called baby aspirin or 81 mg aspirin. Talk to your provider to see if treatment with low-dose aspirin is right for you.
Are you at risk for preeclampsia?
Youre at high risk for preeclampsia If:
How is preeclampsia diagnosed?
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