How To Treat Migraines When Naturally Doesnt Work
Sometimes, a migraine might continue to plague you, even after you have tried the above remedies. If the pain persists, you can take Tylenol however, it is important to avoid Aspirin and Ibuprofen. These are not safe to take during pregnancy. If the migraines become a constant nuisance, you may want to talk to your doctor about alternative medications that are safe to take during pregnancy. You can learn more about which medications are safe during pregnancy here.
If you currently take pain medication for migraines, it is best to discuss with your doctor whether it is safe to continue using. It is best to avoid using any herbal remedies to alleviate migraines during pregnancy, as many have not been tested, and some have been shown to lead to complications.
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Causes Of Migraine Headaches
Exactly what causes migraine headaches isn’t known. But migraines appear to involve changes in nerve pathways, neurochemicals, and blood flow in the brain.
Researchers believe that overly excited brain cells stimulate a release of chemicals. These chemicals irritate blood vessels on the brain‘s surface. That, in turn, causes blood vessels to swell and stimulate the pain response.
Estrogen is thought to play a role in migraines. That’s why pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause often change a woman’s pattern of migraine headaches.
The neurotransmitter serotonin also appears to have a key role in migraines.
Should Migraine Factor Into Family Planning
Migraine disproportionately affects women, often during the period in their lives when theyre most likely to become pregnant. For many women living with migraine, uncertainty about how pregnancy may affect their migraine treatment plan is a source of anxiety. Will they have to stop taking medication? If so, how will they manage their symptomsand will those symptoms worsen or improve?
Pregnancy can impact migraine symptoms, and certain medicines are not safe for babies during pregnancy. But luckily for the 25% of women who experience migraine during their lifetime, pregnancy often has positive effects on migraine, and doctors say there are no reasons to not get pregnant if you have migraine.
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Natural Remedies For Pregnancy Migraines:
During the first three months the symptoms of pregnancy can make your migraine worse. Morning sickness can mean that you feel like eating and drinking less which can cause low blood sugar and dehydration. If you are not careful this can make your migraines worse. You should try to eat small frequent meals and drink frequent small amounts of water to prevent this. You will also be helping reduce any pregnancy sickness. Other remedies may include:
- Dark Room Often, a migraine can make you sensitive to bright lights. Find a dark room, and turn off any electronics.
- Nap Lying down to take a short nap can help alleviate migraines. Many people report that an hour nap is often enough to stop the pain.
- Cold Pack While lying down, place a cold pack or damp towel on your head. The cold should constrict blood vessels in your head and help alleviate the pain.
- Relaxation Techniques Talk to your doctor about relaxation exercises that are safe during pregnancy. Relaxing the muscles around your back, neck, and head can release the pressure causing the migraine.
- Take care of yourself Sometimes, migraines can be set off by dehydration, tiredness, not eating well, or lack of sleep. Try to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle, which can help mitigate the symptoms of migraines.
Treatment Options During Pregnancy
Certain medications used for migraine treatment and prevention are contraindicated for pregnancy, due to safety concerns for the developing fetus. For patients who use oral contraceptives to regulate their hormone levels and manage migraine, having a conversation about migraine treatment options may happen when they want to go off of birth control and start trying to conceive. The good news is there are safe options for migraine prior to and during pregnancy.
Im always telling my patients, either preconception or patients that are pregnant, that we recommend in general to use the number of different medications for anything that were treating, Dr. Grossman says. And also, of course, the lowest dose possible that we can use in pregnancy and preconception is what we recommend. Her first-line treatment is non-medication options, and she then layers in other treatments as needed.
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What Happens To My Migraines If I Get Pregnant
There are a lot of factors during the entire 9 months of pregnancy and even throughout the 6-weeks after pregnancy that can influence your headaches such as hormonal changes, stress, interrupted sleep, nausea and dehydration.
Several studies have shown that your migraine headaches may worsen in the first trimester, but luckily up to 60-70% improvement in your headaches can be seen by the 2nd and 3rd trimester.
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Headaches In Early Pregnancy
Nearly all women have occasional headaches, but having a headache in pregnancy is not fun. And, managing headaches is especially tricky in the first trimester when you should avoid many medicines. Whether your headache is from tension or is a full-blown migraine, there are some things you should know.
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When Should I See A Doctor
Everyone may experience a headache or migraine from time to time, and even more so during pregnancy. Since its an expected side effect, in most cases, you can use remedies for pregnancy headaches. Sometimes though, your headaches dont go away or are severe enough to need a doctors help.
You should see a doctor for pregnancy headaches if youre experiencing:
- Persisting headaches that cant be treated
What Can You Take For A Headache During Pregnancy
Remember that most expecting mothers can take acetaminophen when treating regular headaches. Your doctor may also recommend other drugs. Make certain you`ll have the approval of the health care provider when choosing to take any drugs, which include herbal treatments.If you cannot prevent headaches, there`re still options to get rid of them! However, you`ll want to alleviate your headache by natural remedies only during pregnancy. Pain relief drugs, like ibuprofen or aspirin, aren`t really recommended while pregnant.
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The Headache Of Dealing With A Migraine During Pregnancy
I cant get rid of it fast enough! Caroline was 5 months pregnant and at her wits end when she contacted MotherToBaby. My migraine is so bad that I can barely get out of bed, but I feel like theres nothing I can do about it since Im pregnant. I dont want to harm the baby! We often get questions like Carolines from people planning a pregnancy or already pregnant who would like information on the prevention and treatment of migraine headaches, so I start by asking Caroline what she would have used if she werent pregnant. Caroline told me that she would have taken ibuprofen and or sumatriptan.
Migraine preventions and treatments fall into three basic categories:
Outlook For Headache During Pregnancy
Headache pain during pregnancy is common. You may have tension headaches during your first trimester of pregnancy. This may happen because of the many changes that youre going through in a short period.
Headache pain may happen in the second and third period of your pregnancy for other reasons. Some causes of headaches in your mid to late pregnancy may be serious.
High blood pressure is a serious cause of headache pain during pregnancy. You can have high blood pressure at any time in your pregnancy. You may not have any symptoms at all. Check your blood pressure at least once a day with a home monitor.
Tell your doctor if you have headaches at any time in your pregnancy. Let your doctor know right away if you have a personal or family history of migraine, high blood pressure, seizures or diabetes.
Take all medications and treatment exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all diet and exercise advice carefully. See your doctor for all follow-up and regular check-ups. Most causes of headaches during pregnancy are treatable or preventable with the right care.
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Last medically reviewed on May 6, 2019
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Over The Counter Remedies
Typically, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen are not recommended in pregnancy.
Acetaminophen alone does not always provide relief for a migraine, but its use should not be of great concern depending on how much or how often it is needed.
Caffeine can sometimes be added to enhance the relief of a migraine in some individuals. Typically, such doses of caffeine are not expected to create an increased chance for adverse pregnancy outcome. For further guidance on caffeine, see our fact sheet.
Other over the counter remedies that fall into the herbal or supplement categories are also not recommended since they are not well regulated or studied for safety. See our fact sheet on herbal supplements.
Try A Prenatal Massage
Go to a prenatal massage therapist to relieve the stress from shoulders, neck, and back. If going out to the therapist doesnt work for you, then there are certain massages that can be done at home. Try rubbing your shoulders at the base of your skull and below your wrists. Be aware of trigger points that can induce contractions such as the point between the thumb and index finger, and avoid them.
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Safe And Unsafe Otc Meds
Most health care providers are comfortable prescribing acetaminophenTylenolwithin dosing guidelines. Dr. Aurora suggests taking no more than two or three 500-milligram tablets a week.
However, doctors advise against NSAIDs . These pain relievers include ibuprofen , naproxen , and aspirin. They also discourage taking other common headache and migraine medications containing triptans, such as Imitrex, Amerge, and Relpax, due to a lack of data.
Kim Battista, of Bridgeport, Connecticut has battled headaches throughout two pregnancies. I’ve had three sinus infections in the last four months, she says. It hasn’t been fun! Battista used to treat a headache by popping an Advil and resting for 20 minutes. But when you have a 16-month-old at home, there’s no resting, she says. And when you’re pregnant, there’s no Advil!
Are Headaches A Sign Of Pregnancy
You probably already know the main symptoms of pregnancymissed period, nausea, food aversions, fatigue, heightened sense of smell, moodinessbut did you know that, for some women, headaches can be a sign of pregnancy?
Some mamas only get headaches in early pregnancy, and they may subside in the second trimester. For other women, the headaches dont start happening until the second trimester. For others, they come even later during pregnancy. And of course, some mamas dont get them at all !
If youre experiencing headaches in pregnancy, dont worry: pregnancy headaches usually subside at some point, so youre probably not doomed for the whole 9 months.
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What Do Early Pregnancy Headaches Feel Like
If youre at the beginning stages of your journey, you might be wondering what early pregnancy headaches feel like. Although you may get a typical tension headache, migraines are also common during the first weeks or months. In fact, a headache or migraine might be one of the first signs of pregnancy for some people. However, since theres many possible causes, you wont know without taking a pregnancy test.
A tension headache creates mild to moderate pain behind the eyes and might feel like having a tight band around your head. These are the most common type of headaches.
A migraine feels like a throbbing sensation, usually on one side. They may cause nausea and vomiting in severe cases.
Managing a headache or migraine in the first trimester may be particularly difficult because theres many medications you should avoid.
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How To Prevent Migraines During Pregnancy
There are a few ways you can lower your chances of developing a migraine in the first place. The best way is to simply cut down on stress.
This common migraine trigger seems unavoidable during pregnancy, but you can help yourself out by taking on fewer responsibilities, and practicing meditation, yoga, etc.
The more exercise you can get, the better. Along with helping to prevent migraines, it will help with so many other aspects of your life.
It’s important to note though, attempting to exercise while you are already experiencing a migraine is a bad idea, as it will exacerbate the symptoms.
We also recommend you avoid other common triggers of migraines: loud noises, glaring lights, excessive heat, certain foods, etc. These are typically things you want to avoid during pregnancy as it is. Some of the most common food triggers include:
- Foods filled with preservatives, nitrates, or aspartame
Additional Tips To Relieve Pregnancy Headaches
Here are some more tips that you can try to get relief from headaches in pregnancy
- Have small meals throughout the day and ensure that you are consuming enough proteins.
- Put Epsom salts in your bath water and take a warm bath to relax.
- Try acupuncture to relieve the stress points of your body.
- Exercise regularly but dont overdo.
- Avoid caffeine, as caffeine withdrawal can also trigger headaches.
- In the worst-case scenario, consider taking a paracetamol tablet if nothing else works.
Generally, these headaches are very much manageable at homes, but consult a doctor might be needed if:
- The pain becomes unbearable.
- If a headache is accompanied by a blurry vision or pain in the upper right abdomen and swelling in hands and face.
- A headache starts after six months of pregnancy, which might be a sign of toxaemia and preeclampsia.
A headache is something that everyone experiences from time to time. However, it can be a major source of inconvenience during pregnancy. Try the home remedies mentioned above but if the pain becomes unbearable, consult a doctor. Have a healthy and safe pregnancy!
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What Are Symptoms Of Headaches During Pregnancy
If youve had an aching head or migraine before you conceived, you probably know what a bad headache feels like. But its still a good idea to be on the lookout for the common symptoms of headaches during pregnancy, such as:
- Occasional throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head
Migraine headaches, however, can come with worse symptoms, including:
- More severe pain
- Intense pounding in the head
Some women with migraines also experience light and sound sensitivity and they find that the pain worsens if they move or change positions.
When Should I Be Concerned About A Headache During Pregnancy
In general, if you have any concerns about a headache during pregnancy, you should seek medical attention. However, here are a list of some headache symptoms that would make a doctor consider more urgent tests:
- Sudden severe headache that reaches a maximum intensity in less than 1 minute.
- New aura, prolonged auras or neurological symptoms with your headache.
- Any change to your typical migraine headache.
- Severe nausea and vomiting.
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Relax In A Dark Quiet Room
Its not enough to just lie down on the couch and watch TV in most cases, as screens will only make matters worse. Instead, close the blinds and turn off the lights and just rest.
You can try and sleep it off, and use a cold compress on your neck and/or forehead for even better relief. This will help with the hot flashes you may feel from a migraine.
What Can I Do About Headaches
Steps to manage headaches include the following:
Avoid any known headache triggers, including allergens and certain foods, like monosodium glutamate, cured meats, and strong cheeses.
Smoking is never a good idea in pregnancy. You should also avoid secondhand smoke.
Try to eat well and drink plenty of fluids, especially if you are prone to morning sickness.
Reduce your stress level. Try a massage or cold pack to help with tension headaches.
If your headache is a migraine, rest in a cool, dark room with no noise, and try using warm or cold compresses or an ice pack.
There is good news, however. Most women have fewer headaches during pregnancy, especially after the first trimester. And those with a history of migraines often find there is improvement during pregnancy.
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