Monday, May 29, 2023

What Can Pregnant Women Take For Headaches

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When To Worry About Headaches During Pregnancy

What can I take for headaches in pregnancy?

When a pregnant woman experiences a headache in her first and third trimester, the most common cause is hormonal changes as the body demands some changes which help in the creating favorable environment inside the womb of the mother for the fetus. This headache is mostly mild to moderate which vanishes by own or sometimes medicines can be required. Mostly in a second-trimester headache is less.

But when the headaches continue in the second trimester during pregnancy with intense pain, that it is the time for worry. The doctor should check the blood pressure of the pregnant women. Normal blood pressure in pregnant women is 120/80 mm Hg or it can vary with 10-20 in both systolic and diastolic. If the blood pressure remains high than the pregnant womenâs will suffer from a headache with others symptoms too. And this can even lead to a worse condition which is called as pre-eclampsia.

For the pregnant womenâs who have daily headache while pregnant can take medicines but the consultation of doctor is required. As every womanâs in the world is differing from other so the symptoms during their pregnancy also vary. This headache mostly disappears as pregnancy time exceeds but still headache remains in the second trimester during pregnancy with others symptoms than it is an alarming symptom and one should consult to doctor as soon as possible.

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Headache And Migraine Remedies That Are Safe During Pregnancy

Most women deal with headaches at some point in their lives. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that one in five women had a severe acute headache or migraine in the previous three months. Additionally, migraines are more common in women than men approximately 18 percent of women have them compared to 6.5 percent of men.

Because headaches and migraines are so common, its probably no surprise that many women deal with them during pregnancy. For the majority of pregnant women, occasional headaches or migraines are no cause for alarm, and most standard treatments are safe. However, suffering a severe headache at key times during or after pregnancy can indicate a serious medical emergency.

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Instead of waiting until the first time you have a migraine attack while pregnant, Dr. Crystal recommends talking to your doctor to work out a treatment plan in case you get an attack.

When you find out youâre pregnant, youâll probably need to work with both your obstetrician and the health care provider you see for headache treatment. Make sure to mention all of the medications you take for headaches, including supplements, and other migraine symptoms.

With so many changes in your body, itâs important to âbe extra vigilant about avoiding triggers,â adds Dr. Crystal, and to avoid skipping meals, getting dehydrated, or developing poor sleep habits.

Of course, with pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and trouble sleeping, that could be easier said than done. But do your best to maintain healthy habits.

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Migraine Triggers During Pregnancy

Hormonal change is a common trigger for women with migraine. During pregnancy, oestrogen levels increase sharply, while progesterone levels decrease and rise again towards the end of the pregnancy.

Overall migraine improves during pregnancy especially during the second and third trimesters. This improvement may be due to the increased oestrogen levels and increased levels of natural pain-killing hormones .

These hormones are several times higher during pregnancy, and though the relief from migraine attacks they provide might last the whole pregnancy, the levels settle back down after delivery, normally allowing migraine attacks to return.

However, not everyone will see an improvement in their migraine, especially in the early weeks of pregnancy. For some women, their migraine is unaffected. Some women experience worsening migraine during pregnancy although this is rare.

During breastfeeding, stable oestrogen levels continue to be protective against having headache again after pregnancy.

However you are affected, it can help to identify any migraine attack triggers that you have, such as lack of sleep, stress, missed meals and dehydration. Keeping a headache diary may help pinpoint your triggers so you can avoid those things. Log when the headache happened, what triggered it, and how long it lasted. Common triggers include but are not limited to:

What Can I Do About Headaches

5 Home Remedies That Help With Migraines In Pregnancy

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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What Medications Can Pregnant Women Safely Take For Migraine

If youâre not lucky enough to experience fewer migraine attacks during pregnancy, what can you do to treat them? It turns out that when youre pregnant, many prescription and over-the-counter medications are considered unsafe or risky, or just havenât been researched enough for doctors to be confident making a recommendation.

According to Dr. Crystal, âacetaminophen and metoclopramide , which can help relieve nausea and pain, are the safest medications to take.â She adds that some obstetricians may prescribe ondansetron to treat severe nausea âand consider it to be safe.â

That being said, Dr. Crystal notes that it is always best to take the lowest effective dose, even of approved medications.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are not safe to take in the first or third trimesters. Similarly, you should not take naproxen while pregnant. It may be safe during the second trimester, but only if specifically approved by your doctor.

Dr. Crystal adds that while many obstetricians will advise against using triptans while pregnant, they could be safe when used occasionally. Doctors may prescribe opiates for severe headaches while youâre pregnant, but they âmust be used sparingly,â she says.

Check with your doctor before taking any migraine treatment, to be sure its safe for you and your pregnancy.

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Acetaminophen Is The Only Otc Headache Medication Thats Safe For Pregnant Women To Take

Dr. O. Lawrence Stitt, MD, an OB/GYN at Mercy Medical, told INSIDER that acetaminophen is considered a safer medication compared to the majority of the headache remedies available.

While acetaminophen can definitely help in a pinch, itâs also important to note that there are other things you can do to prevent headaches during pregnancy.

Dr. Stitt said to make sure that your blood sugar is always within a normal range. âThis can be best managed by eating small frequent meals, which can allow you to keep your blood sugar in a normal range and hopefully, avoid headaches,â he added.

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What Can I Take For A Headache While Breastfeeding

You have more migraine treatment options to choose from when youre breastfeeding, compared to when youre pregnant. When breastfeeding, medication is deemed safe if your baby gets less than 10% of the dose through your breast milk.

A 2013 study in the journal Headache researched migraine medications that healthcare providers could safely recommend to their breastfeeding patients. Their findingsas well as newer researchindicate which medications are safer and which ones should be avoided.

Secondary Headaches During Pregnancy

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It is especially important to identify red flags suggesting that headache is a symptom of a serious disease . In these cases, electroencephalography, ophthalmoscopy, ultrasound of the vessels of the head and neck, brain MRI and MR angiography may be needed . In some cases, it is possible to perform multi-slice computed tomography . The risk for the fetus in this case is minimal and the contraindication is the mother allergy to the contrast agent .

Clinically, the most significant causes of the secondary headache in pregnant women are: stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage, cerebral venous thrombosis, arterial dissection, pituitary tumor, choriocarcinoma, eclampsia, preeclampsia, posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, idiopathic intracranial hypertension, and reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome.


To identify the etiology and make a diagnosis of ACA in pregnant women and puerperas, one or more of the following methods can be required: MRI and angiography, computed tomography , MSCT, ophthalmoscopy electrocardiography and echocardiography, daily monitoring of arterial pressure and electrocardiograms, ultrasound examination of extra- and intracranial vessels with duplex scanning, and cerebral angiography .

Subarachnoid hemorrhage

Headache associated with preeclampsia and eclampsia

Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome

Primary and secondary intracranial hypertension

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What Are The Symptoms Of Migraine Headaches

The two most common types of migraines are classic migraines and common migraines. The following are the most common symptoms. However, each woman may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Migraine aura. A type of migraine that involves the appearance of neurological symptoms, called an aura , 10 to 30 minutes before an attack. An attack may last one or two days. Pain associated with classic migraines may be described as:

  • Intense throbbing or pounding felt in the forehead, temple, ear, jaw, or around the eye.

  • Starting on one side of the head, but may spread to the other side.

  • Migraine without aura. A type of migraine that is generally not preceded by an aura, although there may be a variety of symptoms prior to its onset. Common migraine pain may last three or four days. Symptoms may include:

  • Mental âfuzzinessâ

  • Diarrhea and increased urination

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • The symptoms of migraines may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

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    Pregnant Women Can’t Take Most Over The Counter Headache Medications

    Scan the aisles of any drug store and you’re bound to find tons of over the counter medications for headaches. Unfortunately, most of them are off-limits when you’re pregnant.

    Dr. Hutchinson said to avoid prescription medication as much as possible while pregnant because they could potentially harm the developing fetus. She also advised avoiding anti-inflammatory medications such as Aleve, Advil, Motrin, and Aspirin.

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    Coffee Helps Prevent My Migraine Can I Have Caffeine While Pregnant

    Caffeine and migraine have an interesting relationship. According to the National Headache Foundation, caffeine can help with pain relief, since âit contains properties that cause the blood vessels to narrow and restrict blood flow.â It can even make some pain relievers work better. Yet for some people, caffeine is a migraine trigger. And becoming reliant on caffeine every day can lead to rebound headaches.

    All that said, even if you know caffeine helps relieve your migraine attacks, what can you do? Isnât caffeine off limits during pregnancy?

    If youâve been resisting the urge to reach for a cup of coffee, take comfort. Dr. Crystal points out that some caffeine is ok during pregnancy . âDrinking up to 12 oz. of coffee per day, or about 200 mg of caffeine, is considered safe,â she says. Still, itâs always smart to double check with your doctor before pouring yourself a cup.

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    Pregnancy Complications In Patients With Other Headache Conditions

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    Only few studies included pregnant patients with other primary headache conditions than migraine. Maggioni et al. Conducted a retrospective study on 430 women after delivery: 126 suffered from primary headache disorders, among them 81 had MO, 12 MA and 22 TTH . They detected no differences in APGAR scores and malformations between women with and without primary headaches, regardless of the headache subtype .

    Sanchez et al. Observed that history of headache correlated significantly with placental abruption, i.e. The separation of the placenta from uterus before delivery . The odds ratio for MA was 1.59, for MO was 2.11 and for TTH was 1.61 .

    Finally, Marozio et al. Conducted a prospective study on 376 pregnant women with headache compared to 326 pregnant women without headache . Among women with headache, 264 had migraine with or without aura and 103 a TTH. Preterm deliveries occurred significantly more often within the headache group and headache subtypes did not differ regarding pregnancy complications .

    In conclusion, migraine is a risk factor for pregnancy complications, particularly vascular events . The risk of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia is increased in pregnant migraineurs and active migraine during pregnancy is associated with increased risk for stroke, cardiac diseases and thromboembolic events . Therefore, migraineurs should be considered at higher risk for complications during pregnancy and monitored closely .

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    Can A Pregnant Woman Take Paracetamol For Headache

    Coping with headaches in pregnancyParacetamol is the first choice of painkiller if youâre pregnant. However, for safety, if you take paracetamol in pregnancy, take it for the shortest possible time. You can get advice from your pharmacist, midwife or GP about how much paracetamol you can take and for how long.

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    Are Migraines During Pregnancy Bad For The Baby

    Migraines can be so severe, you might worry theyâre affecting your baby too. âThe good news,â Dr. Crystal says,â is that large studies have not shown increased rates of birth defects or stillbirths in migraineurs.â

    That being said, women who have migraines so severe that they end up in the emergency room have a higher risk of complications such as pre-eclampsia, preterm delivery, and low birth weight, according to the National Headache Foundation.

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    Pregnancy Can Have A Significant Impact On Migraine Symptoms And How Women Should Treat Them Heres What Experts Have To Say

    First, the good news: Between 50 and 80% of pregnant migraine patients actually experience a reduction in migraine attacks during their pregnancy, according to David Dodick, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Arizona. Many doctors believe rising estrogen levels help reduce migraine frequency and intensity. Hormone replacement therapy that mimics pregnancys effect on the body is increasingly being used in migraine treatment plans, especially for those who experience migraines around the time of menstruation. Caution does need to be used however in women who have migraines with aura, as the increased risk of stroke may further be increased by the addition of an estrogen-containing oral contraceptive pill.

    However, some women experience migraine for the first time during pregnancy and some experience an increase in migraine symptoms especially during the first trimester. The appearance or worsening of migraine in pregnant women should be taken very seriously: Studies show that migraine symptoms, when accompanied by high blood pressure, can increase the risk of developing preeclampsia or other vascular complications. Women whose migraine symptoms dont decrease during pregnancy should be particularly vigilant. Its important to work with your obstetrician and your headache doctor when you have migraine to establish a safe treatment plan.

    If I Tend To Get Migraines During My Period Will I Also Get Them During Pregnancy

    Is it normal to get headaches during pregnancy, and what should I do about them?

    According to the Migraine Research Foundation, menstrual, or âhormonal,â migraines are a type of migraine that affects 7â19% of women.

    For women who get them, they tend to hit just before or at the start of your period. The quick drop in estrogen and progesterone that occurs before your period starts could be what triggers menstrual migraines, according to the US Office on Womenâs Health.

    If you suffer from menstrual migraine, you might worry that youâll also be prone to get migraines triggered by hormonal changes that happen in your body during pregnancy, but thereâs good news. Dr. Crystal points out that many women who get menstrual migraines actually see an improvement in their migraines while pregnant.

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    When To See Your Doctor

    Headaches in pregnant people are particularly concerning during the third trimester, when risk for preeclampsia rises.

    If you experience vision changes or seeing spots, call your doctor immediately as this is a sign of preeclampsia.

    To diagnose preeclampsia, doctors will check for elevated blood pressure and may conduct a follow-up urine analysis.

    If preeclampsia is ruled out, and your headache persists and is not responding to treatment especially Tylenol its still important to talk with a doctor to identify the root cause.

    Imaging including MRIs are safe during pregnancy and should be utilized by people with severe headaches, Columbo said. MRIs can help diagnose migraines, which could inform your treatment options.

    After youve figured out the cause, your doctor might recommend medication, like a combination of Benadryl and Reglan to treat headaches. If your doctor says the medication is safe, take it, Columbo says.

    Dont make yourself suffer needlessly, he says.

    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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    What To Take For Headache When Pregnant

    No.1. Peppermint oil this is one of the best cures for headache you can get when you are pregnant. Get a bottle of peppermint oil and dilute it with a carrier oil before applying it to your head. We suggest that you use coconut oil as a carrier oil. This works by opening the blood vessels in the head, which in turn reduces the pain..

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