Pregnancy is considered as one of the most precious time in a mother’s life, but many also know that it could be the most challenging (yet rewarding) experience.
If you’re pregnant and feel that you're having more-than-usual headaches, then you are not alone. According to a medical review, 39 percent of pregnant women will experience some type of headaches during pregnancy.
It may occur at any time during your pregnancy, but it tends to be most common during the first and third trimesters.
Most headaches during pregnancy are primary headaches such as migraine or tension headaches. The headache pain usually happens by itself and does not indicate another disorder or a complication in the pregnancy.
Headache pain may vary from one woman to another but in general, you may experience:
Throbbing or pulsating pain
Severe pain on one or both sides
Sharp pain behind one or both eyes
Pain and stiffness around the neck
Migraine pain may also include:
Seeing lines or flashes of light
There are many things that can trigger headaches during pregnancy but the primary culprit, especially during the first trimester, would be due to the surge of hormones and an increase in blood volume.
These two changes can cause more frequent headaches among expecting mommies.
Other factors that can further aggravate headaches include pregnancy fatigue, physical or emotional stress, poor posture & tension from carrying extra weight (especially during the third trimester), overeating, changes in vision, sinus congestion, lack of sleep or allergies or a combination of all these.
A condition called preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure during pregnancy may also be a contributing factor for the headaches during the third trimester.
The good news? For some regular migraine-sufferer, surging hormones might actually make them have less severe and less frequent migraines.
But of course, it doesn’t apply to everyone, so it’s important to monitor the severity of your headaches and talk to your healthcare provider about it.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the term “prevention is better than cure”. Well, it goes the same with this case too and we think that the best way to deal with headaches is avoiding them in the first place.
You may want to try and relieve your headache by natural means if possible:
Make sure to have enough rest (remember not to oversleep too).
Do some light-weight exercises. You can search for plenty of pregnancy-friendly exercises on YouTube.
Practice meditation and deep breathing to help your mind and body relax
If you have a sinus headache, apply a warm compress around your eyes and nose
For tension headache, you can try to apply a cold compress at the back of your neck
Take warm showers or baths
Get a massage (shoulder and neck massage can be effective to relieve pain)
Eat well-balanced meals to fulfill your nutritions requirement
Maintain your blood sugar by eating smaller, more frequent meals
Sometimes natural remedies just don’t cut it. You should talk to your doctor before taking any medications (even over-the-counter pain relievers like Paracetamol). See your doctor for all follow-up and regular check-ups.
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American Pregnancy Association. (2019). Headaches During Pregnancy: Causes and Treatment. [online] Available at: https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/headaches-and-pregnancy/.
Weatherspoon, D. (2019). Headache During Pregnancy: What Causes Them and What You Can Do. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/headache-during-pregnancy#treatment.
Klzer, J. (2019). https://www.parents.com. [online] Parents. Available at: https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/aches-pains/safe-tips-to-treat-headaches-during-pregnancy/.
What to Expect. (2019). Headaches During Pregnancy: Migraines, Tension, Sinus and Hormonal Headaches | What to Expect. [online] Available at: https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/symptoms-and-solutions/headaches-during-pregnancy.aspx.
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