Headache During Pregnancy

image001Having headaches because of tension when you are bearing a child is not that uncommon. The chances of these headaches happening are the greatest in the first trimester. These headaches can produce a dull or pinching pain in the area behind the neck and on either side of the head. However, there are lots of other triggers for headache during pregnancy. You should avoid those trigger as well as learn other tricks to tackle this symptom.

Causes and Symptoms of Headache During Pregnancy

There is no definite reason why pregnancy is known to increase the frequency of headaches in women however a logical hunch would be the hormonal changes that are happening in the body. The increased circulation of blood and its heightened volume could also be responsible for the headaches particularly in the first few months of the pregnancy.

Headaches suffered in the first trimester usually die down as soon as the second trimester beings. The reason for this is that by then the body has grown used to its new condition and the hormonal imbalances that had been created are neutralized as well.

As mentioned above, tension headaches are among the most common types of headaches and can worsen in pregnancy. After the tension headaches, migraines are the next most common kind of headaches. Doctors say that 20% of women suffer from a migraine at some point or another in their lives. Out of these 20%, approximately 15% have their first migraine when they bear a child.

Headaches caused by migraine are known to cause a throbbing pain that can be extremely severe sometimes and usually target one side of the head only. The pain suffered in such headaches becomes more severe if the sufferer engages in physical activity and is usually followed by symptoms like vomiting and nausea. The time duration for a migraine headache can be as low as 4 hours and as high as three days depending on the treatment received by the patient.

Other Causes for Headache During Pregnancy 

Migraines and headaches can either be caused due to the hormonal changes that are taking place in your body because of your pregnancy or might be a result of some other lifestyle change that you have made. These include:

  • Caffeine withdrawal
  • Getting exhausted
  • Having some sort of tension or stress can cause you muscles to tense up
  • Having a rest after a stressful week especially while enjoying a holiday
  • Not eating properly and thus being hungry
  • Eating foods that are known to trigger a migraine
  • An exhausting exercise session especially if you are not used to it
  • Sleeping too much or having precious little sleep

Can a Headache Be a Sign of Something More Serious?

Even though a vast majority of the headaches during pregnancy do not cause much harm to a woman, a headache can represent the possibility of an underlying disease which could be dangerous. If the headache you are having is not common for you and is in fact happening for the very first time then it is best to get checked out by a medical professional to ensure that you are all right and nothing serious is happening to you.

If the headache you are having strikes in the third trimester then it is a sign that you are suffering from a condition known as preeclampsia. It is a disease that is caused because of pregnancy in which the blood pressure of the patient rises accompanied with an increase in the protein levels of the urine.

When to See a Doctor

The following are some of the symptoms of Pre-eclampsia. If any of these signs show up then it is high time for you to see your doctor immediately.

  • A sharp and unexplainable pain in your head that severe enough to wake you up. A headache that persists and feels unusual to the kind of headache you have commonly been having.
  • The headache you are having has other symptoms like a stiff neck and high fever.

It is also best for you to contact your physician in case you start having a headache accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Blurring of vision
  • A sharp pain that is felt high up your tummy
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling of the face, feet or hands without any probable cause
  • If the headache you are having is accompanied with pain under your eyes, face or teeth and nasal congestion then it is a sign of a sinus infection that has to be checked out by a doctor and must have be treated by administering antibiotics.

How to Deal with Headache During Pregnancy

1. Avoid any triggers that are known to cause a migraine. Some common triggers include loud noises, tobacco smoke, artificial sweeteners, chocolate, certain fruits like avocados and citrus.

2. Use a cold compress if you are having a migraine or a hot one for other types of tension related headaches.

3. Take a warm or a cold bath depending on what sort of headache you are having. Cold bath is usually beneficial for migraines while hot bath is effectives for tension headaches.

4. Take proper meals during pregnancy and never stay hungry or thirsty for an extended period of time. It is also better to eat small but frequent meals to prevent low blood sugar.

5. Avoid getting exhausted. If you are having a migraine, it is best to sleep. Make use of any kind of relaxation technique that seems to work for you. It can either be yoga, having a massage or meditation.

6. Acupuncture is known to relieve feeling of pain as well. Explore this method of treatment as well since it does not cause harm and is safe to be received even when you are pregnant.

7. Engage in regular exercise to keep you strong and fit. Watch the video to learn about yoga to relieve headache during pregnancy:

8. Get a full body massage as it can relieve the tension you are having. Below are some massage techniques to relieve headache during pregnancy: