According to the latest research in the field, certain headaches during pregnancy might be the basis of some series health issues. Doctors examined the medical records of 140 pregnant women in N.Y., who started experiencing headaches during pregnancy, pains they didn`t have before.
Therefore, it was discovered that around 65% of these particular headaches represented migraines, while the remaining 35% was nothing more than the result of increase blood pressure, more commonly known as preeclampsia. The study outlined that 1 out of 6 women experiencing headache while pregnant was diagnosed with hypertensive disorder, and up to 16% of those particular women experience migraines for the first time.
While expecting a baby, it`s essential for blood pressure and urine to be closely monitored, because the increase of blood pressure or protein in the urine represent a symptoms of preeclampsia. This medical condition generally takes place in the 2nd half of pregnancy, especially in the last weeks before term. And among the first signs to occur are: blurred vision, fast weight gain, abnormal urination and pain, swelling of the hands or face and headache.
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What Do Headaches Feel Like in Early Pregnancy?
It`s not unusual to have headaches while pregnant, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. If you were always sensitive to these headaches, they may become more acute during pregnancy. No one knows exactly why they occur now, experts claiming they may be related to hormonal changes, but also about the changes in blood circulation.
Headaches can usually occur during the same area of the head, or in distinct places. These can cause an acute pulse pain, or a generalized “deaf” pain. Generally speaking, headaches don`t cause other signs.
Migraines are rather different, as they are considered to be caused by the abnormal functioning of brain blood vessels. Headaches triggered by migraines might lead to other signs, like sensitivity to odors, light or sounds, and nausea.
How Common Are Migraines during Pregnancy?
This will usually vary from one woman to another. Sometimes, most women already experiencing migraines have fewer issues while pregnant. Around 2/3 of women who`re prone to these symptoms observed that headaches improved during the 9 months of pregnancy. This usually happens if migraines had the tendency to be worse around periods or began when you first started your menstruation. Other ones observed no change whatsoever or noticed that the headaches become more intense and occurred more frequent.
What Is the Cause of Headaches during Pregnancy?
While pregnant, headaches are frequent especially during the first trimester, but this isn`t necessarily a rule. They may also occur in the following months (sometimes, more rare), or they might disappear completely.
The most common causes are:
- Hormonal changes.
- Caffeine withdrawal.
- Lower blood sugar.
- Lack of sleep.
- Increased blood volume and circulation.
If you experienced migraines before conceiving, then the chances for them to occur more often are pretty high.
Headaches can be caused by visual disturbances as well, which in turn are related to hormonal changes triggered by pregnancy. If you experience sight issues, it`s a good idea to talk to an ophthalmologist. Fortunately, in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, headaches occur more rarely or even don`t occur at all, the body managing to adapt to the new hormonal structure.
Headaches might be a sign of: anemia, cold, HELLP syndrome, asthma, preeclampsia, toxoplasmosis, varicella, migraine and sinusitis.
How Do You Get Rid of a Headache during Pregnancy?
In case that your headaches aren`t violent and don`t have an increased frequency, you can get rid of them on your own, but especially, you can prevent them:
- Apply cool compresses.
- Avoid tense or stressful situations.
- Eat fruits, vegetables and cereals – you`ll get the energy you`ll need and increase your tone.
- Follow a food plan that consists of fixed meals and snacks.
- Hydrate yourself properly.
- Take biofeedback into consideration – This represents a mind-body method through which you learn how to control specific bodily functions, like heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, in order to reduce headaches or even prevent them.
- Avoid noise and clutter.
- Get enough rest and relax yourself through sleep, reading, sports or any other physical activity that you enjoy doing.
- Use analgesics only when you have your doctor`s approval.
- Pay attention to the moments when you experience these headaches and see if you can associate them with the drugs you just took or food you just ate. Remove the cause, if you found a relation.
- Get a massage.
- Take a shower.
- Take acupuncture into consideration.
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.
When to Call your Doctor?
Get in touch with your doctor if:
- You experience a sudden “explosive” headache. This sort of headache represent a violent pain which does not really go away, wakes you up if you are asleep, or isn`t similar to anything you have ever experienced.
- The headache comes with stiff neck or fever.
- You experience a headache after a head injury.
- You notice that you experience symptoms of headache after watching a computer screen or reading.
- You are in the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy and experience a serious headache or it`s the first time when you experience a headache. It might or might not be associated with nausea, sharp abdominal pain or sudden weight gain.
- The headache becomes worse and you experience other issues, like numbness, visual disturbances, drowsiness or slurred speech.
- You experience congestion in the nose, dental pain, and facial pain or underneath your eyes.