Pregnant and struggling with headaches? Worry no more, mama! Here’s what you need to know about it in order to manage it effectively.
Pregnancy headaches seem to be ten times worse than headaches you had before being pregnant, right? The main cause of headaches during pregnancy is normally due to increasing estrogen levels during the first trimester. However, early pregnancy headaches can be caused by a rise in the amount of blood that the body produces.
Hormones are no longer the major cause of the headache by the second or third trimester of your pregnancy. Any of these factors, including the extra weight you’ve gained to sleep deprivation, can cause headaches. Although the triggers aren’t always straightforward and can differ from one pregnant mother to the next, it’s important to know what type of headache you’re dealing with and what to do if you get a crippling headache!
Types of Headaches During Pregnancy
Healthline stated that most mums usually experience primary headaches during pregnancy. What is a primary headache, exactly? It is when the headache itself is the issue, according to Stanford Health Care. This implies that the headache is not a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as a sinus infection, in which case it will be classified as a secondary headache.
Did you know that there are four different types of primary headaches? There are migraine headaches, tension headaches, cluster headaches, and hypnic headaches. According to a scientific research published in 2017, migraine and tension headaches are the most common headaches that pregnant women experience.
This type of headache can be described by mild to intense pain on one side of the head and a pulsing feeling. This headache often causes nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. A migraine headache can last for hours or even days. This affects 1 in every 5 women.
If you are pregnant and suffering from migraine attacks, you can check with a health care professional on pregnancy-safe medications. However, if you prefer to take a more natural approach, try recovering in a dim, quiet room. You can also place a cold compress on your forehead for 15 minutes at a time.
A tension headache is felt around the back of the head or behind the eyes, as opposed to a migraine, which is felt on one side of the head. It happens w hen the muscles in the neck and scalp tense up. It is described by those who suffer from it as having a tight band around their forehead.
If you’re suffering from a tension headache, try applying a warm or cold compress to your head (whichever you prefer, mums). Since this type of headache is associated with tense muscles, taking a warm shower may help you relax and feel better.
While cluster headaches are more common in men, some pregnant mums can sometimes suffer from this excruciatingly painful headache too. This type of headache affects one side of the head, particularly around the eyes. Cluster headaches have a burning sensation, unlike migraines, which have a throbbing and pulsing sensation. A cluster headache attack can last for up to 3 hours.
Given the severity of the pain this headache brings, there are quite a number of medications available for cluster headache relief. However, not all of them are 100% safe during pregnancy. As such, oxygen therapy (breathing oxygen through a mask) is the safest treatment option for pregnant mums.
This type of headache is pretty rare, affecting mostly postmenopausal women. The fact that the pain occurs only at night and lasts for more than an hour makes it completely rare.
The most common recommendation to alleviate hypnic headache is to take caffeine before bed. Medications are also available if a cup of coffee doesn’t do the trick.
Tips to Prevent Headaches During Pregnancy
Not all headaches can be prevented entirely during pregnancy. There are, however, certain things you can do or change in your lifestyle that could help you handle them better. Here are some of our helpful tips in preventing pregnancy headaches!
- Avoid headache triggers. Migraines, for instance, are usually triggered by caffeine and alcohol intake, foods like chocolate and citrus fruits, and smell. According to the American Migraine Foundation, 70% of migraine headaches are caused by stress.
- Quit smoking. Even e-cigarettes are dangerous to pregnant women, as they can cause nicotine poisoning—with headaches being one of its symptoms.
- Learn how to manage stress. These can be anything from talking to a friend or winding down with a good book.
- Practice relaxation techniques. You can use Mama’s Choice Relaxing Massage Oil for aromatherapy or for a massage.
- Follow a regular sleep schedule. Sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue, which is a common trigger in most headaches.
- Eat a healthy diet. On top of eating lots of fruits and vegetables you need in your pregnancy, it’s important to stay hydrated too.
When Should You Worry About Headaches During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy headaches are very common during pregnancy, particularly in the first and third trimesters. However, if the headache persists despite your efforts in trying all of the tips that we shared, it might be time to seek medical attention.
Experts recommend that you immediately inform your doctor if you experience frequent headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, fainting or fever.
If you’re in your second or third trimester, you should pay close attention. This is because severe headaches that happen frequently followed by changes in vision, nausea, and other symptoms could indicate preeclampsia—a pregnancy complication that can be fatal to both mothers and babies if left untreated.
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The Mama's Choice MY team is consisted of 4 beautiful mamas who are strong and dedicated in being the support system that many mamas need these days. <3