In early pregnancy, your body goes through a flow of hormones with increased blood volume. These changes together can cause you to experience more frequent headaches. Besides, stress, changes in the vision or poor postures can further aggravate pregnancy headache.
Migraine headaches during pregnancy, on the other hand, can cause you to experience moderate to severe agonizing ache on one side of your head. Symptoms can be worsening in case of increased anxiety and stress levels.
As the matter of fact, women are more susceptible to headaches and migraines than men. The feminine predisposition to this health problem has been the subject of many medical studies since ages. And according to the findings, migraines are linked with the hormonal changes that take place in the woman’s body especially when these hormones begin to control the menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, the amount of hormones keeps fluctuating inside a woman’s body hence causes her to experience pregnancy headaches.
Headache Types during Pregnancy
Typically, pregnant women can experience two types of headaches.
The first type of headache in pregnancy happens because of stress allergies, dehydration, or fatigue, and is known as tension headache. These headaches are like a steady dull ache on the both sides of the head or a squeezing pain. Sometimes, it can also occur with or without pain at the back of your neck.
Women who have always been vulnerable to headaches due to tension or stress are likely to have worse headaches during pregnancy. Tension headaches are very common in pregnancy which affects about an 80% of pregnant women.
Unlike tension headache, pregnancy migraine is not very common and typically effects on 20 percent of them. This headache type is more throbbing, and can last longer in most cases. Usually, pregnancy migraines are triggered by the dilation of the brain arteries that cause pressure on the nerves hence results in intense pain. In addition to devastating pain, the migraine can also cause pregnant women to experience nausea, vomiting, aura (visual disturbances), fatigue, and appetite loss.
Mostly, pregnancy migraines affect a woman in the first trimester slowly decreasing in severity and frequency in later stages of pregnancy. The continuous change in the bodily hormones levels particularly estrogen can affect the intensity and frequency of the symptoms. Some women experience their first migraine when they are pregnant whereas those who have been experiencing it before pregnancy may notice reduced migraine episodes.
Is Tension Headache or Pregnancy Migraine Harmful For Baby?
Though pregnancy headaches are associated with an attack, they do not harm the growing fetus in the womb. Needless to say, pregnant women experiencing either headache type should seek professional advice for the treatment. The primary reason for these checks is to make sure these headaches are because of the manifestation of pregnancy and not a result of any underlying disease which could harm the mother or her baby.
Diagnosis & Treatments
When it comes to diagnosing and treating pregnancy headaches, your health provider will check you to find the best way to provide you the treatment that not only helps you get relieve from the pain but also ascertain that it does not adversely affect the fetus. In such circumstances, most doctors prefer to apply the application of preventive measures in addition to avoid the use of medicines as much as possible.
As an alternative, natural remedies that do not involve any medicines are suggested to deal with pregnancy headaches. For example, yoga and stretching exercises, meditation, massage, and deep breathing can help you alleviate pain and prevent stress. Similarly, cold compress, sleeping or resting in a dark room are known for their goodness in pain relief.
In addition, there are numerous measures that can be observed to prevent from pregnancy migraines or tension headaches. Health experts suggest that doing light exercises on a regular basis is important in order to avail great benefits. Also, avoid foods and substances that tend to trigger the pain including coffee, MSG, cheese or chocolate.
Situations where medications become really a “need” to get rid of the intense pain, acetaminophen is considered to be a safe drug for pregnant women and can be taken on a prescribed dose for pregnancy migraines. Other safe drugs for headache during pregnancy include paracetamol, ibuprofen, and Nuprin.