Headaches and migraines are very common among pregnant women. Many women experience headaches before they are pregnant and sometimes see an increase once pregnancy occurs, while other women see a decrease in the amount of headaches once the baby is conceived. 1-2% of migraine sufferers get their first headaches or migraines during the first trimester, but as the second and third trimester come and go, their symptoms usually decrease. It’s important to know what causes or triggers headaches, and what you can do to relieve or prevent them from beginning in the first place.
What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy
There are many different factors a woman must consider when determining the reasons for the sudden increase in headaches once she is pregnant. The main reason why headaches are triggered is the increase in hormones. Estrogen usually triggers the headaches, even migraines because a woman’s estrogen levels shoot through the roof, especially early in the pregnancy. Other reasons can be:
- Lack of Sleep
- Sinus Congestion
- Caffeine Withdraws
Caffeine withdraws, especially if the pregnant woman was a heavy coffee, tea or soda drinker will trigger headaches that range from mild to severe. It’s important to know that these headaches will eventually decrease as your body becomes less dependent on the caffeinated substance.
Relieving Headaches During Pregnancy
The most important thing to do is to tell your doctor about all of your pregnancy symptoms, especially your headaches and migraines. Your doctor will give you specific orders, pain relievers and suggestions for decreasing the pain. It’s not safe to take over the counter pain relievers such as aspirin, as these can be just as dangerous as prescribed medication while you’re pregnant. Other common things women do to relieve the pain is exercising, since it’s known to reduce the stress within your body. Massages are also great for reducing muscle tension. They can be performed by a partner or a professional, whichever the pregnant women wants.
Some herbal remedies, such as Chamomile tea are known to help a person relax, especially during the evening hours when it’s almost time to lay down and sleep. A good night sleep and time for your body to rest throughout the day is also important when trying to reduce headaches, stress and fatigue. If a headache or migraine does come on without warning, try putting a warm cloth over your eyes and temples, where the sinuses usually build up and become congested. If it’s a tension headache, do the opposite and place a cold pack or cloth on the back of your neck. This will help to reduce the tension. Again, communicating with your doctor is key, as they can help reduce the pain in a safe way.