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 frequency of headaches after the baby is conceived. One to two percent 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.
What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy?
The main cause of headaches during pregnancy is the increase in hormones. Estrogen can trigger headaches, and even migraines, because a pregnant woman’s estrogen levels shoot through the roof, especially early in the pregnancy. Other reasons can be:
- Lack of Sleep
- Sinus Congestion
- Caffeine Withdrawal
Caffeine withdrawal, especially if the pregnant woman was a heavy coffee, tea, or soda drinker, will trigger headaches that can be severe. It’s important to know that these headaches will eventually become less frequent 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 your pregnancy symptoms, especially your headaches and migraines. Your doctor may prescribe pain relievers and offer suggestions for decreasing the pain. It’s not always 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.
Another common things women do to relieve pain is exercise, which is known to relieve stress. Massages are also great for relieving muscle tension, especially if performed by a professional.
Some herbal remedies, such as Chamomile tea, can help you relax, especially during the evening hours when it’s almost time to lie down and sleep. A good night’s sleep and time for your body to rest throughout the day are 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. If it’s a tension headache, do the opposite and place a cold pack or cold cloth on the back of your neck. This will help to reduce the tension. Again, communicating with your doctor is key, as your doctor can help reduce the pain in a safe way.