Pregnancy Headaches: Helpful and Healthful Information
It’s normal for pregnant women to experience a host of uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms, which may include pregnancy headaches. These headaches are often felt in the first or third trimester of the pregnancy. However, it’s still very much possible for this headache to occur anytime during the course of the pregnancy. Women, who have a history of headaches, find that during pregnancy, the number of headaches they experience increases. Some of them who don’t usually experience these painful episodes begin to have headaches when they get pregnant. While these headaches are usually nothing to really worry about, experiencing this on top of the other uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy can really take a lot away from the joy of a woman’s impending motherhood. This is why it is important to understand what causes headaches during pregnancy and to take steps to avoid them. If the headaches intensify or occur more often than usual, consult a doctor immediately.
The Occurrence of Pregnancy Headaches
When a woman becomes pregnant, there is a dramatic increase in hormones in the body most especially in the first three months of the pregnancy. This hormonal surge, plus the additional blood volume that circulates in a pregnant woman’s body, is believed to be the cause of pregnancy headaches. Expectant mothers also experience pregnancy fatigue, emotional stress, tension, hot flashes, and increased hunger which may also contribute to the development of headaches or aggravation of existing ones. The sudden change in a pregnant woman’s diet such as removing caffeine entirely for the duration of the pregnancy can also trigger a headache. Headaches that occur in the third trimester is often linked to poor posture and tension; however, the pain may be due to pregnancy related to high blood pressure called preeclampsia, so it’s best to mention headaches that occur in the last three months of pregnancy during check-ups with the OB-GYN.
Headache Prevention and Treatment during Pregnancy
Taking medications is a tricky matter when a woman is pregnant. It is always best to consult a doctor before taking any over the counter medications during pregnancy to avoid any complications they may cause to the pregnant woman’s body and the unborn child she is carrying. There are particular pain medications that are safe for pregnant women as long as they are taken in low to moderate doses. However, it’s still best to try alternative solutions that don’t require taking anything that may harm the mother or the child during this very sensitive period.
Applying cold compress to the back of the neck can soothe tension headaches aggravated by pregnancy. Taking a warm and relaxing bath can help ease the pain, too. It’s also a good idea to avoid certain foods that can trigger a headache which include monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners, nitrates and other foods that are known to be headache triggers.
With all the things an expectant mother has to deal with, it’s not surprising if stress and tension takes over and causes headaches to occur. Consult a doctor about safe ways to treat or avoid pregnancy headaches.
If you’re experiencing any type of headache pain, schedule an appointment with one of our headache specialists immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.