Should you be worried if you start getting pregnancy headaches? It’s actually very normal to get headaches when you’re pregnant – especially during the first trimester. At nine weeks into your pregnancy it’s typical to see an increase in headaches. Usually they disappear by the time the second trimester rolls around – so you shouldn’t worry too much.Your body is getting used to a whole host of new hormones when you become pregnant. Women who have never had a migraine in their life can often have their first when they’re expecting a baby.
Why am I getting pregnancy headaches in the first place?
Your body is getting used to a whole host of new hormones when you become pregnant. Women who have never had a migraine in their life can often have their first when they’re expecting a baby.
Current research around the cause of pregnancy headaches isn’t conclusive, but it’s agreed that the huge change in your body – especially the change in hormones – is undoubtedly a major contributing factor. Your body is also producing more blood than normal, which is thought to be a key trigger.
Some pregnant women who have always gotten migraines or tension headaches sometimes find that their headaches disappear completely during pregnancy – especially if they used to get headaches when they had their period. Different causes exist for headaches in the first trimester compared to the third, and reasons differ between women.
Common causes of pregnancy headaches and migraines include:
- Having a sinus infection
- Changes in weight and blood pressure
- Changes in posture with the growing baby
- Lack of sleep
- Stress and anxiety
Should I be worried if I have a pregnancy headache?
Most of the time, pregnancy headaches and migraines are harmless. It’s good to get your headaches checked out by your midwife or GP, especially after the first trimester. Tests can be run to make sure that the headaches aren’t a result of pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is a form of high blood pressure that is caused by pregnancy.
If your headache is accompanied by blurred vision, fever, severe pain, fainting, seizure, swelling of your hands or feet, nausea or vomiting then please seek medical advice immediately.
So, can a pregnancy headache affect my baby?
Don’t worry – headaches will not affect your baby! It’s always recommended to tell your midwife, pregnancy naturopath or GP if you’re getting migraines though, so that you can be monitored carefully.
Is there a way of preventing pregnancy headaches?
Keeping a diary of your headaches and migraines can really help you figure out if there are specific environmental factors causing them. Write down when they occur and a brief description of what you did that day – particularly how physically active you were, what you were doing when the pain started, what you drank and ate that day, any medications you have taken and the quality of your sleep recently.
It’s good to look back over five or more of your pregnancy headaches to see if patterns emerge.
Are there any foods or beverages that can trigger pregnancy migraines?
A lot of women cut down on or quit caffeine when they become pregnant. The withdrawals from this can cause your head to hurt more than you might think! The usual migraine causing foods such as chocolate, cheese, foods with MSG and processed meats should be avoided if you’re already prone to bad headaches. Blood-sugar balancing foods such as the usual rainbow of fresh produce, healthy fats and spices (such as cinnamon) can help level out you out.
What can be done when you’re suffering with a headache or migraine during pregnancy?
- A cold compress on your forehead.
- Taking a cold shower can be great temporary relief from migraines.
- Eat little and often, as low blood sugar can cause headaches, but avoid sugary foods as they can cause spikes and crashes.
- Stay hydrated. Increasing fluids by upping your intake of mineral water, herbal teas (pregnancy approved), coconut water and lemon in water.
- Try popular relaxation techniques to improve stress management – such as meditation or pregnancy massage.
- Address any food sensitivities or nutritional deficiencies, such as magnesium or iron deficiency during pregnancy.
- Improve your rest and sleep. Check out my free guide to pregnancy for tips!
- Consult a professional to correct any postural or spinal problems.
Will the headaches ever end?
Migraines normally improve during the later stages of pregnancy, as oestrogen levels out. Once you’ve given birth, it’s normal to have a headache for a few days, then they should decrease until you’re back to the levels of headaches and migraines you had before you were pregnant.
Looking for a Pregnancy Naturopath in Brunswick, Melbourne? Call me today to discuss how I can help you on your special journey.