Migraines and Pregnancy

What is a migraine headache?

Migraine headaches, a type of vascular headache and not one that develops from stress or tension, happen when blood vessels in the brain dilate. Sometimes migraine sufferers have nausea or vomiting with their headaches. And sometimes the headache starts with an aura – a sensation of flashing lights in your eyes.

A migraine headache is typically one that causes a constant throbbing pain in the temples, front of the head or based or the head. They can be short-lived or last for days.

Women are three times more likely to suffer with migraine headaches than men, and there may be some correlation between hormones and migraines.

If I am pregnant how should I treat a migraine?

Always let your OB/GYN know if you get migraine headaches so that you can decide on a treatment plan.  If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your OB/GYN immediately:

  • Fever with a headache
  • A headache that lasts longer than a few hours or that keeps returning
  • Blurred vision with your headache

Journal about your migraines to help you learn more about them

Write down when your headache occurs. What might have caused it, and how long it lasts.  Watch your journal entries to look for triggers – or things that might cause your migraine.  Triggers are different for everyone but here are some common ones.

  • Stress
  • Chocolate
  • Cheese
  • Coffee
  • Weather
  • Hormones

Are there any medications safe for migraines with pregnancy?

Always talk to your OB/GYN about what is safe for you to take while you are pregnant (and if you are nursing). Acetaminophen is usually considered a safe pain relief medication. Do not take aspirin, unless specifically prescribed by your OB/GYN.

Are there any non-medicine remedies for migraines during pregnancy?

Often putting heat or cold where your head is aching can help to alleviate the pain. Some women say that an icepack does wonders for their migraines.

Other suggestions include:

  • Cold shower
  • Sleep
  • Dark room
  • Drink cold water/ keep hydrated