Pregnancy headache requires special treatment
What can I expect when it comes to pregnancy headache? And will there be any drugs that I can take without harming the baby? What can I expect when my pregnancy is over?
There are some things about the big event that just aren't joyous. One of those things is that their options for drugs and other treatments diminish all of a sudden.
Migraine sufferers may suddenly find that the drug that's been stopping the pain is no longer an option.
For many women, migraines almost disappear during pregnancy. But for others, they may get worse or even begin for the first time! What's going on?!
Pregnancy headache – what's the cause?
The fact is that the migraine monster seems to favour women ...especially between their teenage years and age 50. The worst suffering usually occurs between ages 30 and 45.
Some researchers believe that migraine in women is closely related to estrogen and progesterone levels. If you've poked around this website for long, or if you've done any reading on migraine, you know that many people believe that the serotonin in your body plays a role in migraine. Well, estrogen and serotonin are linked. When your estrogen levels drop, so does your serotonin. This explains why many women suffer migraine at times in their cycle when estrogen drops. Other hormonal changes may trigger your migraines as well. Read more about hormonal triggers and menopause headaches here.
When you're pregnant, estrogen stays more steady, at a higher level. This is why in many women, migraines lessen during pregnancy. But as you may also know, any changes in your body are likely to trigger migraine if you're predisposed. So that's bad news for many who get an unexpected addition to their life when they're pregnant.
Some headaches may be cause by preeclampsia. Read more about Preeclampsia and Migraines here.
Pregnancy headache – good timing or bad timing?
If you're a regular migraine sufferer, and you're in your first trimester, there's still hope. Often migraine does decrease during the second and third trimester. Be sure to mention your pregnancy headache to your doctor, especially if it's something new; it may seem like a little thing (for some!) compared to all the health concerns for your baby, but it's an important part of the overall picture, and there's no reason why you shouldn't investigate treatment. The headaches may or may not go away after your pregnancy is over, so it's best to start dealing with them right away.
Pregnancy headache – what can I and can't I do?
When pregnancy begins, this is a great time to set out all your herbal and drug therapies and re-evaluate them with your doctor. You probably know by now that it's important to not take anything like this during pregnancy without talking to your doctor. Some medications are usually considered safe, such as tylenol, certain narcotic abortives and some preventative drugs such as beta-blockers and anti-depressants.
Some things your doctor will probably warn you about are things like aspirin and ibuprofen. Divalproex sodium, an antiseizure medication sometimes prescribed for migraine is avoided during pregnancy because of the danger of birth defects. Those are just some examples.
But don't despair! Drugs and herbs are NOT the only way to treat headache, and often they're not even the most effective. Also, there are some drugs and herbs you can take once you've checked with your doctor. In fact, there are several you can try under your doctor's supervision until you find one that works. For example, moderate amounts of acetaminophen are often recommended by doctors for headache during pregnancy.
In many countries, including the USA, drugs are put into classes depending on how risky they are during pregnancy. In the American ABCDX system, there are no preventative drugs in the lowest risk category (A). Often doctors will have you slowly go off your preventative treatment once you discover you're pregnant, and then try abortive or non-drug treatments during your pregnancy.
You can start before your next doctors appointment by checking out some of the home remedies on this website, many of which are ideal for pregnancy headache.
Wait to ask your doctor about the herbal remedies and medications, but go ahead and try things like hot or cold packs, and mild food changes.
Reducing the stress in your life is one of the best things you can do for pregnancy headache. I know, I know – easier said than done! But learning a few relaxation skills will benefit you long after your pregnancy is over.
-> Try to get a couple hours to yourself, and evaluate your life. What can you do to simplify your daily schedule? How can you get some time alone? What can your family do to help? What changes should you make as you progress in your pregnancy? You'd be surprised what a few small changes can do, but you need a little time to yourself to actually think about it!
If you're ready for a real headache-busting rampage, try getting a good reference about headaches and migraines. There are many available, but I suggest you try
Migraines for Dummies
because it's clear, fun, and written by a doctor and health writer both of which are women. Don't just put up with pregnancy headache – fight back! It will benefit you and your family if you do it right.
-> read about hormonal headache here
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