Back to Back Issues Page
HeadWay, Issue #121 -- Migraine, Headaches, and Pregnancy
August 21, 2014

Thanks for joining us as we begin the 12th year of HeadWay!

*Please note: URLs may wrap onto the next line. To visit the website, cut and paste the entire URL into your address bar on your browser*

In this issue:

Migraine, Headaches, and Pregnancy

SootheAway Continuous Thermal Therapy Device

Say what?!   Targeted Thermal Therapy

Migraine, Headaches, and Pregnancy

You've probably heard a lot of myths and outdated information about migraine during pregnancy.  Ever heard that your headaches are sure to go away?  Or that you can't take migraine drugs if you're pregnant?  Well, the truth may not be quite as black and white.

Will I have Migraine Attacks during Pregnancy?

Of those who regularly have migraine attacks, more than half experience some improvement - they will have fewer attacks.  However, a significant number experience no change at all, and for some women attacks actually increase.  The number who have fewer attacks goes from a little over half in the first trimester to about 3/4 for the rest of the pregnancy.  If you experience visual aura with your attacks, you are less likely to improve.

So there is a good chance that you will have fewer attacks, but for many women migraine is still a significant - if not major - problem during pregnancy.

Most headaches experienced during pregnancy are actually tension-type headache.  These can also have a significant impact on your life.

Are Pregnancy Headaches Dangerous?

If you start experiencing more headaches, or if your symptoms change, you need to see a doctor.  A change in headaches and related symptoms may indicate a serious - even fatal - condition.  For example, a headache could be a sign of preeclampsia, blood clots, and neurological conditions.  In most cases all you need is a slight adjustment in your treatment.  But an unreported headache could be very dangerous for you and/or your baby.  Read more here.

Can it be Treated?

There are many, many excellent treatments for headache and migraine during pregnancy.

First, your doctor will want to carefully diagnose what type of headache you have.  Is this a continuation of your migraine attacks?  Is there another condition that's making the symptoms worse or different?

Most commonly, your headaches will either be from a type of migraine or tension-type headache.  Your doctor may prescribe medication, depending on your condition and medical history.

Today more and more specialists are prescribing triptan medications for migraine during pregnancy.  For example, when it comes to triptan medications, recent studies have made harm to the baby less of a concern, however there still is some risk to the mother.  Your doctor will discuss the risks with you.

Although doctors are prescribing some medications, there are still concerns about taking certain drugs during pregnancy - even over-the-counter medication such as Advil (ibuprofen).  It's best to see a specialist, or at least your family doctor, before taking too many pills for a headache.

Many women have the impression that their choice is either drugs or some kind of inferior "natural" treatment.  Actually, natural or not, there are many drug-free treatments that are just as well studied scientifically and often just as helpful as drugs.  Lifestyle changes, biofeedback, supplements, and devices such as the SootheAway Continuous Thermal Therapy Device are only a few things that may make a huge difference.

Remember, however, that just because a treatment is "drug-free" does not mean it's safe for you.  Do take the time to discuss it with your doctor if there is any question in your mind.


There is more reason than ever to pay careful attention to your symptoms and see a doctor or specialist during pregnancy.  Any changes in symptoms should be noted.

Although there is a good chance your symptoms may improve during pregnancy, many pregnant women still struggle with headache.  The good news is that there are more good, well-researched treatments available than ever.

One more interesting note.  Many women find that they have fewer attacks even after the baby is born, even a whole year afterwards.  And the women who breastfed also tended to have fewer attacks.

For a summary of the statistics, see Migraine During and After Pregnancy

The SootheAway Continuous Thermal Therapy Device

When SootheAway first came out, it quickly caught the attention of women who were struggling with headaches during pregnancy.  But it's really an excellent treatment for anyone.

Today, SootheAway is also being used by patients with neck pain, back pain, and arthritis, as well as those with migraine.

SootheAway is an excellent investment, and it can be conveniently purchased from Amazon here:  SootheAway Reviews and Purchase Information

Say what?!   Targeted Thermal Therapy

Targeted thermal therapy is a fancy name for using heat and cold to alleviate pain and other symptoms.  SootheAway is a modern example, but for years patients have found that hot water bottles and ice packs can provide relief.  Numerous studies have been done on various cooling or heating devices, and although the exact "prescription" may vary from patient to patient (ie using cold or heat or both in various parts of the body), it's clear that targeted thermal therapy is a key treatment for migraine and other pain conditions.

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
Back to Back Issues Page