PREGNANCY HEADACHES

Pregnancy Headaches

Pregnancy Headaches

Pregnancy headaches are among the most common complaints experienced during the nine pregnancy months, being disturbing and appearing when they’re less expected. However, headaches in pregnancy can be kept under control and avoided through some simple tips and changes in the expecting mom’s lifestyle and diet.

What are Pregnancy Headaches?

Pregnancy headaches appear in pregnancy for the same reasons they appear in non-pregnant women. Generally, fatigue, stress, eyestrain, tension, dehydration, flu and cold as well as other similar conditions are the triggers for migraines in expecting moms.

However, the changing hormonal levels seem to have a significant contribution to headaches in pregnancy as well, as a pregnant woman’s organism undergoes continuous chemical changes.

Pregnancy Headaches – What Causes Them?

The surge of pregnancy hormone progesterone and estrogen is cause of headaches during pregnancy. The increasing blood volume in the future mom’s body also seems to be one of the causes of headache during pregnancy, as it triggers hypotension and this is often listed among the causes of migraine during pregnancy. Similarly, stress and anxiety caused by carrying a baby for the first time can be one of the causes of headache in pregnancy.

Other known reasons of migraines in pregnancy include the lack of sleep, insomnia being very frequent during the nine months of gestation, the low blood sugar levels that often appear in pregnant women because of the changes in insulin levels and due to the fact that body uses energy from foods in a different way than before pregnancy.

Also listed among the causes of headaches in pregnancy is caffeine withdraw, which has the same negative impact excessive intake of coffee has on the organism. While giving up coffee can trigger hypertension and favor the occurrence of headaches, drinking too much of this beverage favors dehydration, which leads to pregnancy migraines.

As the belly enlarges, the mom’s posture changes and extra pressure is exerted on the blood vessels and spine. This can affect the normal circulation of blood, resulting in hypertension and migraines in pregnancy. Skipping meals and exercising too vigorously are other two potential causes of headache in pregnancy.

Pregnancy Headaches -What You Need to Know

Certain foods and beverages consumed by expecting mothers can also be responsible for the occurrence of severe headache in pregnancy. Eating chocolate, which can increase content of sugar and sometimes caffeine, drinking alcohol, peanuts and preserved meats that are rich in salt and chemicals, sour cream, certain types of cheese as well as peanuts and bread with fresh yeast are common triggers of bad headaches in pregnancy.

Thus, the first thing one can do for preventing headache in pregnancy is to maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy and avoid the products that could cause pregnancy headaches.

Pregnancy Headaches – What Can You Do About It

Getting plenty of rest relaxing, maintaining a positive attitude towards pregnancy, exercising regularly as well as maintaining a good posture despite the increasing growth of the belly are just some of the pregnancy headache remedies

Applying warm compresses around the eyes, applying cold compresses on the chest and forehead can also help relieve tension and put an end to pregnancy headaches. Receiving relaxing massages of the neck and shoulders, spine and head can be good headache remedies during pregnancy.

Keeping an eye on blood sugar levels and blood pressure, avoiding foods and situations that could lead to hypoglycemia and hypertension is another effective way of preventing pregnancy headaches. Last, breathing exercises can help the expecting mom get rid of migraines in pregnancy and improve her general health as well as keep negative thoughts away during the gestation period.

For more information on pregnancy headaches, be sure to take your time and read our other interesting articles on Early pregnancy symptoms,Morning sickness and common pregnancy symptoms

Last reviewed on 25/01/2013

References

  • NHS – The Pregnancy Book
  • Pregnancy and birth sourcebook : basic consumer health information about pregnancy and fetal development … / edited by Amy L. Sutton. — 3rd ed. (Omnigraphics, Inc.)
  • The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth (World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.)
  • Prescribing in Pregnancy (Fourth edition) Edited by Peter Rubin and Margaret Ramsay (Blackwell Publishing)
  • Dewhurst’s Textbook Of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (Seventh Edition)Edited By D. Keith Edmonds Ramsay (Blackwell Publishing)
  • Textbook of Diabetes and Pregnancy (Second Edition) Edited by Moshe Hod MD / Lois Jovanovic MD / Gian Carlo Di Renzo MD PhD / Alberto de Leiva MD PhD / Oded Langer MD PhD  (Informa UK Ltd)
  • Management of High-Risk Pregnancy An Evidence-Based Approach (Fifth Edition) Edited By John T. Queenan / Catherine Y. Spong / Charles J. Lockwood (Blackwell Publishing)
  • WHO-2000-Managing Complications in Pregnancy Childbirth A Guide for Midwives Doctors
  • Management of Common Problems in Obstetrics and Gynecology Edited By T. Murphy Goodwin MD / Martin N. Montoro MD /  Laila I. Muderspach MD /  Richard J. Paulson MD /  Subir Roy MD (Wiley-Blackwell)
  • WHO  – Managing Complications in Pregnancy and Childbirth: A guide for midwives and doctors
  • Mood and Anxiety Disorders During Pregnancy and Postpartum Edited By Lee S. Cohen, M.D./ Ruta M. Nonacs, M.D., Ph.D.  (American Psychiatric Publishing)
  • Maternal-Fetal Nutrition during Pregnancy and Lactation  Editors  Michael E. Symonds and Margaret M. Ramsay (CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS)
  • Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies (fifth edition)  Steven G. Gabbe, MD /  Jennifer R. Niebyl, MD /  Joe Leigh Simpson, MD (MOSBY)

Web References

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