Pregnancy Headaches and Your Body

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Besides a growing belly, woman who are pregnant have a higher risk of developing migraines.

These chronic pregnancy headaches are one of the most common complaints and discomforts experienced by pregnant woman.

Migraine headaches are different from stress or tension headaches. They are a type of vascular headache caused by blood vessels dilating in the brain.

There is no cure for migraines, but medication is available that can help prevent and relieve the symptoms.

Trying to fight a headache with over the counter pain medication is definitely not the answer.

There are always side-effects to these drugs, proven by the limited range of medication safe for use during pregnancy.

Pregnancy & Headaches

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Most pregnancy headaches are considered tension headaches and are described as a tight band of pain around the circumference of the head.

These headaches can be felt at the back of the neck.

A wide range of factors could trigger migraines and tension headaches during pregnancy.

Adjusting to pregnancy can be a stressful time for many women.

Therefore, headaches caused by tension are a common experience.

For more information, please read Treating Pregnancy Headaches Naturally.

What Causes Pregnancy Headaches?

There are three pregnancy trimesters, each of which is marked by a specific fetal development stage.

  • First trimester – 0 to 13 weeks
  • Second trimester – 14 to 26 weeks
  • Third trimester – 27 to 40 weeks

Headaches and migraines are most common during the first and third trimester.

pregnancy headaches pregnant woman sleeping

Headaches during the first trimester is due to a surge of hormones and an increase in blood volume circulating through the body. These headaches may be further aggravated by stress.

Estrogen is thought to play a role in migraines. Pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause often change a woman’s headache pattern.

Pregnancy headaches during the third trimester are often caused by a condition known as Preeclampsia.

Characterized by high blood pressure and large amounts of protein in the urine.

Other symptoms of Preeclampsia include vision changes, and liver/kidney abnormalities.

Factors that cause headaches during these trimesters include:

  • Surge of hormones
  • Increase in the blood volume
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood sugar
  • Dehydration
  • Stress
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sinus congestion
  • Caffeine withdrawal
  • Bad posture

It is important to remember the primary cause of pregnancy-related headaches is hormone changes.

Preventing Pregnancy Headaches

While headaches are unavoidable, there are a few steps you can take to prevent them in the future.

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These steps include:

  • Keep a food diary to keep track of food triggers
  • Always have a healthy snack on hand
  • Make sure to get enough rest
  • Avoid hot, stuffy places
  • Get enough peace and quite
  • Watch your posture
  • Exercise regularly
  • Apply hot or cold packs to your head

Self-care and a healthy lifestyle should be your first line of defense against migraine attacks.

Avoiding Triggers

Most women have a combination of triggers.

Potential triggers include:

  • Yogurt
  • Peanuts
  • Sour Cream
  • Preserved meats
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate

If you cannot avoid those head-splitting migraines, why not opt to try something alternative when it comes to treatment? Acupuncture, massage and acupressure can all be very effective when it comes to helping a headache.

During pregnancy, you should try to relieve your headache in the most natural means possible.

On the other side of the spectrum, women who have regular migraine headaches may discover that they experience fewer migraines during pregnancy.

Headaches during pregnancy are normal, with the above knowledge you may be able to find some relief.

However, if a headache has you worried, be sure not to leave it until it gets worse.

There could be an underlying problem.

For more information on preventing these, please look through Migraines & Headaches.

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