It’s not unusual to experience pregnancy headaches when you’re expecting.
The surge of hormones during pregnancy and the increase in blood volume in the body are one of the main causes.
This could be further aggravated by stress, poor posture or changes in vision.
What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy?
It’s not unusual to get tension headaches when you’re pregnant, especially in the first trimester.
If you’ve always been susceptible to tension headaches, there’s a possibility that pregnancy may only make the problem worse.
Pregnancy headaches during the first trimester as well as the third could be caused by the following:
- Wearing the incorrect bra size
- Sinus pressure
- High blood pressure
- Other health concerns
- Poor posture
Headaches late in pregnancy are not as common and could indicate a more serious problem.
Natural Pregnancy Headache Remedies
Experts estimate that about 1 in 5 women will have a migraine headache at some time in her life, and up to 16% of those women get pregnancy headaches in the form of migraines for the first time when they’re pregnant.
Headache specialists often recommend keeping a headache diary or journal to help identify specific triggers.
Write down anything you’ve eaten in the last 24 hours before the headache began and what you were doing when it started.
Here are 7 natural solutions that will help ward off your pregnancy headache or at least give you some relief.
Staying hydrated during pregnancy is extremely important, even when you are nursing.
If you are dehydrated you may experience:
- Migraines or headaches
- Preterm labor
As you can see, keeping your body well-hydrated is vital.
The American Pregnancy Association recommends that you drink 8-12 glasses of water per day, each glass being 8 ounces.
Apply Heat And Cold
Applying a hot towel to your forehead or cold towel to the back of your neck will give you instant relief from your pregnancy headache.
Another effective method is to fill a bag with flax seed or rice and heat it in the microwave or oven.
If you prefer it cold, keep the bag in the freezer.
The cold numbs the area and restricts the nerves from sending discomfort signals to the brain while the heat relaxes muscles.
It is good to alternate between the hot and cold every 10-15 minutes.
Look at booking a prenatal massage.
This type of massage will help relax the muscles in the neck, back and shoulders.
A massage will help you relax and stimulates blood flow which are both very important when carrying a baby.
Physical activity can help prevent headaches during pregnancy.
One of the best options is prenatal yoga. It teaches breathing techniques and meditation which can help reduce the intensity of your headaches.
Yoga helps you keep the correct posture throughout your pregnancy.
Improper posture leads to:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Restless sleep
Be sure to use a prenatal yoga program as not all yoga poses are safe to do while pregnant.
Choose The Correct Size Bra
This might not seem important but during pregnancy it is absolutely vital that you wear the correct bra.
As your breasts grow in size and weight, the ligaments in your chest wall which support the breasts stretch. This puts pressure on the spine and back muscles which could lead to headaches.
It is safe to purchase a maternity bra after 20 weeks. Go for a bra fitting for the best support.
Rest is one of the most important things to do during pregnancy. Make sure to get enough sleep at night, a lack of sleep can result in sore and aching muscles.
Diet plays a bigger role than most people think, make sure that you are eating organic healthy food throughout the day.
Headaches can come on suddenly if the body’s blood sugar levels plummet. An excellent solution is to eat several small meals a day instead of the traditional 3 large meals.
Headaches during pregnancy can be most unpleasant, but over the counter drugs is not the answer.
A Headache Journal
The most effective way to identify your headache triggers is to keep a migraine journal.
Keeping a journal will allow you to monitor your headaches while identifying patterns.
Once you pinpoint the cause you can take steps to prevent them.
Record the following on a daily basis.
- Every food item you eat during the day
- Where you were during the day
- Physical activity
- The time your headache started
- Specific symptoms – where is the pain, sensitivity to light or sound, how long it lasts.
- How stressed or relaxed you feel
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Medication taken
After a few weeks you can start scanning over your recordings for patterns and similarities.
By avoiding your triggers you are effectively TREATING your headaches.
Common triggers include the following:
- Smoked fish
- Chocolate and carob
- Aged cheese
- Certain beans and nuts
- Artificial sweeteners
Other triggers may include loud noises, strong odors, and tobacco smoke.
You will notice a reduction in frequency and duration until you are able to avoid them totally.
By applying the easy steps above, you will be able to enjoy a more comfortable pregnancy with less stress.
For more information on headaches, please go to Migraines & Headaches.