Headaches in pregnancy

Headaches in pregnancy

Headaches in pregnancy are very common. Many pregnant women face headaches in their early pregnancy. As your pregnancy goes on, the headaches usually improve. They don’t harm your baby, but they can make you uncomfortable. A headache may sometimes be a sign of pre-eclampsia, which may lead to severe complications if it is not examined and treated. 

Pre-eclampsia generally begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy. 

When to inform a healthcare expert?

You may inform or call your maternity unit or healthcare expert if you have-

  • Vomiting
  • A severe headache
  • Issues with vision, such as seeing or blurring flashing lights
  • Pain just below your ribs
  • A sudden increase in swelling of your hands, face, ankles, or feet

Did you know?

  • Tension headaches are a condition that can be treated with OTC drugs like ibuprofen and paracetamol. 
  • Acupuncture can be helpful in treating headache pain, but its benefits can be due to nonspecific effects. 
  • Butterbur may also help lower the frequency of migraines, but there are a few major concerns about liver toxicity. 
  • Evidence for the usefulness of relaxation techniques in treating tension headaches is inconsistent.

Causes of headaches in pregnancy

There are various reasons why pregnant ladies get headaches in pregnancy. By understanding the major cause of your headache, you may find a suitable way to deal with it. A few essential causes are discussed here-


It is one of the major causes of headaches, not only during pregnancy but also all year around.

You should be sure to consume lots of water to hydrate yourself properly. Try to drink plenty of fluids [minimum of eight glasses of water daily]. 

Hormonal changes

Change in hormone levels, mainly progesterone and estrogen, during pregnancy is a known reason for headaches. Changes in blood circulation because of the increased blood volume during pregnancy may also cause headaches. 

Low blood sugar

Eating unhealthy foods or skipping meals may result in low blood sugar. This low sugar level may cause headaches. Following a proper diet plan and consuming regular meals with nutritious snacks in between them can be beneficial. 

Insufficient sleep

Poor sleep quality or sleeping off and on may lead to headaches. You should ensure you have a set proper bedtime schedule and get 7-9 hours of sound sleep every night. 

Caffeine withdrawal

Reducing your caffeine intake while pregnant may induce withdrawal symptoms, which may include headaches. You have to be sure to talk with your healthcare expert about having a secure level of caffeine during pregnancy. 

Stress and anxiety

Personal anxiety and stress may trigger headaches. Following relaxation methods such as prenatal yoga, deep breathing, and meditation may help manage stress and anxiety levels during pregnancy. 

Tips to reduce pregnancy headaches

You may reduce the chance of getting headaches during pregnancy by following these tips-

Recognizing triggers

You should find and avoid particular activities, foods, or situations that can bring on headaches during pregnancy. It can be helpful to keep a record of your headaches to find likely patterns and triggers. 

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle

You must develop a habit of doing daily workouts, taking balanced means, and hydrating yourself properly. As mentioned, sleep is the major factor of headaches during pregnancy. You should set a proper sleeping schedule. 

Warm or cold compress

Putting a warm or cold compress on your neck or head may provide you relief from headaches during pregnancy. You may try out both warm or cold compresses and decide which one is suitable for you. 

Other habits that you follow if you suffer from headaches during pregnancy

If you suffer from headaches, you should try to avoid things that can trigger headaches for you. People have various triggers for headaches, so it’s vital to learn what your personal triggers are. You may keep a headache journal and see if your triggers include-

  • Particular food items like chocolate or food additives such as MSG 
  • Flickering or bright lights, loud sounds, and strong smells
  • Movie screens or computer

If any of these items/habits are the cause of your headache, cut them off from your daily lives. 

Special note

By following the above-mentioned tips, you may lower your discomfort and headaches during pregnancy. If you are about to take medication to treat headaches, ensure that you buy it under the guidance of an experienced healthcare expert. They may suggest you the proper medicine after examining your condition closely. 

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