Migraine in Pregnancy

Experts are of the view that at least 1 in 5 women experiences a migraine headache at some time in her life, and about 16% of them experience it for the first time during the first trimester of their pregnancy. However, about two-thirds of women who already have migraines say they find some relief during pregnancy – this holds true for women who experience a migraine attack around their menstrual period.

What Does Migraine in Pregnancy Feel Like?

What usually starts as a dull ache often turns into a constant, throbbing, and pulsating pain in the temples and front of the head. A migraine attack may last anywhere between 4 and 72 hours and usually becomes worse with physical activity. You may have migraines with other symptoms as well, including vomiting, nausea, or sensitivity to noise and light.

Some migraine sufferers have migraines with symptoms such as visual changes – this is called a migraine with aura. You will also experience blind spots, sensations of numbness, pins and needles, speech disturbances, and weakness. With a migraine with aura, you usually experience these symptoms at least an hour before you actually get a migraine headache.

Is Migraine in Pregnancy Dangerous?

No, it is not dangerous and do not increase your risk of pregnancy complications. However, you need to keep in mind that your headache may well be a sign of an underlying health condition. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have migraine during pregnancywith a fever and other signs such as blurred vision. You should also seek medical attention if your headaches return frequently and stays for a few hours.

What Triggers Your Migraine in Pregnancy?

You may be able to manage your migraines better if you know about what triggers them in the first place. It is not easy though because you may get a migraine attack due to a change in nerve pathways, flow of blood in the brain, or neurochemicals. Experts are of the view that overly excited brain cells lead to the production of certain chemicals that irritate your blood vessels on the surface of your brain. You experience pain sensations when these blood vessels swell.

You may also have to deal with migraine in pregnancy due to hormonal changes. You are more likely to deal with migraines during the first three months of your pregnancy because that is when estrogen levels are at their peak. You notice some relief during the second and third trimesters when the estrogen levels stabilize a bit.

Managing Migraine in Pregnancy

You may take certain steps to make your migraine attack more manageable. You may also be able to prevent these attacks by treating any secondary causes of headaches. Taking the following steps will help manage your condition better:

1.        Learn to Relax

It is important that you learn how to relax your nerves and deal with stress during pregnancy. This will go a long way in keeping headaches at bay. You may consider learning a relaxation technique such as meditation or yoga to deal with stress.

2.        Change Your Eating Pattern

Instead of taking three large meals, you will be better off eating little and often throughout the day. This will also help you deal with early pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting. If you continue to experience morning sickness, your appetite will come down that may reduce your blood sugar levels. Lower blood sugar levels may trigger migraine in pregnancy. So, be sure to eat more often and drink plenty of fluids to avoid being dehydrated.

3.        Stay Active

Regular exercise will improve your fitness level and help reduce the severity of migraines. Exercise helps by improving breathing, regulating blood sugar levels, and promoting the release of endorphins.

4.        Try Acupuncture

You may consider trying needle acupuncture treatment because it is safe during pregnancy and often proves quite effective for migraines and morning sickness. Work with an experienced practitioner though.

5.        Try Massage

Getting a full-body massage may help release tension in the muscles of the shoulders, neck, and back. Only let a trained prenatal massage therapist give you a massage. Alternatively, you can ask your partner to lightly rub your head and back to improve blood circulation and relieve tension.

6.        Use Heat or Cold

You may consider applying heat or cold to your eyes, sides of the head, and along the back of your neck to relieve the migraine in pregnancy. You can buy cold packs and heating pads easily or can make one at home.


Along with taking abovementioned steps, you need to ensure that you take special care when taking drugs during pregnancy. Do not try prophylactic measures and avoid drugs, especially during the first trimester when they can be extremely harmful for your baby. Moreover, you should avoid using certain herbal remedies, such as feverfew, during pregnancy to avoid dealing with any pregnancy complications.

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