Many women may be surprised why they suddenly get more headaches during pregnancy. Headaches are common during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. During the first trimester, fluctuating estrogen levels, and changes in the blood volume may trigger headaches in pregnant women. As a woman’s body gets used to these changes, headaches may temporarily disappear during the second trimester. A woman may again experience headaches during the last trimester, which may be due to postural changes due to pregnancy.
Headaches during pregnancy may also be due to stress, fatigue, hunger, dehydration, lack of sleep or allergies. Some pregnant women may also get headaches due to caffeine withdrawal. This usually happens when a woman suddenly stops taking caffeinated drinks upon learning about her pregnancy.
If you never had migraines before you got pregnant, or if you notice that your headache is different from the common headaches you experienced before, consult your doctor. This is necessary so that other causes maybe ruled out. Do not safely assume that headaches are expected during pregnancy because it may already be a sign of something more serious.
During the second trimester, headaches may already be caused by pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) or preeclampsia. This is a serious condition in which a pregnant woman may have high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine. You need to contact your doctor if you experience recurring headaches, or if your headaches are accompanied by vision changes. Headaches that are severe in intensity, as well as those that are accompanied by nausea and vomiting also warrant a consultation.
It is also vital that you do not take any headache medication, without the approval of your health care provider. Migraine medications like Aspirin and Ibuprofen are not safe for pregnant women. Likewise, some herbal remedies like feverfew and butterbur should be avoided during pregnancy. Feverfew can cause uterine contractions, and it may put a woman at risk for miscarriage, or premature delivery. Butterbur on the other hand contains highly toxic alkaloids, which are not at all safe especially for pregnant women.
With limited treatment options during pregnancy, you may take measures to prevent headaches from occurring. Try to do relaxation exercises, so you can effectively handle stress. Allow yourself to enjoy your pregnancy, and do not worry too much of things ahead. Make sure that you get enough sleep, and plenty of rest periods throughout the day. Ask your doctor for safe exercises that you can do, and set aside a time for regular physical activity. It is also essential that you maintain good posture, especially towards the last trimester of your pregnancy.
Make sure that you do not go on long intervals without food. Try to eat smaller meals at regular intervals, so you can prevent your blood sugar to drop. It may also help if you keep track of food items and activities, which may have triggered your headaches. If you can identify these triggers, then you can avoid these altogether.
Pregnancy is definitely a time when women get to experience numerous changes in their bodies. While many of these changes are expected, it is still important that you keep your appointments, and that you remain vigilant of any unusual symptoms that you may feel. After all, pregnancy has given you a chance to nurture a life, and it is only proper that you ensure a healthy start for your unborn child.