Experiencing headaches during pregnancy is one of the most common discomforts and complaints. Headaches may occur at anytime during your pregnancy but they tend to be most common during the first and third trimesters.
An increase in headaches during the first trimester is believed to be caused by the surge of hormones along with an increase in the blood volume circulating throughout your body. These headaches tend to be tension headaches and may be further aggravated because of stress, poor posture or changes in your vision. Other causes of headaches during pregnancy may involve one or more of the following:
Women who have a tendency for migraine headaches may discover that they experience fewer migraines during pregnancy, however some women may encounter the same amount or even more. If you are pregnant, it is important to talk to your doctor about any medications that you may be taking for headaches.
Headaches during the third trimester tend to be related more to posture and tension from carrying extra weight. Headaches during the third trimester may also be caused by a condition called preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure during pregnancy.
The best way to deal with headaches is to avoid them altogether. Avoiding tension headaches is easiest when you practice good health tips:
If you are not able to prevent a headache from starting, there are still things that you can do to help them go away. During pregnancy, you want to try and relieve your headache by natural means if possible. Pain relief medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen are not recommended during pregnancy, however acetaminophen (Tylenol) is considered safe when only taken occasionally.
Before you take medication, try and relieve your headache with one or more of the following interventions:
You may also reduce the likelihood of migraine headaches by avoiding common triggers of migraine headaches. Potential triggers include:
When should you contact your physician?
Unfortunately, headaches are a normal part of pregnancy; however you should be able to experience some relief. Contact your physician if:
Reprinted with permission from American Pregnancy Association. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.