One of the consistent things you can expect during pregnancy is aches and pains. Pregnancy dramatically changes your body chemistry and your body shape – to say nothing of the fact that there is an entirely separate human being growing inside your uterus! Aches and pains should simply be expected.
However, some aches and pains are difficult to bear, and some go beyond what’s considered normal. That’s often the case with migraines during pregnancy. In fact, some women actually have their first migraine during pregnancy.
Why this is isn’t entirely sure. Some experts suggest that the changing hormone levels in a woman’s body can be responsible for migraines.
There is a silver lining, however; about 50% of women who experience migraines indicate that they tend to slow down or disappear altogether during the third trimester. As your pregnancy goes on, you should have fewer and fewer migraines to deal with.
In addition, there is no evidence to suggest that a mother having migraines during pregnancy poses any potential risk to the growing baby.
What is a migraine?
A migraine, simply put, is an incapacitating headache that is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, or sensitivity to sound. These are different from cluster headaches or from tension headaches.
- Certain types of events and health conditions can trigger a migraine headache, including:
- stress or other high emotional experiences
- biological factors
- environmental factors
- fatigue and extreme tiredness
- flickering lights, or glaring bright lights
- changes in the air pressure due to weather
- certain types foods
It can be difficult to treat your migraine headache during pregnancy. Some pain relievers may prove to be dangerous for your growing baby. In many cases, your doctor may allow you to take acetaminophen after the first trimester, while ibuprofen is generally advised against during pregnancy at all.
There are non-medical tactics you can use to try to alleviate a migraine, including cold packs, reducing caffeine intake, darkening lights, and even stress relief.
If you have severe migraines during pregnancy, talk to your doctor about what kinds of treatments might be best for you.