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Headache during pregnancy

Headache during pregnancy


The waiting period for a baby is a great time, but, unfortunately, it is often complicated by the appearance of various uncomfortable conditions, one of which is a headache. There is nothing unusual in the headache itself – after all, most people periodically experience this unpleasant symptom even without expecting a child.

During pregnancy, a headache can signify dangerous complications that require immediate medical attention.

Headache in early pregnancy

Almost every future mother would have a headache in the early stages, especially if she was often disturbed by this symptom even before pregnancy.

The reason is most often large-scale hormonal changes in the body. In addition to headaches, expectant mothers often complain of increased drowsiness and fatigue, rapid mood swings, and impaired memory and attention.

Of course, all these ailments should be reported to your gynecologist during an in-person appointment. He will conduct a simple examination (check blood pressure, body temperature, and pulse rate), and if the results are satisfactory, he will prescribe a simple treatment.

Headache in early pregnancy
Headache in early pregnancy

Revision of the entire lifestyle will help prevent headaches and other unpleasant sensations.

  • Optimization of the diet (do not allow overeating, but do not take long breaks between meals). 4 meals a day are required, with a mandatory full breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. If necessary, the diet can be supplemented with fruit and milk snacks. Clean drinking water should always be available.
  • Compliance with an adequate regime of work and rest. Talking to management about switching to lighter work and changing work schedules may be necessary. A continuous 9-10 hour sleep is vital for a pregnant woman. If necessary, you should also allow yourself a short day’s rest.
  • Regularly permitted physical activity. It is better if these are outdoor exercises or long walks.

If despite the revision of the daily routine, headaches continue to bother the expectant mother, you can use the approved medicines recommended by the observing gynecologist.

The following drugs are allowed:

  • Paracetamol has an anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic effect. It is recommended in cases where the headache is caused by subfebrile fever against the background of a tolerated SARS, fatigue, lack of sleep, and changing weather conditions. Allowed in the minimum effective dosages, starting from the first weeks of pregnancy.
  • Ibuprofen: has a more pronounced and longer-lasting effect than paracetamol. Helps with all types of pain. It is allowed for single use at any gestational age in the minimum effective dosages. However, in the first and third trimesters, it is strongly recommended to dispense with other drugs if possible.
  • Drotaverine (antispasmodic): eliminates spasms of smooth muscles, slightly dilates blood vessels, and has a weak antihypertensive (lowers blood pressure) effect. Good for tension headaches.

If headaches recur frequently, the doctor may prescribe a biochemical blood test and, based on its results, recommend a course of magnesium preparations. Its consumption is increased during pregnancy, so there is often a deficiency of the element.

Significantly more dangerous headaches in late pregnancy, especially if they are combined with swelling and excessive weight gain.

Why does the head hurt in women in the second trimester?

When pregnancy reaches the 2nd trimester, the well-being of the expectant mother stabilizes – the manifestation of toxicosis recedes, pressure normalizes, and mood improves. If the bearing of a child proceeds without pathologies, many expectant mothers note that this time becomes the most perfect for them in anticipation of a baby.

As a rule, a headache during the pregnancy 2nd trimester can occur due to the following:

  • Experiences.
  • Colds.
  • Stresses that are associated with professional duties.
  • Prolonged stay in a certain static position.
  • long stay in a fairly stuffy room.
  • uncomfortable posture during rest, sleep.

In most cases, pain can be managed without the use of medication. To remedy the situation, you must adhere to some simple rules – regularly ventilate the room, systematically do a light workout, choose a good mattress and pillow for a comfortable sleep. If these methods do not help, we recommend that you contact a gynecologist who will select a safe and effective medicine to combat such an unpleasant condition.

Headaches in late pregnancy

Headaches, swelling and excessive weight gain together or separately can be manifestations of such a formidable pregnancy complication as late gestosis (late toxicosis or toxicosis of the second half).

The disease can make itself felt already at 16-20 weeks, but in most patients, it is diagnosed later – at about 24-6 weeks.

The most likely cause of late preeclampsia is a somewhat superficial attachment of the placenta to the uterus wall, which disrupts microcirculation (blood supply in small vessels).

Headaches in late pregnancy
Headaches in late pregnancy

This leads to a series of pathological processes that can lead to life-threatening conditions:

  • Persistent vascular spasm develops.
  • Due to spasms, the vascular wall becomes more permeable.
  • The proteins leave the bloodstream into the tissues through the vascular wall, pulling the liquid along with them.
  • Persistent swelling occurs.
  • The volume of circulating blood decreases.
  • The body increases blood pressure to compensate for the lack of fluid in the bloodstream.
  • Headaches develop, which are not relieved by taking painkillers. It is logical: the reason for their occurrence is completely different.

The rise in blood pressure in the patient in the second half of pregnancy above 140/90 mm Hg is always regarded as a hypertensive state. In this situation, urgent medical attention is needed, even if the woman feels well.

If a headache attack is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms, you can suspect the most formidable complication of pregnancy – preeclampsia:

  • Clouding in the eyes (“feeling of a veil”), blurred vision, flies flickering before the eyes.
  • Loss of consciousness, even short-term.
  • Numbness of the limbs.
  • Nausea and even single vomiting.
  • Pain in the epigastrium and in the right iliac region.
  • Persistence of pain for more than 40 minutes despite using painkillers and antihypertensive (lowering blood pressure) drugs.

All these symptoms indicate a developing disorder of the blood supply to the brain. Suppose appropriate measures are not taken in the shortest possible time. In that case, preeclampsia will inevitably pass into the next stage – eclampsia- and it already requires intensive care and emergency delivery treatment.

IMPORTANT: If the pregnant woman herself or someone close to her suspect’s preeclampsia, you need to urgently call an ambulance and go to the hospital so as not to endanger the life of both the mother and the child.

Headache treatment for high blood pressure

It is desirable that at home, a pregnant woman has access to a device for measuring blood pressure. It is its presence that can allow timely detection of the problem and gain time for treatment.

Blood pressure is measured twice a day in a calm, relaxed state in a sitting or lying position: in the morning immediately after waking up and in the evening before bedtime.

The detection of at least twice the numbers above 140/90, even in the absence of headaches (especially in patients with usually low blood pressure), is a reason for an urgent extraordinary visit to the gynecologist.

Usually, such patients are recommended hospitalization in the antenatal unit. There, depending on the severity of the condition, the following groups of drugs are prescribed:

  • Drugs to lower blood pressure (the woman will take them home on her own until birth).
  • Antispasmodics.
  • Sedatives.
  • Drugs to improve microcirculation and prevent thrombosis.
  • if necessary, diuretics.

For patients with late preeclampsia, left on home treatment, it is important to comply with the therapeutic and protective regimen. Such women are recognized as disabled – they receive sick leave. At home, they should rest more, get enough sleep, eat food rich in easily digestible protein, not limit themselves to clean drinking water, but moderately limit their salt intake. Leisurely walks in the fresh air are allowed. More active exercises (yoga, swimming, physical housework, shopping, etc.) are banned.

The most important thing is to avoid stressful situations because they always provoke a rise in blood pressure and, accordingly, a sharp deterioration in the patient’s condition. The expectant mother should experience only smooth, positive emotions.

What are the main reasons your head may hurt while carrying a baby?

Pregnancy is a rather difficult period in the life of every woman who decides to become a mother. As a rule, the female body faces significant physical, psychological and emotional stress at this time. Therefore, there can be many reasons for the appearance of headaches. In most cases, this unpleasant feeling appears due to tension, migraine, toxicosis, and a long stay in an uncomfortable static position.
In addition, pain may manifest as a chronic disease that did not manifest before pregnancy. To properly combat this disease, you must accurately determine the cause of the pain syndrome.

In what situations may you need urgent medical attention for headaches during pregnancy?

As a rule, a migraine attack in a pregnant woman is not a symptom of a serious pathology or anomaly. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that pain syndrome can also indicate serious violations in some situations, which will not be easy to get rid of without qualified help.

Many signs should alert a pregnant woman or her relatives. These include:

  • Vomiting.
  • Severe nausea.
  • Puffiness.
  • Severe pain syndrome that is not stopped by drugs approved for use during the gestational period.
  • Elevated body temperature.
  • Stiffness of a woman’s movements.
  • Confusion.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Speech problems.

Such symptoms are a reason for urgent medical attention. Tell the doctor the clinical picture and follow the specialist’s instructions.

How to get rid of a headache without taking medication?

Many women planning a pregnancy deliberately refuse to use any medications. This is done in order not to harm the body of the baby. But the appearance of headaches can make some adjustments to a woman’s decision. If you decide to stick to your principle, we recommend that you pay attention to the following:

  • Long walks in the fresh air (park, forest, near water bodies).
  • A variety of relaxation techniques – yoga and meditation will help not only normalize well-being but also prevent a large number of different problems with the musculoskeletal system.
  • Compresses on the neck, back of the head and forehead – warm and cold variations help to effectively relax, relieve pain and relieve tension.
  • Warm shower – helps to relieve tension in the body, as well as expand spasmodic vessels, which has a positive effect on well-being.
  • Drinking plenty of water – even one glass of plain water can alleviate the condition of a pregnant woman.

In addition to these options, experts recommend sweets in moderation and simple pleasures and positive emotions. Such amenities can be a great alternative to drugs and an effective way to prevent pain in the future. Properly balanced nutrition, abundant drinking and wonderful emotions are the keys to a good mood and excellent health for the expectant mother, no matter what stage of pregnancy she is.