How To Deal With Headaches During Pregnancy
Are headaches during pregnancy bothering you? Is it normal to have headaches during pregnancy?
Yes, it is very normal to have headaches during pregnancy and is nothing unusual, specifically in the first trimester.
One very common type of headache during pregnancy is ‘Tension – headaches’ and is usually identified with a feel like that of a squeezing pain or a steady a headache or a dull ache on both sides of the head or the back of the neck.
If you have headaches in your first trimester, you will most probably find that the headaches diminish or even disappear during the second trimester, when the flood of hormones stabilizes and your body gets accustomed to its altered chemistry.
Before we looks for ways to deal with headaches, let me first tell you about few common reasons responsible for triggering headaches:
- Your increased blood volume and circulation may also play a part, especially in early pregnancy.
- Hormonal Changes, The hormone progesterone helps to relax your uterus (womb) and blood vessels in your body, including those in your head and neck. Blood then pounds through these veins, causing you to have headaches.
- Sudden giving up on caffeine can also make your head pound.
- Lack of sleep during pregnancy is a common reason behind headaches
- Your eyesight may be affected during pregnancy due to changes in the pressure around your eyes. Eye strain can lead to pain in and around your eyes, as well as around your head.
- General fatigue
- Lack Of exercise
These are some very common reasons behind the headaches during pregnancy. In pregnancy you cannot certainly go for self medication. And before you head for any medication, try some of the tips mentioned below:
Avoid headache triggers
Keep a track of your meals, activities and headaches for several days to help you observe yourself and note down your headache trigger. Since after observing yourself, you now are well aware of your headache triggers, try your level best to avoid your headache triggers.
Rest and relaxation
Get plenty of rest and consider taking time off work.
Find time for relaxation, exercise, fresh air, and a change from your usual routine. Try gentle walking or pregnancy exercise classes.
Try to make time for naps in your day. If you’re having a migraine, try to sleep it off in a quiet, dark room
Try to have a healthy diet. Eat regularly to maintain your blood sugar levels and have small but frequent meals. Keep some snacks always handy when you are at work, such as dried apricots or almonds.
Use a compress
For a tension headache, apply a warm or cool compress to your forehead or the base of your skull. Cold compresses tend to work best for migraines.
Or place one of these over the area of your pain: A bag of frozen peas or a tea towel compress that’s been soaked in warm water or a herbal or wheat pillow, heated carefully in the microwave.
Take a shower
For some migraine sufferers, a cold shower brings some fast temporary relief. If you can’t take a shower, splash some cool water on your face. A warm shower or bath can be soothing for tension headaches.
Don’t go thirsty
And don’t forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated as well, at least eight glasses a day. Sip water slowly if you have a migraine and have vomited.
Do some Exercise
Some evidence shows that regular exercise can reduce the stress that can cause tension headaches. If you’re prone to migraines, get started slowly – a sudden burst of activity could trigger one. (And don’t exercise once a migraine has started because it will aggravate the headache.)
Doing exercises to help you maintain good posture may be especially helpful with headaches during the third trimester.
Once a headache develops, accept it and try to rest. A gentle walk in the fresh air or a nap may help.
Aromatherapy oils may help. Put two drops of peppermint or lavender oil on a tissue and breathe it in periodically. Or rub one drop of each into your temples on either side of your forehead.
However, you should use lavender oil with caution in pregnancy, particularly during your first trimester. Use no more than three drops, and only use it occasionally.
Don’t take evening primrose oil in pregnancy, as it may trigger contractions and even cause premature labor.
It is always advised or rather should I say is instructed to opt for aromatherapy measures only under a qualified therapist and do not by any means be a self therapist and chose aromatherapies according to your choice.
Reflexology may be used to treat a minor headache. Your big toes correspond with areas of your head and neck, but it’s not simply a case of massaging your big toes.
To address your headache, using the big toe which is on the same side as the pain in your head:
Imagine that the top surface of your big toe is the front of your head, and the under surface of your big toe is the back of your head. The side of your big toe nearest the next toe is the outer edge of your head and ears. The side of your big toe which sits next to your other big toe when you put your feet together represents the middle of your head.
Feel for which part of your toe corresponds with where the pain is in your head. If it is in your right temple, the reflexology point will be on the edge of your right big toe, closest to the second toe. If your headache is at the base of your skull, the reflexology point will be on the underside of your big toe in the middle, possibly on both big toes.
Press this area until you feel a very tender spot on your toe, then press as firmly as you can cope with until it stops hurting. You may have to ask someone to do this for you. Repeat four or five times until your headache reduces.
Consider regular massage, aromatherapy or reflexology by a registered complementary therapist. This may help to reduce how painful your headaches and migraines are, as well as how often you get them.
Make sure the position of your chair, computer screen or a car seat always enables you to have a good posture. Check that your pillows aren’t too high, as this may cause a crick in your neck which triggers pain. If your mattress is over seven years old, it may be affecting your back without you feeling it. The pain will then transfer to your head and neck.
Acupuncture or shiatsu may ease your headaches. Ear acupuncture has also been found to be effective for migraines. You’ll probably need to have a course of treatment to rebalance your internal energies. This may relieve the tension in the specific areas of your head where the pain develops.
Can Headache be a alarming sign of something more serious?
Most headaches during pregnancy are unpleasant but harmless, but a headache can be a sign of a more serious problem.
- You’re in your second or third trimester and have a bad headache or a headache for the first time, which may or may not be accompanied by visual changes, sharp upper abdominal pain or nausea, sudden weight gain, or swelling in your hands or face. You’ll need to have your blood pressure and urine checked right away to be sure you don’t have preeclampsia. (If you’ve been having any problems with high or rising blood pressure, call if you have only a mild headache.)
- You have a sudden “explosive” headache, violent pain that awakens you from sleep, a headache that doesn’t go away, or one that feels unlike any you’ve ever experienced.
- Your headache is accompanied by a fever and a stiff neck.
- Your headache is getting worse and you experience any other problems such as blurry vision or other visual disturbances, slurred speech, drowsiness, numbness, or a change in normal sensation or alertness.
- You have a headache after falling and hitting your head (or any other kind of head injury).
- You have nasal congestion, as well as pain and pressure underneath your eyes or other facial or even dental pain. You might have a sinus infection that will need to be treated with antibiotics.
Even if you’ve had headaches before, talk to your healthcare provider about them so you can decide what kind of evaluation and treatment might be best for you during your pregnancy.
If you feel like your eyes are straining and notice that you get headaches after reading or looking at a computer screen, have your vision checked by an eye doctor.
Finally, don’t think twice to call your practitioner whenever a headache worries you.