Headache is very common symptom in pregnancy, seen in up to 35% of women. In most women, headaches either go away or greatly improves by second and third trimester. However, around 10% experience worsening of symptoms.
Migraine is a type of headache in which the blood vessels dilate and cause the headache along with nausea and vomiting. Studies say that it is related to hormonal changes in pregnancy. Some women experience migraine for the first time during pregnancy. It shows varied patterns since at times it gets aggravated and some times resolved in pregnancy.
Cause for your headache in pregnancy?
Some times headache during pregnancy can be a symptom of a life-threatening condition, so one should be cautious and know the causes of it in detail.
Headache in pregnancy can be primarily (mostly) due to
- tension-type headache
- headache secondary to hormonal fluctuations in pregnancy
Others can be secondary (rarely) headache due to
- Hypercoagulability disorders
- Due to anesthesia given in labour
- Cerebral venous thrombosis(CVT)
When to seek medical attention?
Headache has a self-limited course mostly. It is very important to know the “red flag symptoms”, i.e symptoms of serious problems in pregnancy. You need to consult your doctor immediately, If your answer is yes for any of the following questions
- If it increases in severity with in few minutes of onset.
- If it worsens on changing the position of head.
- If it gets precipitated by physical activity or Coughing, laughing, straining.
- If it is accompanied by seizures.
- If there is a previous history of cancer, chronic fever, acute infections, HIV, any bleeding disorder.
- If you are already having increased BP in pregnancy.
Tips to overcome:
- Be stress free and relaxed. Share your worries with a loved one.
- If possible, practice yoga and meditation under experts’ guidance.
- Hydrate your body well.
- Ensure nutritious diet and maintain meal timings.
- Have a good nights sleep and if needed, make some lifestyle changes for this.
- Consult your doctor for pain relief medications.
- Avoid taking unnecessary medications unless and until suggested by your consulting doctor.
- Visit the doctor if you notice any dangerous signs mentioned above.
Most of all .. Be happy and remember that you will cherish these pregnancy moments for life.
-Dr.Bhavani Sagar Surampally