Headaches tend to happen when you are in your early days of pregnancy. This pregnancy symptom has been associated with the increased production of pregnancy hormones a few weeks after conception. Aside from the increased production of pregnancy hormones during the first few weeks of your pregnancy, headaches can also be caused by the increased blood volume circulating in the pregnant woman’s body. The increase in blood volume is considered normal.
Aside from these causes, headaches during pregnancy can also be caused by stress and tension, especially to those who are still adjusting to a new pregnancy. In fact, this can be a stressful time for many women. Tension headaches during pregnancy is the most common type of headache. This is characterized by a squeezing pain or a steady dull ache on the back of the neck or the sides of the head. If you have experienced tension headache often, this can worsen when you become pregnant. Other potential causes of headache during pregnancy include fatigue, allergies, sinus congestion, depression, eye strain, dehydration and hunger .
Migraines, on the other hand, are also common during pregnancy. A migraine headache is characterized by a moderate to severe throbbing pain affecting mostly one side of the head. This type of headache may be aggravated by physical activity. This type can also be accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to light.
What Must be Done with this Pregnancy Symptom?
If you are experiencing headache or migraine during your pregnancy, you may consult your health care provider, so he or she can prescribe a pain medication for you. You should not take over the counter medications unless prescribed by your health care provider, as there are certain types of medications that will harm your baby.
But before running to your health care provider, you may want to consider the alternative remedies in relieving headaches during pregnancy. The first thing that you should do is to determine the cause of your headache. There are instances when eye strain is the cause of a pregnancy headache. In this case, you can have your eyes checked with an optometrist. There is a great chance that you might need to wear glasses to relieve the symptom.
If the cause of the headache is lack of sleep or fatigue, you should consider taking ample amounts of sleep and rest. You should also make sure that you eat well and you keep yourself hydrated. Avoiding crowded and noisy places can help alleviate this symptom as well.
For immediate relief, you can try easing the pain applying hot and cold compress to your head for 10 minutes. You can do this at least four times every day. Sometimes applying ice pack at the back of the neck works, too. Applying ice pack works well with tension headaches and migraines. If you currently are experiencing migraines then you should consider spending a few minutes lying in a quiet room with the lights off. However, if you are currently at work, you can try closing your eyes while placing your feet up.
If you are experiencing sinus headache, you can relieve the nasal congestion through steam inhalation. You can also try using a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your room. Applying hot and cold compress on painful sites alternately for 10 minutes can also help. It is also important that you drink plenty of fluids as this can get your mucus flowing.
How Do You Prevent Headaches during Pregnancy?
While there are some instances when headaches become unavoidable, there are several steps that you can take to prevent them in the future. Here are some ways that can help prevent headaches.
- Eat Healthy. Since low blood sugar can result from skipping meals can actually trigger headaches during pregnancy. You should always keep a healthy snack within reach to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
- Get Enough Rest. It is important that during the first and third trimesters of your pregnancy that you get enough rest, as these are the times when you will more likely feel exhausted most of the time. However, you should not oversleep, as this can make your head hurt.
- Know Your Triggers. You should keep a food diary to determine which type of foods can trigger headache during pregnancy. Some foods like cheese, chocolate, processed meat, and ice cream can actually trigger headaches. Once you know which ones trigger your headache, you can cut those foods from your diet.
- Get Some Air. You should avoid hot and stuffy places as this can trigger headaches during pregnancy. Strong odors can also trigger headaches. You should take fresh air breaks when you are working in an office.
- Seek Peace and Quiet. Since noise can actually give you a headache, you should seek peace and quiet. There are instances that you will become extra sensitive to loud noises. You should avoid loud parties so your headache will not worsen.
- Seek Alternative Options. To prevent stress from building up due to headache, you should consider taking alternative remedies for the pain. You can take prenatal yoga class or do some meditation. You should also consider doing breathing exercises to help you relax.
- Alternative Treatments. Since taking medications is not advisable during pregnancy, you should consider taking alternative treatments like prenatal massage, acupuncture and acupressure.
When Should You Contact Your Health Care Provider?
Headache during pregnancy may also be a sign of a more serious condition. If this is your first time experiencing headache, you should consider getting a full medical evaluation to make sure that there is nothing wrong.
A headache can actually be a sign of preeclampsia, which is a serious complication of pregnancy. You should consult your health care provider if you are experiencing headaches with vision changes, urine in the protein, and liver and kidney abnormalities.