Pregnancy Related Information


Treating Headaches During Pregnancy


Many women experience headaches during pregnancy, especially in the first and third trimesters. Hormonal changes that affect oestrogen levels, along with an increase in blood volume and circulation. Other potential causes for headache include lack of sleep, or general fatigue, sinus congestion, allergies, eye-strain, stress, depression, hunger, and dehydration. So, many and varied!!

For most pregnant women, headaches tend to diminish or even disappear during the second trimester, when the flood of hormones stabilise and the body grows accustomed to the alterations in chemical levels. Third trimester pregnancy headaches are often related to poor posture – a result of the extra weight of carrying the baby. They may also be related to a serious rise in blood pressure, known as pre-eclampsia, which requires immediate medical attention.
Even if you’ve had headaches before, talk to your Health Care Provider about them so they can decide what kind of evaluation and treatment might be best for you during your pregnancy.
Proceed with caution when taking medication to treat headaches during pregnancy. Many headache medications may have harmful or unknown effects on a developing baby. You’re not at the mercy of your headaches, though. There’s much you can do to prevent or relieve headaches during pregnancy.

To prevent headaches during pregnancy:

  • Avoid headache triggers. Keep a diary of your meals, activities and headaches for several days to help pinpoint your headache triggers — assess whether there is a pattern showing up.
  • Include gentle exercise in your daily routine. Try a daily walk or other gentle aerobic exercise.
  • Practice relaxation! Calming activities such as deep breathing, yoga and visualisation can help keep stress headaches at bay.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This can keep your blood sugar on an even level, which may help prevent headaches.
  • Adequate Water Intake. Staying hydrated can keep you feeling your best.
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. If possible! Fatigue and lack of sleep can contribute to headaches during pregnancy. Go to bed and get up at about the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Maintain good posture. Uneven posture and muscle tension can result in headaches, especially as your body changes to support your pregnancy.
  • Get a Massage. Tight shoulder and neck muscles put pressure on the scalp, referring pain to the head and neck.

When a headache strikes:

  • Rest. Lie down in a dark, quiet room with your eyes closed.
  • Don’t go hungry or thirsty. To prevent low blood sugar (a common headache trigger), eat smaller, more frequent meals. If you’re on the go, keep some snacks (crackers, fruit, yoghurt) within reach.
  • Avoid straight sugar, like candy, which can cause your blood sugar to spike and crash.And don’t forget to drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated as well. Sip water slowly if you have a migraine and have vomited.
  • Use a compress. Apply a warm compress (such as a hot towel) to your face, eyes and temples — or try a cold compress on the back of your neck. Depending on the cause of the headache will depend whether you need heat or cooling. 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 Tight muscles can be eased with warming.
  • Try Massage. Ask someone to (gently!) massage your shoulders and neck to relieve tension, too much pressure will increase circulation and pain. Rubbing your temples also may help. Ask your prenatal Massage Therapist for tips on relieving tension in the scalp.
  • Get a Postural Assessment. Talk to your prenatal Remedial Massage Therapist about areas of tightness in your body and how this can affect your posture, therefore the painful referral points in your body.

Remember, medication isn’t necessarily off-limits during pregnancy. As with any medication, herbal or manufactured, make sure you have the OK from your health care provider first.
Once again, if these steps don’t help, talk to your Health Care Provider about them so they can decide what kind of evaluation and treatment might be best for you during your pregnancy.

Disclaimer:
In recognition of us all being individuals and each having different bodies and therefore differing health requirements, all information provided is a general recommendation only and not a Prescription. All health related information and subsequent questions must be followed up with your own physician.


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