Headache in pregnancy: causes and remedies

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Marie-Ange Demory
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Headache in pregnancy

Il headache in pregnancy it is less frequent: usually, as explained by Giovanni Battista Allais, head of the Women's Headache Center and the Acupuncture Service in gynecology and obstetrics at the S. Anna hospital in Turin, "pregnancy represents a happy period for women suffering from migraines" .





"Statistics in hand, the situation improves for 65-70% of women, to the point of being completely resolved in numerous cases. estrogen: while their monthly fluctuations in other periods of life can trigger migraine attacks, during pregnancy the high and above all stable levels of estrogen help to keep it at bay.

Another element in favor is the production of large quantities of endorphins endogenous, which, like a natural analgesic, lead us to better tolerate pain. Lastly, the condition of pregnancy creates greater muscle relaxation, which leads to less muscle tension in the head and neck ". 

But what to do if, on the other hand, there is a worsening of the headache?

In this article

  • Treatment of migraine in pregnancy
  • Migraine medications allowed in pregnancy
  • Non-drug therapies

Treatment of migraine in pregnancy

There is 30% of women who continue to suffer from it even in the months of waiting. "It is mainly women who have the so-called migraine with aura, in which the acute attack is preceded by flashes of light, tingling, vertigo "explains Allais. In this case, here are the best strategies to combat it.



  • Get some rest. When you have a headache attack, rest, lie down and especially in the dark, trying to relax. Also try putting ice on your forehead.
  • Name stress. Try to lead a life with less pressing rhythms: stress and fatigue are the main enemies of those suffering from headaches.
  • Watch out for food triggers. There are some foods that, in predisposed people, can trigger acute episodes: if you get a headache when you eat chocolate, aged cheeses, crustaceans, nuts, bananas, avoid them!
  • Yes to a double coffee. In many cases it works: in fact, caffeine has a vasoconstrictive action that calms the pain. Ok even in pregnancy, just don't abuse it at other times of the day.

Migraine medications allowed in pregnancy

Can I take headache medications during pregnancy?



The safest in pregnancy is the paracetamol, preferably combined with caffeine, which increases its analgesic effectiveness.

If you are in the second trimester, a great pain reliever isibuprofen: like all NSAIDs, the intake must be avoided as a precaution in the first trimester, but above all it is forbidden to use in the third trimester because it can interfere with fetal circulation, while at the end of gestation it can inhibit the synthesis of prostaglandins, slowing down the delivery times. 

NB. Always ask your gynecologist before taking any over-the-counter medication.

If migraines occur frequently, it is good to consult a specialist, who could evaluate the need for drug therapy with beta-blockers.

Read also: Paracetamol in pregnancy

Non-drug therapies

  • The biofeedback. It is a relaxation technique carried out in some Headache Centers with the aid of a device that records muscle activity in the painful points of the head and highlights, through a light or acoustic signal, if the muscle contraction exceeds a certain limit. In this way the woman, helped by the operator, learns to distinguish when she is tense and when she is relaxed and how to relax. To know the addresses of the Headache Centers scattered throughout the country, you can consult the website: Anircef.

  • Acupuncture. Effective and harmless even during pregnancy, it is useful for preventing and treating migraines, even if associated with nausea and vomiting. A treatment cycle lasts about 10-12 weeks, with sessions that are carried out initially on a bi-weekly basis, then on a weekly basis.

To be sure to rely on expert hands, on the Acupuncture-fisa website you can find the region by region list of doctors specialized in this technique.

TAG:
  • headache
  • pregnancy acupuncture
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