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Headaches during pregnancy: what helps against them

Headaches during pregnancy: What helps against it

In this article you will learn the following

Headache in of pregnancy are annoying, but not uncommon.

Especially in the first three months. Many women are unsure and don't know which medications they can safely take.

So what to do if your head hurts during pregnancy?

Trigger and help with headaches during pregnancy

There are many reasons for headaches during pregnancy, and pregnancy is not always the cause.

If you used to suffer from headaches on a regular basis, this can also happen during pregnancy – Migraines, tension or cluster headaches, everything is possible.

First of all, it makes sense to get to the bottom of the cause of headaches during pregnancy. Of course, it would be best if headaches did not occur in the first place during pregnancy. So it is better to prevent and avoid what is not good for you!

And if it does happen, the annoying headaches of pregnancy can be alleviated with simple measures and without medication. Basically, a lot of rest, drinking a lot, sleep and fresh air help!

Not all of the tips listed for headaches during pregnancy have been sufficiently scientifically proven, but they can have a preventive or pain-relieving effect from case to case .

Headaches during pregnancy: change your lifestyle

The body has to do a lot during pregnancy. A little more consideration is therefore quite appropriate. It goes without saying that partying all night and working until you drop are not a good idea during pregnancy.

But even those who eat unhealthily, drink little, are hardly out in the fresh air, rarely exercise and If you don't give your body any rest or time to relax, you shouldn't be surprised if you have a headache during pregnancy.

That helps:

  • Sufficient liquid: The body volume increases, the blood volume increases, so pregnant women should drink 2 to 2.5 liters a day – Water, tea or a spritzer are ideal!
  • Fresh, healthy and low-fat foods should characterize the diet during pregnancy: An apple and yoghurt in between.
  • Sports such as strength training, yoga, swimming or cycling are good for the circulation and clear your head.
  • Exercise in the fresh air brings oxygen in each cell
  • Plan daily breaks, including at work, for example in the form of a short walk during your lunch break.
  • Sufficient sleep and a balanced sleep-wake cycle

Headaches during pregnancy: toxins

Smoking harms the unborn child!

Pregnant women should therefore absolutely avoid cigarettes. Especially if the daily nicotine dose was high, smoking cessation can be accompanied by withdrawal symptoms and sometimes headaches.

This also applies to alcohol and caffeine during pregnancy. Pregnant women who have only gotten through the day with a lot of coffee and reduce the amount or do without it completely also often react with a headache.

During pregnancy, most women find it fairly easy to refrain from smoking, alcohol, or other vices. It is enough to keep an eye on the health of the child. Headaches caused by withdrawal during pregnancy usually disappear after about a week without toxins.

This can help:

  • Lots of fluids and exercise in the fresh air!
  • Create new rituals that replace the usual reach for a cigarette or coffee: chewing gum or kneading a stress ball.
  • Caffeine: switch gently with a little coffee plus a lot of milk, with decaffeinated coffee or tea< /li>
  • Cigarettes: it is better to give up completely immediately instead of reducing the amount of cigarettes on a daily basis; Nicotine replacement products are only an option for heavy smokers and only after consulting a doctor; E-cigarettes are not an alternative due to the unknown ingredients!
  • Alcohol & Nicotine: behavioral therapy or an online program can help with withdrawal

Headaches during pregnancy: stress & Fears

The upcoming new life situation can sometimes lead to increased tension and pressure.

Perhaps the desire to have children was not planned at all, in which case a pregnancy will definitely upset your usual life.

But other areas such as partnership, job or apartment have to be reorganized. There may also be concerns about whether the child will be healthy. All of this can be stressful, exhausting and draining. Tense shoulders, a stiff neck or grinding your teeth are not uncommon and usually lead to the same result: a pounding headache during pregnancy!

This can help:

  • Talking a lot: conversations with your partner or in the work environment, the pressure is mostly self-inflicted!
  • Support with money worries: low-income families can apply for a financial subsidy in various areas (housing benefit, childcare, initial equipment).
  • < li>Apartment hunting & Moving: Perhaps a study or an area in the bedroom can be redesigned. Closeness and security for the newborn after birth are much more important than a room of their own.

  • Relaxation exercises: meditation, muscle relaxation, autogenic training, biofeedback.
  • Massage, physiotherapy, acupuncture, acupressure< /li>
  • Essential oils, e.g. g. peppermint for rubbing in or as a tea
  • Heat relaxes: heating pad, hot water bottle, a warm foot bath or a full bath with lavender oil

Headaches during pregnancy: the hormones

The hormonal changes during pregnancy hardly ever leave a woman unscathed. The change is particularly serious at the beginning and can cause headaches, especially in the first three months. There is nothing you can do about it.

One bright spot, however, is that most women experience a comfortable, pain-free period after this initial period. Because the hormone level also has a positive effect: around 70 percent of women who were previously regularly plagued by migraines notice fewer and, above all, weaker attacks during pregnancy.

The fact that migraines improve during pregnancy is due to the relaxing effect of estrogen. Unfortunately, the hormones drop off quickly after the birth and the migraines often return.

Severe headaches during pregnancy: a warning sign

In addition to more or less harmless triggers, headaches during pregnancy can be an indication of a pregnancy-related illness that must be clarified by a doctor.

Especially in the case of sudden, severe headaches during pregnancy and if dizziness and nausea are added , the warning signs should be taken seriously.

The most common trigger for worryingly severe headaches during pregnancy can be high blood pressure (hypertension). Hypertension usually increases after the 20th week of pregnancy and is accompanied by water retention (edema) and protein in the urine (proteinuria).

Without medical treatment, the consequences of this so-called preeclamia can become life-threatening. The mother can experience placenta detachment, coagulation disorders and, in the worst case, cerebral hemorrhage. The fetus is at risk of delayed growth, amniotic fluid damage, or miscarriage. Without medical intervention, the mother is eventually threatened with so-called eclampsia with seizures and coma.

Another possible and dangerous cause of severe headaches during pregnancy is sinus vein thrombosis, which is favored by hormonal changes. In this case, a blood clot (thrombus) forms in the venous system of the brain.

Be careful if you suddenly have an unusually severe and long-lasting headache during pregnancy – a doctor's visit is then necessary immediately!

Medication against headaches during pregnancy

A serious pregnancy disease is excluded? Simple preventive measures, such as less stress and a healthy lifestyle, do not prevent the pain and home remedies such as heat or lavender oil do not bring any relief?

Then pregnant women don't need to be unnecessarily brave! Sometimes it is even important to combat headaches during pregnancy quickly and effectively to protect both mother and child. For example, if the headache is accompanied by severe vomiting, the body loses a lot of fluid and there is a risk of dehydration.

Simply reaching for the usual painkillers in the medicine cabinet is not advisable when you are pregnant. Depending on the drug and how far along the pregnancy is, painkillers can affect the development of the baby. There are also medications that pregnant women should not take under any circumstances. These include the so-called triptans. They have a vasoconstrictive effect and harm the baby's physical development.

Many pregnant women are confused: which tablet should I swallow when, in what dose and for how long?

It's in It is indeed somewhat complicated and since the health of mother and child is at stake, a doctor should definitely be consulted at short notice if you have headaches during pregnancy. The rule of thumb for headache remedies during pregnancy is: as much as necessary, but as little as possible.

The preferred painkiller during pregnancy, i.e. the drug of first choice, is paracetamol.

Studies have not shown an increased risk of malformations or complications. Nevertheless, pregnancy must also be taken into account in terms of dose and duration of use, and consultation with the doctor is required.

Ibuprofen is one of the so-called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and is permitted in low doses and occasionally in the first and second trimester. Here, too, it is advisable to consult your doctor. From the 28th week of pregnancy, ibuprofen and other NSAIDs, such as e.g. B. diclofenac, affect the circulatory and renal function of the fetus.

In the third and last trimester, they are therefore unsuitable for headaches during pregnancy. Another NRSA, naproxen, is suspected of promoting birth defects. Cleft palate has been observed after taking this drug. Ibuprofen is therefore more suitable for headaches during pregnancy.

Aspirin® is the most popular painkiller. However, the active ingredient acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) it contains is not the best remedy for headaches during pregnancy because of its blood-thinning effect.

In the 1st and 2nd trimester, ASA should only be taken in small doses and only after consulting a doctor. In the 3rd trimester it is definitely not allowed. Its blood-thinning effect can have a negative effect on mother and child and on the forthcoming birth: delayed labour, increased blood loss by the mother, cerebral hemorrhage or too little blood in the child are possible complications.

Medication for migraines during pregnancy< /h2>

For women with migraines during pregnancy, medical advice is even more important. Even medication that those affected can take prophylactically against migraines is not necessarily harmless.

There are no concerns about taking magnesium prophylactically during pregnancy. However, this does not apply to all medications: Sometimes the data is not clear (topiramate) or there are clear risks for the pregnancy and the physical development of the baby (valproate).

But women with migraines need not despair. With an experienced doctor at your side, there are good treatment options here too. In principle, migraine patients do not have an increased risk of complications during pregnancy.