What A Pain In The Head!

With pregnancy comes much excitement, joy and... headaches! Cope with the pain without resorting to medication.

Woman with headache

What causes pregnancy headaches?

The cruel joke during pregnancy is that you have all these weird new unexpected pains and are advised against taking medication to ease the discomfort! No fair!

So why are you getting these pains in the head, anyway? As you probably guessed, a surge in hormones, as well as an increase in blood volume in the body, can be blamed for those intense first-trimester headaches. In addition, according to the American Pregnancy Association, lack of sleep, stress, caffeine withdrawal, dehydration and low blood sugar can cause headaches during pregnancy.

Drink up

No, you shouldn't be heading to your local pub... we mean drink more water! If you get sick of plain old H2O, squeeze in some lemon or orange slices or drop in a few maraschino cherries and a little juice into your glass. You can also count sparkling water and decaf tea towards your water intake. Try to cut back on soda and coffee, even the decaf kinds, if you are experiencing headaches due to dehydration.

Get pampered

A neck and shoulder massage can alleviate headaches related to tension. A cold compress applied at the base of the neck can also relieve a tension headache.

Prevention

Of course it's much better to try to avoid getting a headache than to deal with trying to alleviate one. To stave off pregnancy headaches:

  • Get plenty of rest. Even if your sleep is interrupted at night, try to make up for the loss during the day with a few short power naps.
  • Exercise regularly, so long as your doctor approves it
  • Focus on maintaining good posture, which is especially important during the third trimester when you are carrying the most weight
  • Eat nutritious, well-balanced meals and avoid trigger foods like chocolate and alcohol.

See your doc

If intense headaches persist, talk to your doctor. The pain, especially in the third trimester, can be a sign of preeclampsia.

More on pregnancy pains

Warning signs: Pregnancy symptoms you can't ignore
Are pregnancy leg cramps keeping you up at night?
Deal with pregnancy heartburn

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