Headaches are annoying at the best of times, and truly infuriating at the worst. Throw in being pregnant and you may begin to worry that something is going wrong. The good news is that experiencing headaches during pregnancy is not an uncommon occurrence at all and can be attributed to many different causes.
There are a number of changes that your body is going through while you are expecting, and these can be a trigger for the condition. Here, we detail the possible reasons as to what causes headaches to arise when you are expecting. We will look at what is normal and what isn’t, and how to counteract these frustrating symptoms to get a bit of relief.
Are Headaches Normal During Pregnancy?
Just in the same way as some people may experience morning sickness and others may find themselves craving strange things, headaches are not always a symptom one can expect during pregnancy. So if you’re wondering, are headaches common during pregnancy, the answer is yes: they are a normal and common part of many women’s journeys towards motherhood.
Generally speaking, they are experienced more frequently by pregnant women during their first and third trimesters. That being said, they can happen at any time and it is always good to be prepared for the possible negative reactions your body may have to the changes it is going through. So keep reading to find out more about the causes, types, and what to take for headaches during pregnancy.
What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy?
As is the case with all kinds of these conditions, getting one can be dependent on a number of factors. When you have a headache during pregnancy, how far along you are can be an indicator of what the problem is.
During The First Trimester
In the first trimester, you may experience this ailment due to a surge of hormones and an increase in blood being produced by your body. Both of these changes can and often do lead to women experiencing a headache and dizziness during pregnancy. Blurred vision at this time can also be attributed to this increase in blood and hormones.
Lifestyle changes may also be the cause of your woes. As it is not recommended that a pregnant woman have any caffeine, you may begin to experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms which include constant headaches for a while after you give it up. These are perfectly normal and will get easier the more your body adapts to this lifestyle change.
Stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep can all go hand in hand when you are expecting. Preparing for a baby and dealing with body and hormone changes is no easy task so you may suffer the condition due to a lack of sleep or increased stress levels. These are normal and frequent causes for all people who experience headaches during early pregnancy stages. It is important to be aware of what your triggers have always been so you can take steps to avoid them while you are expecting.
In The Second Trimester
As we mentioned earlier, while they can occur at any time while you are expecting, bad headaches during pregnancy in the second trimester are not as common as during the first or third trimesters. This will likely be the time when your symptoms ease for a while and you have some relief if you have been suffering regularly.
Headache During Pregnancy Third Trimester
In a woman’s third trimester, her body has gone through a number of changes. Because you are now carrying the weight of both your unborn child (or children) and yourself, your posture may worsen and lead to you experiencing bad headaches throughout this period. It is therefore important to be mindful of how you hold and support yourself at all times.
Unfortunately, posture can get worse the more weight you put on. It is of course, perfectly normal and healthy to put on weight during this time. But it may be helpful to eat healthier foods if you are experiencing headaches that are related to these kinds of bodily changes. Again, think of what normally triggers the ailment, and try to avoid them.
Other Possible Causes
Here are some other reasons you may be suffering from this condition when carrying your baby:
- Fatigue related to body changes or a change in sleeping patterns
- Increased tension in the body due to the carrying of extra weight
- Dehydration as a result of vomiting and aversions to certain foods
- Increased hunger while expecting
- Allergies (you may experience a sinus headache during pregnancy as you are more susceptible to allergies and rhinitis during this time)
- Overheating of the body
- Low blood sugar
Headache Relief During Pregnancy
Fortunately, there are some simple but effective things you can do to remedy the ailment. Here are some tried and tested ways to ensure relief while you are expecting:
- One of the best headache remedies during pregnancy is to make sure to get enough sleep and to relax whenever possible. Your body needs a break from the new tension it is beginning to feel.
- Eat regularly and try to keep your diet as well-balanced as possible. Fruits and vegetables are vital in ensuring a healthy pregnant body.
- Engage in regular exercise. There are a number of exercises designed for women who are expecting. Let your trainer know you are pregnant and try things like prenatal yoga classes.
- For sinus headaches, try putting a wet, warm face cloth over your nose and eye area to alleviate the pain.
- If you are experiencing a tension headache, cold and heat packs can help. Read more about this type of condition and how to tell if you are experiencing one here.
- Avoid bright lights and stuffy, hot rooms. Try to relax in a cool, comfortable environment.
- Try prenatal massages and other massages to relieve bodily tension and target those problem areas.
Check In With Your Health Practitioner
One thing to be especially mindful of is what kinds of medication you are taking while pregnant. Be sure to ask your doctor what is ok for you to be taking – what normally works for you when it comes to relieving this condition may not be healthy for you or your baby right now.
Tylenol is considered safe for women who are expecting, but it is important that you check with your doctor on the right dosage and when to take it. Everybody reacts differently to medication during this time, so your health care practitioner will be able to advise you and ensure that you are being as safe and healthy as possible.
Migraines While You Are Expecting
Although often understood as interchangeable, migraines are a lot more painful and a lot harder to deal with than your ordinary sore head. With your health and baby being your main focus, it can be stressful when you are expecting to know that you are prone to migraines.
Unfortunately, there is no rule when it comes to migraines and constant headaches during pregnancy. Some women’s migraines get worse during their first few months, while others experience relief from what they have come to expect. During the third trimester when your estrogen begins to stabilize, these conditions may begin to decrease.
It is important to note that no matter the frequency of your migraines and headaches during this time, it is not suggested that you keep taking your usual medication. Avoid over the counter medications, and instead, opt for trying out home remedies such as thyme or rosemary oil, that won’t negatively affect your pregnancy or your comfort. We discuss some of the home remedy options for migraines further in this post relating to migraine treatments.
If you are experiencing a severe headache during pregnancy that won t go away, seek out your doctor as soon as possible. These can, of course, be attributed to a number of factors as explored in this article. However, if you feel you are in need of medical help don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or advisor – they are qualified and there to help.
Some Final Thoughts
It is important to note that frequent headaches during pregnancy are perfectly normal and are not something to become alarmed at. Also, there are some things you can do to be sure that you and your doctor are as well informed about your ailments as possible.
Try keeping a log of the foods and drinks you are consuming, as this may help you to identify triggers. Keeping a headache diary may be a good idea if you are beginning to worry about the frequency, duration, and severity of your condition. This can help your doctor to figure out exactly what kind of help you need. Working together with them is vital for a healthy, happy pregnancy.
As is the case with all kinds of recurring head pains, be sure to be informed and prepared for the triggers and their symptoms, and how they may affect your changing body. Pregnancy is an exciting time nevertheless, and being vigilant can help you to ensure that you enjoy this period of your life as much as possible.