Headache during Pregnancy

• Many women complain of a headache when they are pregnant
• Headache is one of the common discomforts for women, especially in the first and the third trimester and could be due to stress, sinus or migraines
• Though annoying for most women this is usually not indicative of any serious medical condition
• Women who have a history of migraines and sinuses may find it difficult to manage their condition during pregnancy as they may not be able to take their usual medication

Causes of headache during pregnancy
• Increasing levels of hormones
• Added weight and the overall stress that some women experience
• Prior history or new onset of sinuses and migraines
• Sudden reduction in the caffeine intake
• Lack of sleep
• Dehydration
• Overall fatigue
• Preeclampsia (high blood pressure and protein levels)

What can you do about it?
• Ensure that you eat on time and do not skip meals
• Always keep some healthy snack with you (nuts, fruits etc.)
• Keep yourself hydrated by taking plenty of fluids
• Slow down, listen to your body and rest as often as needed
• If you are used to having coffee, reduce the quantity gradually (giving it up suddenly might trigger headache)
• Avoid places that are completely closed and stuffy, get some fresh air
• Identify and avoid places, things, food that trigger/ aggravate the headache
• Use hot/ cold packs as needed to get relief
• For sinus induced headaches, try steam inhalation
• Consult your doctor before taking any pain medication. Your doctor may be able to recommend medicines that are safe to use in pregnancy

When should you consult your doctor?
Please see your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:
• Severe headache that does not resolve
• A headache that goes from bad to worse
• Headache with swelling, blurred vision, sharp abdominal pain
• History of high blood pressure
• Fever

Summary
• Headache is one of the most common discomforts experienced by pregnant women
• In most cases, this is harmless and not indicative of anything serious
• Some of the reasons headaches can be attributed to include: increasing hormone levels, overall fatigue, lack of rest, stress etc.
• Eating well, getting adequate rest, keeping yourself hydrated etc. are some of the simple techniques to combat the headache
• Consult your doctor immediately if something feels amiss or if the headache does not resolve

Team Ovum Hospitals