Headaches typically are considered as the start of most ailments; in pregnancy, they are common especially in early and late stages. Just as people differ and each pregnancy unique, headaches in pregnancy vary from persons to persons and at stages in women’s life. In some people ,they could be mild while for some they are quite severe as in migraine and may last for a very long time. Some will not resolve till after delivery. But no matter the forms they take, headaches in pregnancy are absolutely normal, mostly managed at home and often do not harm your baby. They are however taken serious if they are as a result of
pre-eclampsia, which is an emergency pregnancy condition due to rise in blood pressure. If your headaches are caused by pre-eclampsia, then emergency medical services are recommended to manage the condition and prevent it from progressing into more deadly complications.
Pre-eclampsia usually starts after 20 weeks of pregnancy and requires close monitoring and treatment to safeguard the lives of the woman and her baby in the womb.
Signs Of Pre-eclemsia
Pre-eclemsia can be diagnosed during your regular hospital visits for antenatal services. However, there are some obvious signs of it. The common signs of Pre-eclemsia according to the National Health Service (NHS) include the following;
-a severe headache that involves
blurring of vision or seeing flashing lights
- pain just below your ribs
-a sudden increase in swelling of your face, hands, feet or ankles
If you show any of these signs, quickly report to your doctors for immediate and close monitoring/treatment.
Call your maternity unit, GP or NHS 111 where such services are available; where not available, proceed to your hospital immediately.
Coping With Headaches In Pregnancy
Since pregnancy headaches is often times unavoidable, the onus is on sufferers to adopt safe methods of coping with it till delivery takes place. Oftentimes, pregnant women challenged by headaches are advised to take
Paracetamol which is the first choice of painkiller if you’re pregnant.
However, the NHS advises that “for safety, if you take paracetamol in pregnancy, take it for the shortest possible time”. This is because long intake of paracetamol has been found to have serious consequences on the foetus.
As a result of these, “you can get advice from your pharmacist, midwife or GP about how much paracetamol you can take and for how long”.
Experts caution that some painkillers should be avoided “in pregnancy – such as those containing codeine, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen – unless prescribed by your doctor”.
To safely cope with and manage pregnancy headaches, the following lifestyle habits and therapies are recommended;
-drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
-get enough sleep
– rest and relax – you could try a pregnancy yoga class, for example
-think and worry less
-avoid unnecessary shootings and reduce quarrellings
-always be positive
-pray often and partake in spiritual activities.
-exercise regularly as your body can carry you
-involve in warm baths. These help to relax your nerves
-avoid addiction to social media and TV. They increase stress level and get one agitated which can induce/worsen headaches
Foods And Habits To Avoid To Prevent, Minimize Pregnancy Headaches
Pregnant women who experience constant headache/migraine should avoid things that may trigger their condition. Healthdirect outlines things that trigger headache/migraine to include:
-monosodium glutamate (MSG)
-bright or flickering lights
-computer or movie screens
-sudden or excessive exercise
-emotional triggers such as arguments or stress
It adds that “If you do take medicine for your headache or migraine, you should check with your doctor, pharmacist or midwife first.