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Headaches During Pregnancy

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 16 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Headaches During Pregnancy

Many women experience headaches during pregnancy particularly in their first and second trimesters. These headaches can be short or lingering, pounding or throbbing, sudden or expected. Regardless of the type, rarely does a pregnancy headache signal a complication with the pregnancy. However, severe headaches during the third trimester – particularly if they are so painful that they cause blurred vision – should be reported to your doctor immediately.

Treating headaches during pregnancy can be tricky as most pregnant women will want to avoid taking pain relieving medications, but there are ways to relieve the pain without turning to medication. If you are experiencing headaches in pregnancy, discuss this symptom with your doctor and then prepare to tackle the cause of your headaches at their roots.

Get Enough Rest

Pregnant women can get tired easily, and frustrations build up when you feel too tired to deal with them immediately. Often this build up can lead to a headache, and then there is even more frustration that you can’t pop a pill and be rid of it immediately. Instead, treat your headache as a sign that you need to slow down. Get some rest; perhaps take a nap, and likely your problems will seem a little less when you open your eyes.

Get Up Slowly

Often after resting quietly for a short time you will feel much better while still sitting or lying down, but the minute you jump up your head spins and the pain comes back with a vengeance. Avoid these sudden movements. Remember, while you are pregnant all of the blood that used to pump so efficiently around your body is now making a major diversion to your womb, so moving slowly will keep everything flowing as smoothly as possible without a shortage that can lead to a full-blown headache.

Get Whole Foods

The old adage that pregnant women are eating for two may not always be quite right, but pregnant women certainly do need to make sure that they are eating enough to avoid blood sugar drops and the headaches that often accompany them. Don’t let a fear of putting on “baby weight” keep you from getting the nutrients you need. Instead, keep plenty of healthy snacks on hand – servings of fruits, nuts, cheese or yogurt are common – and take a break to break your fast whenever you feel the hunger pains rumble.

Get Comfortable

You might think that it is impossible to get comfortable while pregnant, but a great way of heading off a headache is to respond to your body’s needs as they come up. Many women find comfort in:

  • Changing into loose cotton clothing when they feel restricted.
  • Wearing maternity support hose when they feel slightly swollen.
  • Taking a cool shower or bath when they feel overheated.
  • Getting outside for some fresh air when they feel that their environment is stuffy.
  • Indulging in a pregnancy yoga class when they feel wound up in knots.
  • Splashing out on a soothing head massage when they feel like being pampered.

Though headaches in pregnancy may be common, they needn’t be accepted without a fight. Getting enough rest, moving slowly through pregnancy, eating enough nutritious food and getting as comfortable as needed are all ways of combating pregnancy headaches.

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