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Pregnancy Headaches

And On Top Of Being Pregnant, You Have Headaches

When a woman becomes pregnant everything in her world changes-especially her hormones. Often, during the first trimester of pregnancy, women will experience headaches. The most common of these is a tension headache, that sense that your head is being closed in a vise with pain throbbing on both sides of the head or the back of the neck. If headaches have been a part of life for you, then they may increase during pregnancy. For most women, these headaches usually lessen or entirely disappear by the second trimester when hormones stabilize and the body has made the adjustments.

First Time Migraine And Pregnancy

There is another type of headache that can happen during pregnancy which is more than tension and can create some serious pain. Migraine headaches afflict one in five women and 15 percent of these women have their first migraine during pregnancy-frequently in the first trimester. Symptoms that often accompany migraine headaches are the typical throbbing pain on one side of the head, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and noise and with many, aura.

Aura is visual alteration or sensations of numbness, pain, weakness and speech disturbances which precede the headache sometimes by an hour. If a woman has a history of migraine, sometimes they improve during pregnancy rather than worsening. However, many women who experience migraines for the first time during pregnancy may have them for the duration and often afterward as well.

Keep A Record To Find The Trigger

It is recommended that you keep a journal of the headaches, when they occur, length of time they last, severity, what you ate, drank and what physical activity you were doing when the headache occurred. Often, by keeping a record you can discover the triggers and avoid them in the future. Such foods as chocolate, caffeine, certain fruits, meats with sulfites or nitrites in them, MSG or fermented foods like pickles can set a migraine into motion.

The More Serious Effects Of Migraine On Pregnant Women

Recent research has linked pregnancy migraines with vascular diseases like stroke and heart disease. A study found that women who experienced migraines during pregnancy were 19 times more likely to have a stroke, five times more prone to heart attack and more than twice as likely to have other vascular problems.

Cheryl Bushnell, MD, study author with Duke University in Durham, NC, and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, said, "Women with persistent migraine during pregnancy should be aware of their risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, history of blood clots, heart disease, and prior stroke." She also indicated that there seems to be a connection between the very serious pregnancy condition preeclampsia and migraines. She said, "Good prenatal care is essential."

It is always important to let your health care provider know when you are experiencing headaches, particularly if they are sudden onset or severe. Keep a record of the details to help the doctor diagnose and treat the situation quickly and effectively.