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A bad and prolonged headache during pregnancy ..

It is not uncommon to have tension headaches in the first trimester of pregnancy. This headache is nothing but a pressurizing pain or a dull ache on head’s either side or behind the neck. They do not go away with rest. In pregnancy, the issue worsens due to hormonal changes. The volume of the blood and its circulation may also be another reason for headaches in the initial stages of pregnancy. Not having any caffeine, i.e., coffee may cause head pounding headaches.

Causes of migraines in pregnancy:

• Raging pregnancy hormones
• Alterations in nerve pathways
• Imbalance of brain chemicals
• Change in levels of serotonin
• Changes in blood flow to the brain

Other causes of headaches are:

• Insufficient sleep
• General fatigue
• Sinus congestion
• Allergies
• Eyestrain
• Stress
• Depression
• Hunger
• Dehydration

The possibility having headaches might diminish in the 2nd trimester. They may disappear in some woman and this is due to hormonal stabilization or in some cases. the body gets accustomed to changed body chemistry. But in some women the case may become worse or stay as it is.

Migraines in pregnancy:

Migraines are common, and it is observed than one in five tend to have these migraine headaches, but about 16 percent tend to get most certainly especially if she is pregnant for the first time. These headaches are associated with throbbing pain, which might be from moderate to severe on only one side of the head. They tend to last for more than a day. Aggravation of these headache is caused with physical activity.

Other symptoms of Migraine headaches are:

• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Sensitivity to light
• Noise sensitive

Migraines might also come with aura and have the symptoms:

• Visual changes
• Bright flashing lights
• Blind spots
• Sensations of numbness
• Sensation of pins/needles
• Weakness
• Numbness
• Tingling in arm or leg
• Speech disturbances

The above symptoms generally begin prior to an hour before migraine starts. It may tend to last for longer hours. Migraine headaches are usually associated with periods. The headache arises and worsens with periods and hence in some women, migraine disappears during pregnancy while others the case may not be so. The headaches become intense and frequent in pregnancy. But it is a good thing to know that the women who suffer migraines near periods shall have no complications or risk in pregnancy.

But very few women may be at a risk of:

• Hypertension
• Preeclampsia
• Other vascular disorders

Common triggers of migraine in pregnancy:

• Stress
• Fatigue
• Glaring lights
• Loud noises
• Excessive heat or cold
• Tobacco smoke
• Monosodium glutamate
• Certain beans
• Nuts
• Aged cheese
• Cultured dairy products
• Certain fresh fruits like bananas, avocados, papayas and citrus
• Smoked fish
• Fermented or pickled foods

Certain foods such as
• Chocolate
• Artificial sweeteners
• Nitrates
• Processed meats

Tips to avoid and treat migraines in pregnancy:

• Caffeine and acetaminophen can be helpful
• Caffeine consumption should not be above 200 mg on a daily basis
• Keep away from tobacco or its smoke
• Get enough sleep
• Exercise in pregnancy
• Walking, bicycling, and swimming are some good options
• Relax and rest as much as you can.
• Apply cold compress on forehead and neck.
• Try to figure out the trigger of migraine so that it can be kept at bay.
• Take a shower
• Avoid going hungry or thirsty
• Avoid fatigue

Try alternate treatments like:
• Acupuncture
• Biofeedback
• Massage
• Meditation
• Yoga

Apart from all these, if the headaches are debilitating and very uncomfortable then, consult your physician right away for further advice.

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