Found this great information at Babycentre about headaches during pregnancy, hope it helps
Ever since I became pregnant, I’ve had terrible headaches. Why?
It’s not unusual to get headaches when you’re pregnant, especially in the first trimester. And if you’ve always been susceptible to them, pregnancy can make the problem worse.
Experts don’t know exactly why carrying a child makes your head ache, but good guesses include the hormonal free-for-all your body is undergoing and changes in the way your blood circulates.
Giving up caffeine can also make your head pound. Other potential culprits include fatigue, stress and hunger or more rarely sinus congestion.
Migraine headaches (a type of headache thought to involve abnormal function of the brain’s blood vessels) are a different story. Women prone to migraines frequently have less trouble with them during pregnancy, particularly if they have been connected to their menstrual cycle.
Unfortunately, they usually return to their pre-pregnancy pattern once your baby is born.
Can I do anything to prevent them?
You could try to identify whether something in your lifestyle is triggering your headaches or migraines. Unfortunately some triggers are unavoidable and the fact that you’re pregnant may be contributing to changes in your lifestyle that could also be to blame.
The British Association for the Study of Headache has identified the following common triggers:
• Anxiety and emotion. Stress can set off a headache because of muscle tension but it can also lead you to make minor changes in your lifestyle that trigger headaches too. In some people, the headaches start when they relax giving rise to “weekend migraines”.
• Change in habits. These include eating at different times, or altered sleep patterns, such as missing sleep or having a lie-in.
• Certain foods. It’s unusual for a food to set a headache off, but if your headaches always start within six hours of eating a particular food, you could try excluding it and then reintroducing it to your diet to see if it is the culprit.
• Bright lights and noise can both be a cause of stress.
• Strenuous exercise, particularly if you’re not used to it. It’s not a good idea to start a rigorous exercise regime for the first time in pregnancy. Regular, less strenuous exercise, however, could help with your headaches.
Try keeping a headache diary over the course of at least five headaches, to see if there are triggers in your lifestyle, apart from pregnancy, that you could do something about.
Is there anything I can do to relieve the pain?
Most headache medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, are not recommended for pregnant women but may be prescribed by your doctor for migraine.Taste Treatment Center in Chicago found that the smell of certain foods, such as green apples, could keep migraine headaches at bay for some, but you have to like the scent for the pain-relieving magic to work. Well … it’s worth a try!
Paracetamol, however, is considered safe if taken in moderation. But before you pop a few pills, try one of these safer alternatives:
• Relaxation and stress reduction
Rest, relaxation and finding coping strategies to help you deal with stress can all help. Resting or sleep is often recommended alongside pain relieving treatments so why not try it on its own. Another option is to find a relaxation technique to suit you, such as yoga or meditation.
• See a physiotherapist
If your headaches are related to muscle tension or posture changes, treatment from a trained physiotherapist is the best option. A physio session may include massage, manipulation, mobilisation and exercises that you can continue for yourself at home.
• Eat little and often
Low blood sugar is a common headache culprit so regular meals are recommended; try eating smaller, more frequent meals. If you’re on the go, keep some snacks (crackers, fruit, plain biscuits) in your bag.
• Exercise regularly
Some evidence shows that regular exercise and improved fitness can reduce the frequency and severity of tension type headaches and migraines. It works on headaches because exercise helps to balance your blood sugar, improves breathing and breathlessness, triggers your body to release feel-good endorphins and leaves you with a sense of well-being.
• Try acupuncture
Needle acupuncture treatment is considered safe and may be effective for headaches (and morning sickness), although more research is needed to be sure. Contact the British Acupuncture Council at www.acupuncture.org.uk or ask your midwife for the name of a registered practitioner near you.
Other self-help techniques you could try include:
• An old-fashioned compress
Apply a warm compress (a flannel soaked in warm water, squeezed and placed over the affected area) around your eyes and nose for sinus headaches and a cool compress at the base of your neck for tension headaches.
• Take a cold shower
A simple but effective remedy for some migraines, it works by constricting the dilated blood vessels, often bringing fast, if brief, relief. If you can’t take a shower, splash some cool water on your face.
• Sniff green apples
Scientists at the Smell and
Is it safe to continue taking my migraine medication during pregnancy?
It depends on which drug you’re taking. Some migraine pain relievers are safe to take but medicines to prevent migraines, and triptans, which are used to stop a developing migraine in its tracks, are not.
Talk to your doctor about whether your regular medication is safe during pregnancy.
Can a headache be a sign of something more serious?
On rare occasions, yes. For example, if you also have blurred vision, a pain high up in your abdomen, vomiting, or sudden swelling of your face, hands or feet, your headaches could mean that you have pre-eclampsia.
Pre-eclampsia is a serious form of pregnancy high blood pressure and, if you have these symptoms, you need to contact a midwife or doctor immediately.
But for the vast majority of women, headaches are a temporary though unpleasant side effect of pregnancy.
Will I have to suffer throughout my entire pregnancy?
Probably not. For most women, pregnancy headaches tend to diminish and even disappear by the second trimester. Experts believe this is when the flood of hormones stabilises, and the body grows accustomed to its altered chemistry