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Early Pregnancy Headaches: 11 Remedies to Stop the Pain



Pregnancy can be a headache — literally. (Maybe it's just nature's way of preparing you to be the mother of a teenager?) Alas, just as headaches get worse and more frequent for many pregnant women, the usual treatment options — such as most over-the-counter and prescription medications — are best avoided.


But that doesn’t mean you should ignore an aching head, especially if you have regular tension headaches or migraines, or the pain is interfering with your sleep or appetite. There are other tactics, from diet tweaks to stress management, that offer sweet relief from headaches when you’re expecting.


For help with that dull throbbing, here’s a look at the different types of headaches you might be experiencing, the common symptoms and ways to treat them. Here’s to a pain-free pregnancy!


What are the different types of headaches?


The headaches you’re suffering from while pregnant are just like the ones you can get at any other time, so it’s worth learning about some of the most common types. Here’s a short primer to help you figure out what kind of headache you might have:


Tension headaches: If you’re under stress, hungry or feel pain in your neck or shoulders, you could have a tension headache, which feels like a mild to moderate dull ache. It’s one of the most common types.

Migraines: With a migraine headache, you can expect moderate to severe pain that throbs and lasts for hours or even days. Some women with migraines also experience blurred vision, light flashes, numbness and nausea.

Sinus headaches: Pressure around your eyes, cheeks and forehead plus a stuffy nose may signal a sinus headache. These typically occur with a sinus infection, but they’re also commonly confused with migraines. In both cases, the pain can get worse when you bend forward or lie down.

Cluster headaches: These head pains are what they sound like — headaches upon headaches that start quickly and get worse, lasting for days or longer. The searing pain usually centers on one eye or affects one side of the head. The good news: Cluster headaches are rare, especially in women compared to men.


Chronic headaches: If you’re getting headaches on more than half of the days in any given month, they could be considered chronic. This includes migraines and other headache types — “chronic” just refers to how frequently they happen.


What are symptoms of headaches during pregnancy?


If you’ve had an aching head or migraine before you conceived, you probably know what a bad headache feels like. But it’s still a good idea to be on the lookout for the common symptoms of headaches during pregnancy, such as:


If you’ve had an aching head or migraine before you conceived, you probably know what a bad headache feels like. But it’s still a good idea to be on the lookout for the common symptoms of headaches during pregnancy, such as:


A dull aching sensation

Occasional throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head

Migraine headaches, however, can come with worse symptoms, including:


More severe pain

Intense pounding in the head

Nausea

Vomiting

Some women with migraines also experience light and sound sensitivity and they find that the pain worsens if they move or change positions.


What causes headaches during pregnancy?

The primary culprits are pregnancy hormones, though there are many other causes of headaches during every stage of pregnancy. This type of pain can have lots of triggers, which means it can come on at any time. Some common causes:


Hormones: Headaches are often an early sign of pregnancy and tend to begin during the first trimester when your hormone levels surge and blood volume increases.

Trigger foods: Certain foods like cheese, chocolate, dairy and processed meats like bacon can trigger a headache in any trimester. Women who drink less caffeine in pregnancy may get withdrawal headaches.

Sinus congration: If you’re suffering from sinus congestion, a runny nose or allergies (you’re more susceptible when you’re pregnant), a headache may accompany these symptoms.

Dehydration: The dehydration that often goes hand in hand with nausea and vomiting can also cause your head to throb.

High blood pressure: After week 20 in pregnancy, severe headaches may be related to high blood pressure. This may raise your risk of a number of pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and premature delivery, so it's important to talk to your doctor if you notice this symptom.

Other causes can include:


Fatigue

Tension

Eye strain

Increased hunger

Low blood sugar levels

Physical or emotional stress

On the bright side, at least for those already prone to migraines: Surging hormones during pregnancy might actually make those less-than-pleasant headaches less frequent.


As for when pregnancy headaches will end, it depends on what's causing them in the first place. If the signs and symptoms of pregnancy itself — stress, fatigue, surging hormones, congestion — are a major cause, you will feel fast relief after delivery. But if you find that headaches are troubling you beyond pregnancy, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss treatment options if you haven’t already.


What is the best treatment for headaches while pregnant?

If you’re hoping to stop a headache naturally, there are plenty of pregnancy-safe steps you can take to battle (and maybe prevent) your symptoms based on the common headache types:


For tension headaches and migraines: Lie in a dark, quiet room for a few minutes or if you're at work, close your eyes and put your feet up. (Your boss should understand!) You can also put an ice pack or cold compress on the back of your neck for 20 minutes while you relax. Deep breathing and quiet meditation are two more smart ways to channel calming vibes.

For sinus headaches: A stuffy nose is very common in pregnancy, so try steam inhalation to relieve congestion and a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Apply hot and cold compresses to the achy spot, alternating 30 seconds of each for a total of 10 minutes, four times a day. Drinking lots of fluids, especially herbal tea or broth, can help clear stuffiness. And ask the doctor whether you could have a sinus infection and if there’s a safe nasal decongestant you can use.

For all headaches: While you shouldn’t take ibuprofen or Aleve when you're pregnant, acetaminophen (Tylenol) can bring relief and occasional use is considered safe for pregnancy. Always check with your practitioner for the right dosage and never take any medication (including over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, herbal supplements and prescriptions) without getting your doctor’s okay first.

Can you prevent pregnancy headaches?

While some headaches are probably unavoidable, a few steps now may help prevent them in the future. Check out these tips so you can potentially stop an oncoming headache dead in its tracks:


Eat regularly. Skipping meals (and the crash-and-burn that comes after eating a lot of sweets) results in low blood sugar, which can bring on a headache. The fix: Keep healthy snacks handy by stashing whole grain crackers, trail mix or a nutritious granola bar in your bag, desk or car.


Sleep well. Getting enough rest is especially important in the first and third trimesters, when you’re likely to feel pooped — but don't sleep too much, as that can also make your head hurt.


Keep a food diary. Chocolate, cheese, dairy, processed meats and other foods can trigger headaches, so keep track of what you eat to note links to your pain patterns. Then cut the likely culprits from your diet.


Ease away from coffee. Cutting back on caffeine during pregnancy too quickly can lead to withdrawal headaches. Even if you're just a one-coffee-a-day gal (or soda), wean yourself to half a cup — or switch to a less potent tea — first before nixing caffeine entirely.


Get some air. Avoid hot, stuffy spaces and strong odors — you're more sensitive to them than ever). Dress in layers so you can start peeling them off before overheating leads to a headache. Stuck inside? Get some fresh air a couple of times a day, or at least open a window.


Switch lighting. Fluorescent lighting and windowless work spaces can cause headaches, so take whatever steps you can to control your environment — or at least take regular breaks.


Seek peace and quiet. Noise can give you a headache, so if you're extra sensitive to loud noises, strive to avoid the worst offenders. If your job is noisy, ask about taking steps to reduce the din or try and move to a quieter spot.


Watch your posture. Try not to slouch, slump or bend over while you do close work (knitting tiny booties, crafting your baby’s scrapbook) for long stretches of time.


Go alternative. To prevent stress from building up into a headache, take a prenatal yoga class, meditate or do some breathing exercises — anything that'll help you relax. Or try alternative medical treatments including acupuncture, acupressure, water therapy or prenatal massage.


When to call the doctor about headaches during pregnancy


Many women, even those who haven't previously experienced a lot of everyday headaches, will get them during pregnancy. The vast majority of pregnancy headaches are “primary” — meaning your head hurts, but there’s nothing serious or anything to worry about.


But if your headaches persist for more than two or three hours or you have other symptoms (fever, visual disturbances, sudden dramatic weight gain or puffiness in your face or hands), let your practitioner know right away.


In rare cases, so-called “secondary headaches” signal something else going on in your body, such as hypertension or risk factors for preeclampsia, and you’ll want to make sure you get both the headaches and the underlying conditions taken care of ASAP.


Battling headaches during pregnancy can take some time and patience. But once you know what’s causing them and how to head off common triggers, your aching head should be a thing of the past.


11 Remedies to Get Rid of a Headache


Headaches happen. The good news is there are several simple things you can do to ease the pain without a trip to the doctor. Try these tips and get to feeling better fast.


Try a Cold Pack


If you have a migraine, place a cold pack on your forehead. Ice cubes wrapped in a towel, a bag of frozen vegetables, or even a cold shower may ease the pain. Keep the compress on your head for 15 minutes, and then take a break for 15 minutes.


Use a Heating Pad or Hot Compress


If you have a tension headache, place a heating pad on your neck or the back of your head. If you have a sinus headache, hold a warm cloth to the area that hurts. A warm shower might also do the trick.


Ease Pressure on Your Scalp or Head


If your ponytail is too tight, it could cause a headache. These "external compression headaches" can also be brought on by wearing a hat, headband, or even swimming goggles that are too tight.


Dim the Lights


Bright or flickering light, even from your computer screen, can cause migraine headaches. If you’re prone to them, cover your windows with blackout curtains during the day. Wear sunglasses outdoors. You might also add anti-glare screens to your computer and use daylight-spectrum fluorescent bulbs in your light fixtures.


Try Not to Chew


Chewing gum can hurt not just your jaw but your head. The same is true for chewing your fingernails, lips, the inside of your cheeks, or handy objects like pens. Avoid crunchy and sticky foods, and make sure you take small bites. If you grind your teeth at night, ask your dentist about a mouth guard. This may curb your early-morning headaches.


Hydrate


Drink plenty of liquids. Dehydration can cause a headache or make one worse.


Get Some Caffeine


Have some tea, coffee, or something with a little caffeine in it. If you get it early enough after the pain starts, it could ease your headache pain. It can also help over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen work better. Just don’t drink too much because caffeine withdrawal can cause its own type of headache.


Practice Relaxation


Whether it’s stretches, yoga, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation, learning how to chill out when you’re in the middle of a headache can help with the pain. You might talk to your doctor about physical therapy if you have muscle spasms in your neck.


Try Massage


You can do it yourself. A few minutes massaging your forehead, neck, and temples can help ease a tension headache, which may result from stress. Or apply gentle, rotating pressure to the painful area.


Take Some Ginger


A small recent study found that taking ginger, in addition to regular over-the-counter pain meds, eased pain for people in the ER with migraines. Another found that it worked almost as well as prescription migraine meds. You can try a supplement or brew some tea.


Use Meds in Moderation


Pharmacy shelves are stocked with pain relievers for all kinds of headaches. To get the most benefit with the least risk, follow the directions on the label and these guidelines:


Choose liquid over pills. Your body absorbs it faster.

Avoid ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) if you have heart failure or kidney failure.

Do not give aspirin to a child under age 18.

Take painkillers as soon as you start to hurt. You’ll probably beat it with a smaller dose than if you wait.

If you get sick to your stomach when you get a headache, ask your doctor what might help.


Ask your doctor what to take to avoid a rebound headache, which is pain that sets in after a few days of pain relievers.


Precis: Early being pregnant headaches


Early pregnancy headaches can be the first exchange you note after a nice check. They’re commonplace, but may be traumatic and painful. Even though they could persist at some stage in your pregnancy, they often permit up after the first months. First trimester headaches may be as a result of some factors, inclusive of elevated blood volume, changing hormones, and stress. Even as you could’t manipulate all elements, there’s a few matters you could do to minimize the chance and severity of complications. Using compresses, rubdown, and acetaminophen along side life-style modifications can pass a protracted way in decreasing pain. In case your headache is intense, doesn’t leave, or is observed with the aid of different signs, you need to communicate to your physician.


Do you've got a Fetal Doppler yet?


Fetal dopplers are small devices that paintings much like an ultrasound. A probe finds your toddler and amplifies her heartbeat through audio system. Many parents say the enjoy is comforting and bonding.


When to Call Your Doctor


Get medical care right away for:


A headache that follows a head injury

A headache along with dizziness, speech problems, confusion, or other neurological symptoms

A severe headache that comes on suddenly

A headache that gets worse even after you take pain medications


Pregnancy can be a headache — literally. (Maybe it's just nature's way of preparing you to be the mother of a teenager?) Alas, just as headaches get worse and more frequent for many pregnant women, the usual treatment options — such as most over-the-counter and prescription medications — are best avoided.


But that doesn’t mean you should ignore an aching head, especially if you have regular tension headaches or migraines, or the pain is interfering with your sleep or appetite. There are other tactics, from diet tweaks to stress management, that offer sweet relief from headaches when you’re expecting.


For help with that dull throbbing, here’s a look at the different types of headaches you might be experiencing, the common symptoms and ways to treat them. Here’s to a pain-free pregnancy!


What are the different types of headaches?


The headaches you’re suffering from while pregnant are just like the ones you can get at any other time, so it’s worth learning about some of the most common types. Here’s a short primer to help you figure out what kind of headache you might have:


Tension headaches: If you’re under stress, hungry or feel pain in your neck or shoulders, you could have a tension headache, which feels like a mild to moderate dull ache. It’s one of the most common types.

Migraines: With a migraine headache, you can expect moderate to severe pain that throbs and lasts for hours or even days. Some women with migraines also experience blurred vision, light flashes, numbness and nausea.

Sinus headaches: Pressure around your eyes, cheeks and forehead plus a stuffy nose may signal a sinus headache. These typically occur with a sinus infection, but they’re also commonly confused with migraines. In both cases, the pain can get worse when you bend forward or lie down.

Cluster headaches: These head pains are what they sound like — headaches upon headaches that start quickly and get worse, lasting for days or longer. The searing pain usually centers on one eye or affects one side of the head. The good news: Cluster headaches are rare, especially in women compared to men.


Chronic headaches: If you’re getting headaches on more than half of the days in any given month, they could be considered chronic. This includes migraines and other headache types — “chronic” just refers to how frequently they happen.


What are symptoms of headaches during pregnancy?


If you’ve had an aching head or migraine before you conceived, you probably know what a bad headache feels like. But it’s still a good idea to be on the lookout for the common symptoms of headaches during pregnancy, such as:


If you’ve had an aching head or migraine before you conceived, you probably know what a bad headache feels like. But it’s still a good idea to be on the lookout for the common symptoms of headaches during pregnancy, such as:


A dull aching sensation

Occasional throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head

Migraine headaches, however, can come with worse symptoms, including:


More severe pain

Intense pounding in the head

Nausea

Vomiting

Some women with migraines also experience light and sound sensitivity and they find that the pain worsens if they move or change positions.


What causes headaches during pregnancy?

The primary culprits are pregnancy hormones, though there are many other causes of headaches during every stage of pregnancy. This type of pain can have lots of triggers, which means it can come on at any time. Some common causes:


Hormones: Headaches are often an early sign of pregnancy and tend to begin during the first trimester when your hormone levels surge and blood volume increases.

Trigger foods: Certain foods like cheese, chocolate, dairy and processed meats like bacon can trigger a headache in any trimester. Women who drink less caffeine in pregnancy may get withdrawal headaches.

Sinus congration: If you’re suffering from sinus congestion, a runny nose or allergies (you’re more susceptible when you’re pregnant), a headache may accompany these symptoms.

Dehydration: The dehydration that often goes hand in hand with nausea and vomiting can also cause your head to throb.

High blood pressure: After week 20 in pregnancy, severe headaches may be related to high blood pressure. This may raise your risk of a number of pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and premature delivery, so it's important to talk to your doctor if you notice this symptom.

Other causes can include:


Fatigue

Tension

Eye strain

Increased hunger

Low blood sugar levels

Physical or emotional stress

On the bright side, at least for those already prone to migraines: Surging hormones during pregnancy might actually make those less-than-pleasant headaches less frequent.


As for when pregnancy headaches will end, it depends on what's causing them in the first place. If the signs and symptoms of pregnancy itself — stress, fatigue, surging hormones, congestion — are a major cause, you will feel fast relief after delivery. But if you find that headaches are troubling you beyond pregnancy, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss treatment options if you haven’t already.


What is the best treatment for headaches while pregnant?

If you’re hoping to stop a headache naturally, there are plenty of pregnancy-safe steps you can take to battle (and maybe prevent) your symptoms based on the common headache types:


For tension headaches and migraines: Lie in a dark, quiet room for a few minutes or if you're at work, close your eyes and put your feet up. (Your boss should understand!) You can also put an ice pack or cold compress on the back of your neck for 20 minutes while you relax. Deep breathing and quiet meditation are two more smart ways to channel calming vibes.

For sinus headaches: A stuffy nose is very common in pregnancy, so try steam inhalation to relieve congestion and a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Apply hot and cold compresses to the achy spot, alternating 30 seconds of each for a total of 10 minutes, four times a day. Drinking lots of fluids, especially herbal tea or broth, can help clear stuffiness. And ask the doctor whether you could have a sinus infection and if there’s a safe nasal decongestant you can use.

For all headaches: While you shouldn’t take ibuprofen or Aleve when you're pregnant, acetaminophen (Tylenol) can bring relief and occasional use is considered safe for pregnancy. Always check with your practitioner for the right dosage and never take any medication (including over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, herbal supplements and prescriptions) without getting your doctor’s okay first.

Can you prevent pregnancy headaches?

While some headaches are probably unavoidable, a few steps now may help prevent them in the future. Check out these tips so you can potentially stop an oncoming headache dead in its tracks:


Eat regularly. Skipping meals (and the crash-and-burn that comes after eating a lot of sweets) results in low blood sugar, which can bring on a headache. The fix: Keep healthy snacks handy by stashing whole grain crackers, trail mix or a nutritious granola bar in your bag, desk or car.


Sleep well. Getting enough rest is especially important in the first and third trimesters, when you’re likely to feel pooped — but don't sleep too much, as that can also make your head hurt.


Keep a food diary. Chocolate, cheese, dairy, processed meats and other foods can trigger headaches, so keep track of what you eat to note links to your pain patterns. Then cut the likely culprits from your diet.


Ease away from coffee. Cutting back on caffeine during pregnancy too quickly can lead to withdrawal headaches. Even if you're just a one-coffee-a-day gal (or soda), wean yourself to half a cup — or switch to a less potent tea — first before nixing caffeine entirely.


Get some air. Avoid hot, stuffy spaces and strong odors — you're more sensitive to them than ever). Dress in layers so you can start peeling them off before overheating leads to a headache. Stuck inside? Get some fresh air a couple of times a day, or at least open a window.


Switch lighting. Fluorescent lighting and windowless work spaces can cause headaches, so take whatever steps you can to control your environment — or at least take regular breaks.


Seek peace and quiet. Noise can give you a headache, so if you're extra sensitive to loud noises, strive to avoid the worst offenders. If your job is noisy, ask about taking steps to reduce the din or try and move to a quieter spot.


Watch your posture. Try not to slouch, slump or bend over while you do close work (knitting tiny booties, crafting your baby’s scrapbook) for long stretches of time.


Go alternative. To prevent stress from building up into a headache, take a prenatal yoga class, meditate or do some breathing exercises — anything that'll help you relax. Or try alternative medical treatments including acupuncture, acupressure, water therapy or prenatal massage.


When to call the doctor about headaches during pregnancy


Many women, even those who haven't previously experienced a lot of everyday headaches, will get them during pregnancy. The vast majority of pregnancy headaches are “primary” — meaning your head hurts, but there’s nothing serious or anything to worry about.


But if your headaches persist for more than two or three hours or you have other symptoms (fever, visual disturbances, sudden dramatic weight gain or puffiness in your face or hands), let your practitioner know right away.


In rare cases, so-called “secondary headaches” signal something else going on in your body, such as hypertension or risk factors for preeclampsia, and you’ll want to make sure you get both the headaches and the underlying conditions taken care of ASAP.


Battling headaches during pregnancy can take some time and patience. But once you know what’s causing them and how to head off common triggers, your aching head should be a thing of the past.


11 Remedies to Get Rid of a Headache


Headaches happen. The good news is there are several simple things you can do to ease the pain without a trip to the doctor. Try these tips and get to feeling better fast.


Try a Cold Pack


If you have a migraine, place a cold pack on your forehead. Ice cubes wrapped in a towel, a bag of frozen vegetables, or even a cold shower may ease the pain. Keep the compress on your head for 15 minutes, and then take a break for 15 minutes.


Use a Heating Pad or Hot Compress


If you have a tension headache, place a heating pad on your neck or the back of your head. If you have a sinus headache, hold a warm cloth to the area that hurts. A warm shower might also do the trick.


Ease Pressure on Your Scalp or Head


If your ponytail is too tight, it could cause a headache. These "external compression headaches" can also be brought on by wearing a hat, headband, or even swimming goggles that are too tight.


Dim the Lights


Bright or flickering light, even from your computer screen, can cause migraine headaches. If you’re prone to them, cover your windows with blackout curtains during the day. Wear sunglasses outdoors. You might also add anti-glare screens to your computer and use daylight-spectrum fluorescent bulbs in your light fixtures.


Try Not to Chew


Chewing gum can hurt not just your jaw but your head. The same is true for chewing your fingernails, lips, the inside of your cheeks, or handy objects like pens. Avoid crunchy and sticky foods, and make sure you take small bites. If you grind your teeth at night, ask your dentist about a mouth guard. This may curb your early-morning headaches.


Hydrate


Drink plenty of liquids. Dehydration can cause a headache or make one worse.


Get Some Caffeine


Have some tea, coffee, or something with a little caffeine in it. If you get it early enough after the pain starts, it could ease your headache pain. It can also help over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen work better. Just don’t drink too much because caffeine withdrawal can cause its own type of headache.


Practice Relaxation


Whether it’s stretches, yoga, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation, learning how to chill out when you’re in the middle of a headache can help with the pain. You might talk to your doctor about physical therapy if you have muscle spasms in your neck.


Try Massage


You can do it yourself. A few minutes massaging your forehead, neck, and temples can help ease a tension headache, which may result from stress. Or apply gentle, rotating pressure to the painful area.


Take Some Ginger


A small recent study found that taking ginger, in addition to regular over-the-counter pain meds, eased pain for people in the ER with migraines. Another found that it worked almost as well as prescription migraine meds. You can try a supplement or brew some tea.


Use Meds in Moderation


Pharmacy shelves are stocked with pain relievers for all kinds of headaches. To get the most benefit with the least risk, follow the directions on the label and these guidelines:


Choose liquid over pills. Your body absorbs it faster.

Avoid ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) if you have heart failure or kidney failure.

Do not give aspirin to a child under age 18.

Take painkillers as soon as you start to hurt. You’ll probably beat it with a smaller dose than if you wait.

If you get sick to your stomach when you get a headache, ask your doctor what might help.


Ask your doctor what to take to avoid a rebound headache, which is pain that sets in after a few days of pain relievers.


Precis: Early being pregnant headaches


Early pregnancy headaches can be the first exchange you note after a nice check. They’re commonplace, but may be traumatic and painful. Even though they could persist at some stage in your pregnancy, they often permit up after the first months. First trimester headaches may be as a result of some factors, inclusive of elevated blood volume, changing hormones, and stress. Even as you could’t manipulate all elements, there’s a few matters you could do to minimize the chance and severity of complications. Using compresses, rubdown, and acetaminophen along side life-style modifications can pass a protracted way in decreasing pain. In case your headache is intense, doesn’t leave, or is observed with the aid of different signs, you need to communicate to your physician.


Do you've got a Fetal Doppler yet?


Fetal dopplers are small devices that paintings much like an ultrasound. A probe finds your toddler and amplifies her heartbeat through audio system. Many parents say the enjoy is comforting and bonding.


When to Call Your Doctor


Get medical care right away for:


A headache that follows a head injury

A headache along with dizziness, speech problems, confusion, or other neurological symptoms

A severe headache that comes on suddenly

A headache that gets worse even after you take pain medications




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