Being stricken with a headache during pregnancy is one of those problems no one ever seems to address. It’s so mundane it doesn’t seem important — until you’re struggling to function through a bad one. What can you take for a migraine while pregnant? Is a headache during pregnancy dangerous? These are natural and important questions. Because so many medications can cross the placenta and hurt your baby, you’ll have to be careful. Your OTC choices may be limited, but good natural treatments are not!
Headache During Pregnancy | Home Remedies
1. Eliminate the Usual Suspects
You might not pay close attention to your “triggers” normally, but once you’re pregnant, you can’t down a painkiller at the first twinge. It means preventative strategies are more important than ever before. Every time you get a headache, write down what you ate or did earlier in the day.
Were you hunched over a computer in the hours before your headache? Poor posture can cut off circulation in your upper body, triggering a headache. The extra weight from your pregnancy is also an aggravating factor. Try these safe pregnancy workouts to help with your posture, put your weight on the balance, and help you get a good night sleep.
“Pigging out” is another headache trigger in pregnant women. This results in big sugar highs then crash which cause headaches. Cut back on sugary foods and starches. In addition, eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This stabilizes your blood sugar levels, thus lessening your chances of a headache.
2. Use a Compress
It’s an oldie but a goodie: The classic head compress. For a headache during pregnancy, applying either a warm or cool cloth to your head can do much to banish pain. Whether you go with warmth or coolness depends on the type of pain you’re having.
Cool compresses treat a migraine or a cluster headache. A cluster headache is a type you feel at the side of your head, usually near the eye. Migraines are sudden and severe, often accompanied by nausea. To treat this type of a headache, run a washcloth under cool water, wring it out, and place it on your forehead, or over where the pain is.
Alternatively, pour rice or oatmeal into a clean sock. You can add some lavender oil or fragrant herbs to the blend. Fasten the sock at the open end and place it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. This kind of warm compress helps tension headaches. Place it either directly where the pain is or on your neck. A neck compress eases compressed, tight muscles and blood vessels.
You’ll also find specialized compresses at the drugstore. Cool gel types for cold compresses or heatable warm compresses are both available.
3. Explore Biofeedback
According to the Mayo Clinic, women can find relief for a headache during pregnancy with biofeedback. A biofeedback specialist uses sensors to detect when factors like muscle movement and breathing patterns trigger pain. Using this feedback, you can learn to control these elements.
There are different types of biofeedback devices. Some can even be used outside of the specialist’s office. A wearable device will alert you when it’s picking up tensions. Even better, it guides you through breathing techniques that may stave off yet another headache during pregnancy. This will slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure.
4. Hydrate Regularly
Water is an undervalued headache prevention tool. Not drinking enough means you don’t offset the extra fluid needed to nourish your baby. More fluid is diverted from everywhere else in your body to the baby leaving you with sluggish circulation. That pattern results in headaches for some pregnant women.
One additional symptom? Dark urine. It’s a sign you’re not getting enough water. Feeling lightheaded is another. Significantly up your water intake. The dizziness and dark urine are bound to fade. With luck, your headaches will also decrease.
5. Stay the Course
Some women get headaches early in their pregnancies because they’re changing to a healthier lifestyle. Bodies can take some time to catch up, and headaches are part of the process. When you give up or significantly reduce caffeine, for example, your blood vessels react. Caffeine has a narrowing effect. Having less of it in your system makes them swell again leading to headaches.
Some women also get withdrawal headaches when they give up drinks with artificial sweeteners. Pregnancy is a good time to do so, but it can result in headaches. Giving up harmful additives will keep you and your baby healthier. It will also prevent future “boomerang headaches” from going on and off these substances.
6. Try Aromatherapy
Thank nature for the wonder that is essential oil. Pregnant mommies can apply this natural remedy without fear of side effects. If you’ve been using essential oils before, much better. It means you’ve figured if you have any allergies to any essential oils. These essential oils are recommended for use while pregnant or for a headache during pregnancy.
- Wild orange
- Eucalyptus Radiata
- Cinnamon bark
- Clove Bud
Still, you must take precautions when using any kind of essential oil even if they’re considered safe for pregnant women. Avoid using any of these essential oils during pregnancy, though.
- Anise seed
- Black pepper
- Chamomile (during the first trimester)
- Clary sage
- Parsley Seed
- Tea Tree Oil
7. Don’t Suffer in Silence
Not sure what type of a headache you’re having? It’s not unusual for pregnant women who may experience new types for the first time. Migraines are a response to the flush of hormones from early pregnancy. Many women find they vanish in the later weeks. A tension headache may also come from muscle strains you’ve never dealt with before, like back pain.
Talk to your doctor about what exactly the kind of pain you’re having. She will want to rule out problems like high blood pressure or preeclampsia. Chances are, however, natural treatments will be all you need to beat a headache during pregnancy.
Find out if it’s normal to have a headache during pregnancy with this video by Intermountain Moms:
Now you know doctor-prescribed OTC meds are not your only option for a headache during pregnancy. You can count on natural treatment and home remedies to help relieve the pregnancy “blues.” While these natural treatments are generally considered safe for pregnant women, always ask your doctor first for a medical perspective with the general safety of you and your baby in mind.
How do you deal with a headache during pregnancy? Share your own experience with us in the comments section below!