Many experts caution pregnant women from taking unneccessary medications
(especially strong pharmaceutical products) when they are pregnant, for
fear of causing defects in the developing fetus. However, many expectant mothers develop painful migraines (potent headaches) that may force them to try taking migraine medication during pregnancy. Is this safe?

Some experts believe that the consulting physician should try to isolate the causes (or triggers) of the headaches before prescribing migraine medication during pregnancy. Common reasons why a pregnant women develop migraines include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Caffeine or alcohol consumption
  • Fasting
  • Oral contraceptive use.

Migraines are believed to be either the result of imbalances in brain chemicals or the inflammation of blood vessels in the brain. Many women may inherit the tendency to develop migraines from their own parents. Some believe that fluctuating estrogen levels can cause migraines to develop at certain times in a woman's life. Even environmental factors, like a change in weather or extreme rise or drop in temperature, are also thought to be potential migraine-triggers.

In addition to the pain and discomfort caused by developing debilitating headaches during pregnancy, these headaches may be accompanied by symptoms that can actually harm the growing fetus. These include, nausea, vomiting and dehydration. In severe cases, it might be necessary for the physician to prescribe medication in order to relieve the distress of the mother and ease pressure on the fetus within.

A common migraine medication for the mild attacks is an analgesic (or pain-reliever). If the headache is really severe, the doctor may have to resort to a more specific kind of drug therapy instead.

There is some evidence that alternative types of supplements might be able to relieve pregnant women of migraines without having to resort to strong drugs. One such supplement is magnesium, usually part of a daily multivitamin therapy during pregnancy, which may be prescribed in different dosages to address their headaches.