Headaches and migraines are completely different creatures of pain. Migraines can cause throbbing pains in the head and leave moms-to-be writhing in the dark. While hormones are thought to be part of the cause, there are other causes for these extreme head pains.
Causes of Migraines in Pregnancy
Estrogen and progesterone levels change widely during pregnancy. These hormonal changes can cause migraine headaches, but they are not the only cause. Changes in serotonin levels and reduced or increased blood flow to the brain can all cause migraines.
Important Facts About Migraines in Pregnancy
Migraine pain is atypical which means it is not common with every pregnancy. When pain persists, it is important to notify the attending physician. Increased fatigue, nausea and vomiting often associated with migraines can lead to dehydration and premature labor.
Treatment for Migraines in Pregnancy
As is the case with all migraines, finding the trigger for pain may be the root to treatment. Stress can be a common trigger, which means seeking out relaxation techniques, and alternative therapies may help prevent and treat migraines during pregnancy.
Acupuncture, yoga and massage therapy are all shown to decrease stress and thus may decrease migraine pain.
Caffeine and acetaminophen are common over-the-counter treatments for migraine pain. While caffeine is generally avoided during pregnancy, many practitioners will approve increasing caffeine levels to treat migraines. Once triggers are noted, avoiding these triggers will help to prevent migraines and keep you out of the pain zone. Exercise and rest are also commonly used to treat pregnancy-induced migraines.