Pregnancy Headaches

10 Tips to Prevent and Cure Pregnancy Headaches

Pregnancy headaches – especially migraines – are another pregnancy symptom that almost every mom faces. It’s hard enough to deal with pregnancy weight gain, hormonal surges, aching legs and swollen feet without having a headache to further zap your energy – but it happens. We’ve gathered together 10 tips to help deal with pregnancy headaches without the use of medications or over-the-counter remedies.

  1. Drink your water. Dehydration can be a major cause of headaches (whether you’re pregnant or not), and upping your water intake can help reduce the occurrences of headaches (especially migraines). If you’re already suffering from a headache, drink a pint (or more, if you can) of cool (not icy cold) water and try to sit in a cool, darkened room for half an hour with your eyes closed (take a nap if you can). This can have a near miraculous effect.
  2. STAY AWAY FROM DIET DRINKS and foods containing artificial sweeteners (such as Splenda and NutraSweet) - one of the side-effects of artificial sweeteners is . . . headaches. No kidding.
  3. Concentrate on fresh fruits, and stay away from fruit juices with added sugars – many pregnant moms experience headaches an hour or so after they’ve had “sugar added”.
  4. If you just stopped drinking caffeine within the past 7-10 days, you might try a small cup of tea or coffee to help alleviate your headache symptoms, which may be caused by caffeine withdrawal. If you've avoided caffeine during your pregnancy, I wouldn't start now.
  5. Cold compresses on your forehead and back of your neck work wonders, too. Especially if you can lay down in a quiet, cool room while you apply the compresses.
  6. Take a nap. Taking a nap will give you must needed rest, and allow your body to heal itself.
  7. Make sure that you’re not allowing yourself to become overheated or over tired, which can both triggers headaches.
  8. Headaches are often triggered by lack of fuel – from skipping meals to just being hungry. Make sure you're eating enough - small snacks in addition to regular meals. Many pregnant moms have the need for more food during the last trimester.
  9. Watch the sugar content in your diet. Sugars are absorbed rapidly in the body, causing both a sugar rush and a sudden drop in blood sugar levels which can cause headaches and fatigue. Read the labels (there's a surprisingly high number of hidden sugars in lots of stuff off the shelves), concentrate on raw fruits and vegetables, lean meats, etc.
  10. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Another leading cause of headaches is fatigue. You should be getting at least nine hours of sleep a night, and a nap in the afternoon if you’re able.

Other suggestions:

If you have allergies, or it’s allergy season, allergies, and not your pregnancy, might be the culprit. Wash your hair before you go to sleep – this will remove allergens from your hair so that you’re not breathing them in all night long. Stay indoors when the wind is blowing, when the pollen count is high (pollen peaks in many urban areas between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.), and avoid fresh cut grass, etc. Keep your houses vacuumed and dusted, and frequently bathe your animals (dogs, cats, bunnies, guinea pigs, etc.) and keep their fur groomed and brushed to limit pet dander.

If headaches are persistent and increasing water, changing eating habits, and getting enough sleep isn’t helping you to combat the headaches, talk to your ob/gyn or midwife. There are several medications he or she can prescribe or recommend that will be safe during your pregnancy. I strongly suggest not taking anything - including over the counter medications - without getting the ‘seal of approval’ from your care provider.

The information on this website is designed for educational purposes only. The information is NOT intended to be a substitute for medical care. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have.