Causes Of Headache During Pregnancy: How To Relieve & Prevent It

Pregnancy changes not only your entire life, but also your body, in many ways. We often read about the common symptoms of pregnancy which include nausea, vomiting, fatigue and dizziness, to name a few. However, did you know that many women often experience severe and regular headaches during pregnancy?

Hormones can be blamed for most of the pregnancy-related problems, including frequent headaches. Therefore, this problem is usually the worst during the first trimester; as your pregnancy progresses and your body gets used to the hormonal fluctuations, the headaches should reduce.

Some of the other possible causes of headaches during pregnancy include –

  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress, anxiety or tension
  • Fatigue
  • Allergies
  • Strain on the eyes
  • Sinus congestion
  • Depression
  • Dehydration or hunger
  • Migraine
  • Overheating

At times, a combination of these factors could be causing headaches.

As some of the causes listed above are quite serious, it is best to consult a doctor in case you experience severe and frequent headaches during pregnancy.

How To Prevent Headaches While Pregnant

Many pregnant women find it difficult to get rid of a headache as medications should be strictly avoided. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent and relieve a headache during pregnancy. These include:

  • Eating right: The amount of food your body needs increases during pregnancy, but it is best to meet this requirement with small, frequent meals during the day. Eating regularly maintains an even blood sugar level, which keeps the headaches away. Make sure that your diet includes healthy foods like fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meat, nuts, seeds and dairy products.
  • Drinking fluids: Dehydration is one of the main causes of headaches during pregnancy. To avoid this problem, you should drink at least 8 glasses of water each day. Replace sodas and other caffeinated drinks with healthy beverages like fresh juice, coconut water and green tea.
  • Working out: During pregnancy, it is important to get at least half an hour of physical exercise each day.
    Try to go for a walk or jog each day. Swimming is also recommended for pregnant women.
  • Managing stress: There are several healthy ways in which you can reduce stress levels during pregnancy. Seek help if required from your family, relatives, friends and colleagues. Find some time to practice relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing and meditation. Spending an hour reading or listening to music can also be very relaxing for many women.
  • Getting adequate sleep: Fatigue and lack of sleep can cause or worsen headaches during pregnancy. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep and make sure that you go to bed around the same time each day.

Headache Relief During Pregnancy

When a headache does strike there are a few steps you can take to alleviate it –

  • Lie down in a dimly-lit room, with no noise.
  • Apply a warm compress like hot towel on your eyes, face and temples.
  • Have someone lightly massage your neck and shoulders or rub your temples.

While the above tips to relieve a headache will not cause any harm if done correctly, it is always advisable to check with your healthcare provider before practicing any of them. If the headaches do not get better in spite of trying the measures mentioned above, do speak to your doctor about it.

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