Experiencing headaches during pregnancy seems to be a very common occurrence amongst women. Headaches occur due to a combined effect of hormones and fatigue that the woman experiences during her first and last trimester. Generally, the headaches ease off sometime during the second trimester.
Causes of Headaches During Pregnancy
The headaches primarily occur due to a surge in the hormones especially in the critical first trimester. Lack of rest, fatigue, difficulties in vision and stress may exacerbate the symptoms of headaches.
Lack of Sleep
Not getting enough sleep during your pregnancy can lead to severe headaches. This happens when the brain has been continuously sleep deprived. As a result, you may wake up with a pounding headache especially when you have not had 7-8 hours of sleep.
Low Blood Sugar
An important thing, which pregnant women neglect, is eating timely meals. Not eating something every 2 hours can lead to a dip in your blood sugar levels.
This is manifested in the form of a headache. People routinely experience headaches when the brain has been starved of glucose for a long time.
The growing demands of the foetus are likely to increase your requirement of water and you are more likely to suffer from dehydration now. Extreme fluid loss can lead to vicious headaches.
If you have reduced your consumption of coffee and tea during your pregnancy, this is likely to leave you with a headache. Even normal people who are addicted to tea and coffee experience headaches when they do not get their regular dose of caffeine.
Pregnant women undergo several lifestyle changes. They gain weight, bloat and generally feel anxious about the impending birth of the child. This can lead to stress and stress in turn can cause headaches.
High Blood Pressure
Uncontrolled high blood pressure especially during the last trimester can lead to headaches.
How To Deal With Headaches During Pregnancy
Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some ways by which you can prevent the onset of a headache. Preventing a headache is better because there is a restriction on the kind of medicines you can consume should you have a headache.
Practice Good Posture
Most women complain of headaches during their last trimester due to an incorrect posture and an increase in the baby’s weight. This causes women to bend forwards and strain their neck and spine.
Excessive strain on the neck and the spine can lead to headaches. Try to sit and stand straight even though it may be uncomfortable. Use pillows and cushions to support your back while you are sitting. Walk around as much as you can so that your body remains exercised. This will also relieve pressure from your spine. Do spinal and back exercises to keep the back fit.
Fatigue can lead to headaches. If you are not getting quality sleep at night, try reading a book or taking a walk before you hit the bed. A warm glass of milk may also help. Rest is crucial to prevent fatigue and headaches. Rest and relaxation will help you to feel positive and upbeat.
Exercise is one of the best remedies for a headache. It helps promote blood circulation and eases stress and tension from the body. It helps to release feel good hormones that reduce headaches.
The fresh air of the morning may also help to alleviate your headache. Regular exercise will help to prevent weight gain and unnecessary pressure on your spine.
Eat Nutritious Meals
Hunger can bring on a headache. Therefore, it is important to eat healthy and nutritious foods every 2-3 hours. These will keep you satiated, prevent hunger pangs and keep your blood sugar from dipping too low. Women who eat every 2 hours during their pregnancy are less likely to suffer from headaches and are also able to have healthier babies.
Alternating hot and cold packs may help to reduce your headache and make you feel much better. This is better than popping pills as pills will do you more harm than good. A warm compress especially in the case of severe migraines may give you some relief.
Ask someone to give you a nice head massage. In fact do this on a daily basis. It will reduce stress, increase blood circulation and may prevent the onset of a headache.
Stress can increase the incidence of migraines especially if you are prone to them. Try to stay happy always. Delegate important chores to other members of the family so that you get optimum rest. Put your feet up and relax. Get involved in a hobby, which will keep you happily distracted. Stay in touch with like-minded people and close friends who will help you to stay calm and reassured.
Sleep with the Lights Out
Migraine sufferers are likely to feel uncomfortable with too many lights on. Try to draw the blinds or sleep in a dark room until your headache eases off. Sensitivity to light can exacerbate the headache.
Women who suffer from migraines during their pregnancy can easily identify common food culprits that lead to a headache. Avoid these at all costs. These triggers include chocolate, alcohol, cheese, peanuts, curd, bread and yeast products. Stick to warm foods that help you to feel better.
Fluid loss and excessive thirst can give you a splitting headache. While it may not be possible to gulp down bottles and bottles of water, it makes utter sense to keep sipping on fluids throughout the day.
Sip on juices, soups, coconut water and plain water. Try green tea or ginger tea if it makes you feel better.
Headache Signs that You Should Not Ignore
If your headaches are accompanied by weight gain, blurred vision that do not reduce with time, see a doctor immediately. These could be the very first signs of preeclampsia, a condition that occurs when women suffer from very high blood pressure. It is also important to see a doctor if your headaches do not find any relief with the above remedies.