Persistent migraines during pregnancy can be more painful for a mommy-to-be. Enduring throbbing migraine attacks during pregnancy often puts women and her unborn child in a precarious situation. Therefore, it becomes imperative for women with history of migraines to become aware of certain facts regarding this health condition. If you are pregnant then possessing good knowledge about causes of migraines during pregnancy, its symptoms and ways of alleviating the pain can help you mitigate higher health risks.
Symptoms Of Migraines During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, migraines can affect one or both sides of your head and last for several hours. The severe head pain is often accompanied with neurological symptoms such as blurred vision, flashes of light, dizziness, tiredness, and numbness or tingling in your arm or leg. Do not mistake nausea and morning sickness as a side effect caused by your pregnancy as they can also be signs of a migraine. Be mindful of your receptiveness towards light and sound as a migraine may cause you to become extra sensitive.
Causes Of Migraines During Pregnancy
Fluctuating hormones may be the culprit behind migraine attacks during pregnancy, however, the hormones are not the only factor to garner blame. Chemical imbalances in the brain, changes in nerve passageways, and changes in the blood flow to the brain are some of the main reasons for migraines during pregnancy.
Hypertension, tiredness, excessive exposure to lights, loud noises and excessive heat or cold weather can also trigger severe migraines in pregnant women. If you are prone to stress, you are encouraged to watch out for signs of an oncoming migraine. Certain foods such as chocolate, artificial sweeteners and processed meats are also common triggers of a persistent migraine during pregnancy.
Here are a few ways you can reduce migraine pains during pregnancy:
1. Continuing physician-approved medications
If you have a history of migraines and have been taking medications prior to your pregnancy, then you will have to consult the doctor regarding the continuation of those medicines during your pregnancy. There are some migraine medicines that the doctor might ask you to avoid as they may not be safe for you or your baby during pregnancy. Medicines like acetaminophen and consumption of caffeine are shown by medical research to be effective in countering the pregnancy migraine. However, excessive use of caffeine should be avoided when you are pregnant. In some cases, caffeine is found to trigger migraines. So it is best to consult your doctor before taking any medications.
2. Meditation and breathing exercises
Studies suggest that meditation, massage, and yoga can be effective at providing relief from migraines. Healing therapies such as body massages, acupuncture, biofeedback and a few breathing techniques can also help in bringing down stress levels that are often believed to trigger migraines during pregnancy.
3. Tracking eating habits
Sometimes allergies to certain foods also trigger pregnancy migraines. Tracking your food habits during pregnancy prior to experiencing a migraine attack can help you figure the root cause of your migraine pain.
4. Staying away from stress
Take precautions to avoid the common triggers. Avoid smoking or alcohol consumption. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is very important. Sleep deprivation and tiredness can increase the occurrence of migraine attacks.
5. Performing light excercise
Enroll in light aerobic classes and take up exercises such as walking, swimming and yoga to reduce the occurrence and severity of migraine attacks during pregnancy. Avoid hitting the gym too hard during pregnancy as extreme forms of exercise can only worsen the symptoms.
Consult your physician if the frequency of pregnancy migraines increases. Get screened for other complications and health risks that pregnancy migraines may pose. Proper medical advice will help you to reduce the chances of hypertension, preeclampsia, and other vascular disorders that are triggered by migraines in many pregnant women. With necessary precautions, you can avoid pregnancy migraines and alleviate the pain.
Image Credit: Craig Larsen