Migraine is a type of vascular headache caused by the blood vessels dilating and constricting in the head. When the blood vessels dilate, they cause severe pain and during pregnancy, the blood volume increases and hence the migraine headache attacks. The general symptoms of migraine during pregnancy are the same as for other migraines like, nausea, blurred vision or visual disturbances, severe throbbing pain on side of the head and so on.
Migraines almost disappear for some women during pregnancy and for some others, they may get worse or even happen for the first time. It is usual for the migraine to occur during the first trimester, and disappear during the second and third trimesters. But the consoling factor is that, despite the throbbing and severe pain for the mother, migraines do not pose a big direct threat to the fetus. So, an expectant mother has to take the help of a physician to confirm that the pain is from migraine and not because of any other cause.
The treatment for migraine during pregnancy is to maximize the relief as well as minimize the potential for fetal harm. But, the most ideal approach can be to prevent migraines and if it persists, try for natural methods, followed by medications. If the triggers of migraine are identified, it would be easier to prevent migraines.
Common dietary triggers for migraine are chocolate, cheese and coffee. Food preservatives, often found in processed meat can prompt migraines. Also, stress, loud noises, skipping meals, sleeping disturbances and bright lights can also trigger migraines.
It is sane to first try natural methods to alleviate migraine headaches during pregnancy. Relaxation techniques such as gentle yoga, meditation, and deep breathing may be helpful. Other methods are taking rest in a darkened room, cold packs and sleep. It is also suggested that regular exercises involving light walking can also be helpful to relieve migraines during pregnancy. Massage, performed by a prenatal massage therapist is another natural technique of reducing migraine headache and a safe natural treatment is acupuncture.
Generally, over-the-counter medications are not safe for pregnant women. Studies show that caffeine consumption in pregnant women must be limited to less than 300 mg per day. It is advisable for pregnant women to maintain a diary, which includes details as to when the headache happened, how long it lasted, what triggered it and so on. Such minute details may help in preventing further attacks of migraine headaches. Since triggers are different from one person to another it is important to maintain a diary. Preferably pregnant women should not take anything with aspirin unless prescribed by a health care provider.
Pregnancy is the time when a woman experiences physical and emotional changes and gives an overwhelming and exciting time for the expectant mother. At such a situation, migraine headaches may become severe or more frequent, but there are always treatment options. Therefore, if extra care is taken to identify the migraine triggers and find the treatment that is effective, pregnancy can be an enjoyable experience.
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