The Difference between Pregnancy Headaches and Migraines


Pregnancy headaches

Pregnancy headaches

Pregnancy headaches are not uncommon when a woman is expecting a bay, and they could happen in any trimester. Most pregnant women have however confessed that the headaches were common during the first trimester of pregnancy and were rare or unlikely during the other trimesters of their pregnancy. If you are experiencing headaches during your last trimester, then consider it a symptom of something serious and seek medical attention immediately. New studies have revealed that some headaches can be signs of neurological problems and they should not be taken for granted. About 10% of women who reported headaches during pregnancy have complications during pregnancy.

At certain times, pregnancy headaches may be a combination of tension-triggered headaches and migraines. Other headaches may be caused by dehydration, wrong posture during pregnancy, wearing an unfitting bra, hormonal changes, and a drop in blood sugar levels or because of dropping certain habits such as smoking, taking coffee or particular types of food. It is advisable to write down your symptoms when you see them. For example, you may want to note how long the headache takes, does it occur on one side of the head or the entire head, does it occur during specific times during the day, is it because of certain triggers and what are they? … and so on.

While pregnancy headaches are different from one case to the other, migraines are a type of headaches that every pregnant woman should beware of. This is because they cause a condition called eclampsia, which is characterized by fluid retention. Severe ones also cause vision problems, pain below the ribs and may cause serious complications. Since it is difficult to ascertain you have a migraine while pregnant, make sure you are not silent about any pregnancy headaches.

How can you differentiate a Pregnancy headache from a migraine?

For starters, pregnancy headaches occur without warning. They can be triggered by various factors such as stress, not having the right kind of diet or not relaxing enough or even lack of enough oxygen reaching the brain. To remedy this, you can find out the triggers, take plenty of water and ensure that you retire to bed early to ensure you get enough rest. On the other hand, migraines have warning signs. This could be paleness, fatigue, stomach upsets or abdominal pains.

A characteristic of Migraines is the throbbing pain that seems to be one sided. Pregnancy headacheson the other handare characterized by pain all over the head. Migraines can also be aggravated by activities like bending forward while the other type of headache does not deter you from going on with your day-to-day activity. The pains are also not severe.

Migraines may cause loss of appetite or poor eating habits. While pregnancy headaches do not bring with them a lack of appetite, a drop in blood sugar levels may cause such and thus it is paramount not only to eat a balanced diet but also to eat small portions throughout the day to maintain your blood sugar level and prevent it.

Pregnancy headaches do not make one sensitive to light. Migraines cause one to be light sensitive. They also make one pale; bring a fever with it causing changes in body temperature. While sensitivity to noise, smell and irritability is common to pregnant women, migraines cause these symptoms to be aggravated.

Migraines may cause one to have blurred vision or visual problems and this is not experienced while having pregnancy headaches. The blurred vision is normally confused with increase in blood sugar levels and you therefore need to consult your physician to get the right diagnosis and not rely on advice from non-professionals.

Migraines are notorious for starting just before one sleeps but this is not so with pregnancyheadaches.If you find yourself lacking sleep, feeling fatigued or getting dizzy spells in addition to the characteristics listed above, you need to visit your doctor.

New studies have shown that migraines are not likely to occur during pregnancy. This is because the hormone that takes care of pregnancy, replaces the hormone progesterone during the menstrual cycle, which is known to bring a lot of tension and increase migraines during this period. In fact, studies have revealed that if you were accustomed to having migraines before pregnancy, when you become pregnant they are bound to decrease. This is one reason why increase in migraines during pregnancy is a red flag that should not be taken lightly.


You may want to talk to your physician to find out a remedy for your pregnancy headaches. Do not assume that some symptoms are common during pregnancy. While pregnant, the changes that come with the body change causes symptoms that are similar to migraines and since it is not comprehensive to conclude or diagnose a condition based on symptoms alone, consult your doctor so he can decide whether further tests or brain imaging is needed.