Safe Medicine for Headaches during Pregnancy

medicine for headaches

medicine for headaches

When you are absolutely in need for medicine for headaches during your pregnancy period, which drugs can you rely on to be safe for both you and the fetus? Many women are fearful about taking medication during pregnancy and for good reason too. Medical practitioners are always insisting on how it is a bad idea to medicate during pregnancy as it may result in abnormalities and birth defects in the fetus. However, at times it may be absolutely necessary to put the expectant woman under medication; especially medicine for headaches.

Such circumstances that may force medication are:

  • If the woman is suffering from diabetes or other such conditions.
  • If the woman is at a potential life-threatening situation
  • If the woman is experiencing severe migraines and all other curative means have failed thus necessitating the need for medicine for headaches.
  • If the woman is chronically ill… say cancer or another such illness.

Changes in medication during pregnancy

Thus begs the question as to which medicine for headaches are safe and can a woman certify for herself that the medication she has been placed under will not pose a potential risk for her unborn child?

Medication during pregnancy is a little tricky because when you are pregnant, the body is not functioning the same way as that of a woman who is not pregnant. There are many changes taking place within including:

  • Hormonal changes such as the increase in estrogen levels.
  • Increase blood volume levels
  • Changes in blood flow within the blood vessels and nerves.
  • Increased heart and kidney activity
  • Changes in woman’s weight

The above factors may work to cause constant headaches in the woman; and they could also work to change the way the body reacts to any medication including medicine for headaches. For instance, as a result of increased heart and kidney activity, you may find that medicine passes through the system very fast without getting sufficient time to function. As such, the dosage and mode of administration should be changed to for the specific needs of the expectant mother.

Safe and unsafe medicine for headaches

Prior to becoming pregnant, the woman may have resorted to taking aspirin and ipobrufen as medicine for headaches, but once, you are pregnant, they are no longer a viable option. This is because effects of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil and Mortin (falling under Ipobrufen) and Aleve (a naproxen) have basically not been researched on in determining what impact these have on the fetal development. When taken in the third trimester especially, they may have an effect as dire as a miscarriage and so they are highly discouraged during pregnancy.

Aspirin on the other hand has been shown to result in hemorrhage in the mother during childbirth and this could potentially lead to death thus eliminating it as medicine for headaches during this period.

Ergotamine may be prescribed as medicine for headaches for treatment of migraines in a woman who is not pregnant. During expectancy though, they heighten the risks on the fetus resulting in birth defects.

Also commonly prescribed for migraines is the divalproex sodium drug. This should not be taken by pregnant women because it has shown to cause defects in the unborn child.

Triptans are another medicine for headaches in the case of migraines. They are however not 100% reliable because even though they have proven to have no effects in animals, they have not undergone controlled trials in pregnant women.

When ingested in moderate amounts, Acetaminophen such as Tylenol is actually pretty safe for the mother and child and this is normally the medicine for headaches commonly prescribed for pregnant women. The emphasis is placed on taking the drug in moderation because an over dosage will lead to health complications for the mother which in turn will reflect in the fetal development.

Some beta-blockers, anti-depressants and narcotic arbotives are actually considered fairly safe medicine for headaches during pregnancy.

That having been said, you can see that there are certain medications that may be prescribed during pregnancy. However, they should be taken under the observation of your physician because as stated before, it is essentially a gamble for the lesser evil. Therefore keep tab of the medication you may be under and report back to your healthcare provider in case you experience any changes or undesirable effects.

When to immediately call your doctor

Sometimes a headache may develop into a migraine and eventually develop into something fairly potent such as preeclampsia. When should you call the doctor in the course of your medication? When you notice changes such as:

  • Cluster headache types
  • Prolonged duration of the headache
  • Headache accompanied by stiff neck
  • Sudden and unexplained occurrence of the headaches
  • Changes in type of headache or location of the pain. For instance you may be under medication for headaches treating tension headache and then you begin to experience sinus headaches. Let you doctor know.
  • Blurry vision
  • Pain in the right side of the abdomen
  • Fever
  • Swelling/puffiness in the hands and the feet

Continue reading The Expectant Woman’s Guide to Preventing Headaches