Types of Severe Headaches during Pregnancy

Severe Headaches during PregnancySevere headaches during pregnancy are common and in particular in the first and third trimester. They are among the first symptoms that you will experience to notify you that you are expecting a baby. As the body prepares to host the angel, hormones are released in high concentrations. They are meant to expand the uterus and enhance the blood circulation to accommodate the fetus. Blood vessels in the brain dilate owing to the pressure and you start experiencing some grueling pains in the head. The headaches are more intense and come more often. As the pregnancy progresses the pains may increase or reduce in some women. Migraines that are experienced at this time are as a result of bad posture, fatigue and high blood pressure.

Most women cannot cut a line between the different types of severe headaches during pregnancy. Research indicates that they are several varieties of pregnancy headaches. However, 90% of head pains that are encountered when one is pregnant fall in three categories namely:

Types of Severe Headaches during Pregnancy

Tension headaches

Although they can occur at any given time while you are carrying a child, this type of headaches is a common phenomenon at the early stages of pregnancy. They are described as a throbbing pain on both sides of the head and at some times at the back of the neck. Mostly, they are caused by the fluctuations in the hormonal levels and the changes in the blood circulation. Also, they are believed to be worsened by depression, insomnia, fatigue, dehydration and caffeine withdrawal. These severe headaches during pregnancy can be minimized by changes in lifestyles. For instance, you can ensure that you are resting enough, having sufficient sleep, eating well, avoiding crowded environments and exercising regularly.

In addition, a cold or warm compress can work magic if placed on the pressure points. Medication during pregnancy is not recommended, but if it is the only option, let your doctor advice you accordingly. Over the counter drugs such as Paracetamol can be taken but do not overdo it. Acetaminophen is another painkiller that pregnant mothers should look out but only under prescription by a trained medical doctor. However, ibuprofen and aspirin must be avoided. They might treat severe headaches during pregnancy, but they will have caused an irreversible damage to the growing fetus.


Research experts have observed that at least 15% of sufferers of migraines had their very first one, when they were pregnant. Migraines are then a common condition in expectant women, but for those who had suffered them in the past, they decrease or go away entirely. The pains are caused by increased blood flow in the brain. They are some of the most popular severe headaches during pregnancy, which are encountered during the first trimester and later on as it progresses.

Migraines are characterized by a disturbing pain on the side of the head. Some can last up to 72 hours and the severity varies. They can be triggered by physical activities, change of environment and vision problems. Usually, they are accompanied with nausea, sensitivity to light or noise and vomiting. For some women severe headaches during pregnancy decrease after the first trimester whereas in others they worsen or stay the same.

Just like tension headaches, migraines too can be treated. Nevertheless, the course of action that you or your health care provider takes is solely dependent on the cause of the headache. Mostly, migraines are triggered by fatigue, bright light and strong smell. Resting in a dark room, as you do some deep breathing exercises may ward them off. Also, you can avoid stuffy environments.

Preeclampsia headaches

Preeclampsia is a condition that is experienced by a number of women during the second or third stage of pregnancy. Research has it that it affects 5-10% of all pregnancies. Its symptoms include a high concentration of protein in the urine and high blood pressure. They feature a persistent pain that is resistant to many common natural remedies and in some instances, medications. You will also find that this kind of severe headaches during pregnancywill come together with blurred vision, abrupt weight gain, swelling in the face and hands and pain in the upper right abdomen. Preeclampsia is a serious condition which should not be ignored. It is best to seek the help of a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

Severe headaches during pregnancy are harmless. They are normal but it is vital to establish their real cause. This makes it easier for you to apply the necessary measures to avoid or treat them. Also, it helps the doctor to find a suitable medication for your headaches. When you are pregnant anything you put in your system should be carefully screened. This emphasizes the importance of employing natural remedies until when they get out of hand. Even when severe headaches during pregnancy, become adamant, do not go for any medication before consulting your health care provider. It might cause health risks to the unborn child and ruin your happiness.

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