Causes of Migraines During Pregnancy
Migraines are more common in women, but the exact reasons they occur is not clear. Certain actions are known to trigger migraines.
Common migraine triggers include:
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Nitrates and other chemicals used for food preservation
- Hunger or irregular eating patterns
- Weather changes
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a food additive
- Caffeine, increased or decreased intake
- Artificial sweeteners
- Hormonal changes
Keeping a Migraine Diary in Pregnancy
Recording information about your migraines can help determine your triggers. When you experience a migraine, write down when the headache started. It is also helpful to record what you were doing when the migraine started and any food or drinks you consumed during the past 24 hours. Note any weather changes or changes in sleep or activity.
Treatment of Migraines During Pregnancy
Be sure to report all headaches to your OB/GYN. Do not take any migraine medications (including aspirin) without first talking to your obstetrician. Many common migraine medications are not recommended for use during pregnancy, since they can cause birth defects.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can usually be safely taken during pregnancy. The following non-drug therapies may also be helpful:
- Resting in a dark room
- Relaxation techniques
- Cool compresses
- Increase fluid intake
- Maintaining blood sugar levels with small, frequent meals
If your migraine is not relieved with these therapies or you experience an increase in migraine frequency or intensity, nausea or vomiting occurs, or your migraines disrupt your daily life, report this to your OB/GYN.
Many women experience relief from migraines as the pregnancy advances.