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Migraines when pregnant

Migraines are very intense headaches that usually affect only one side of the head. Expectant moms are very prone to migraine headaches.

What causes it?

There are a number of things that can cause migraines. If you are genetically predisposed to migraines, you’ll probably be at a higher risk of getting them while you are pregnant. Lack of sleep, and dehydration can also cause migraines. However, even if you stay well-rested and drink plenty of water, migraines can still occur. This is thought to be a factor of the hormones, particularly estrogen, that may interfere with normal neurochemical functioning and cause the blood vessels in your brain to swell. With these swollen vessels comes the migraine feeling that you know and…hate. Headaches could also be caused by an abrupt cessation of caffeine.


Acetaminophen is generally safe to take during pregnancy, and this can bring some relief from migraines. However, some migraine drugs are proven to cause birth defects, so it’s a good idea to avoid these. Proper rest and hydration could also play roles in the prevention or treatment of migraines. Applying heat to the front of the head, or ice to the back, could help you manage the pain as well. If your migraines are not improving, are incredibly intense, or are associated with an increase in blood pressure or vision changes, you should let your healthcare provider know immediately.

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Headaches and hormones: What’s the connection?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 11/13/2012. Web.
  • Yvonne Butler Tobah. “What can I do about headaches during pregnancy? I’d rather not take medication.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 8/11/2015. Web.
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