Headaches are among the most common symptom of pregnancy. Where they might be a slight inconvenience outside of pregnancy before Advil comes to the rescue, it can be more difficult to manage headaches when you’ve got a baby on the way because many OTC medications aren’t so safe to take. Try these safe and natural headache remedies to help you stay cool and comfortable when the tension hits.
Know your medications
Many medications that you might normally use to treat a headache are not safe to take during pregnancy. Most healthcare providers traditionally take the position that Tylenol (acetaminophen) is safe, or at least the safest, to take for headaches and other pains during pregnancy. However, negative side effects cannot be ruled out. You should be aware of the risks of any medication you take and speak with your healthcare provider before beginning any medication regimen.
Smaller meals more frequently
Many headaches are caused by low blood sugar, so eating small, frequent meals throughout the day rather than three large ones can help your blood sugar levels remain consistent, which could greatly help the discomfort. Research also indicates that foods high in magnesium, like spinach and pumpkin seeds, might be even more effective at providing relief.
Though many things can cause headaches, a lack of sleep is often a contributing culprit during pregnancy. Sleeping through the night can be difficult due to your growing belly, restless legs, and bi-hourly sprints to the bathroom, so making up on missed sleep during the day can be an effective way to help cut down on the discomfort. Napping throughout the day will also help you with a number of other symptoms and can increase your energy level as a whole. If you’re having a lot of difficulty sleeping through the night and you think it may contribute to your headaches, a pregnancy body pillow might be able to help you find a comfortable position.
Headaches often arise as the blood vessels in your head swell, so using a cold compress on your neck or forehead can help constrict your blood vessels (in a good way) and release the amount of pressure in your head. A good cold compress can not only numb the discomfort of a headache, but actually counteract the cause of many a headache – inflammation. A bag of frozen peas will do, but many women prefer using specially-designed headache relieving wraps.
Take a bath
Sinus headaches are easily remedied by warm water and steam, as they can open the sinus passage to help relieve much of the pressure. Taking a bath is also a great way to help you unwind, relax, and reduce stress, which could also greatly help you manage the discomfort of pregnancy headaches. You can even look into bubble bath soap, which could help take your relaxation time to the next level.
Acupuncture and acupressure
Although the hard science is still out on its efficacy, many women swear by the ancient holistic practice of acupuncture to help them get over a number of maladies during pregnancy, headaches included. Acupuncture is believed to help relieve stress and tension, both of which are major causes of headaches, by stimulating specific acupoints across the body. Acupuncture uses needles to accomplish this, while acupressure practitioners use their hands to stimulate these points. If you think acupuncture or acupressure could help you and you have the green light from your healthcare provider, it’s definitely worth looking into these options and finding local practitioners.
Lots of water…LOTS of it
You didn’t think we’d forget the most smartest, most natural, and most effective headache reliever, did you? Dehydration can contribute to or directly cause headaches and migraines, so staying hydrated throughout the day (and through the whole nine months) is an excellent way to help prevent headaches or manage them after their onset. Keeping a BPA-free water bottle with you will help you make sure that you’re getting all of the water that you need.