headache during pregnancy

One of the symptoms that can be very present throughout pregnancy is headache. However, it is necessary to know how to distinguish when it is simple fatigue or if the intensity of the pain may be a sign of another disease, which deserves specialized attention during pregnancy. 

Headache is, according to the Clinic Barcelona portal, a symptom that refers to any type of pain in the region of the head. Of this, up to 150 types are recognized, but they are generally classified into primary and secondary headaches .

The primary ones are those in which the headache has its own characteristics and is not derived from any other pathology. On the other hand, secondary headaches are those that are the consequence of a disease and are accompanied by other symptoms. 

According to some known medical statistics, 50% of the world’s adult population is affected by headaches several times in their lives, so occasionally feeling pins and needles in the head is a symptom suffered by many people regardless of sex, race, age or geographic location.

But what happens when a woman experiences a headache during pregnancy? Fortunately, in most cases it is a discomfort due to lack of rest, stress, anxiety and other daily situations, without representing any danger to the fetus.

If we do a quick survey, many women could say that after taking several pregnancy tests to check the positive result, they felt a headache because of all the emotions and nerves they experienced at that time. Most likely, their partners also felt the same discomfort, accompanied by joy knowing that they would soon have a new member in the family.

In these cases, a paracetamol pill is the most common answer when the doctor is asked what to take for a headache? However, under no circumstances should pregnant women self-medicate or use medication without the advice of their gynecologist, although it is a harmless headache. 

What to do if you have a severe headache?

Tension headache occurs in many pregnant women: a frontal headache that worsens with anxiety, muscle pain, emotional tension, among other conditions that are normal in advancing pregnancy trimesters.

This headache can also cause pain in the back of the neck and the woman may feel a pressure on her head as if she were wearing a helmet. For this type of headache, mild analgesics are used, such as paracetamol, and rest is indicated, as well as the use of cold cloths on the forehead.

Now, if during gynecological consultations you have had high blood pressure levels, it is likely that intense and frequent headaches are symptoms of preeclampsia. 

When the headache becomes a risk

Preeclampsia is a disease that affects pregnant women, characterized by high blood pressure, fluid retention and the presence of protein in the urine. If not treated promptly, it can trigger seizures and brain hemorrhages.

Interestingly, one of the most alarming signs of this condition is an intense headache in the region of the neck, which appears suddenly, accompanied by other symptoms such as disorientation, drowsiness, flashing vision, nausea or abdominal pain. 

If you have several of these symptoms during pregnancy, you should go to the emergency room quickly, since the priority is to control hypertension so that the headache subsides and, in a timely manner, receive the necessary treatment.

On the other hand, the risk of preeclampsia is in making a late detection, since it can be discovered when there is kidney failure or when the life of the baby and the mother is at risk due to premature delivery. Therefore, it is important to know your blood pressure levels and follow all medical instructions to reduce the risks of preeclampsia .

Harmless headaches and alternative treatments

If the future mother has a history of headaches associated with migraines, it is very likely that these will recur several times during pregnancy, without representing an alarm signal.

As we already mentioned, as pregnancy progresses, muscular tensions in women, as well as anxiety and stress, coupled with high levels of progesterone and estrogen, increase the chances of suffering from these harmless headaches. 

Naturally, having a headache in pregnancy, what to take that will not harm the baby is the main concern of expectant mothers. For this reason, alternative treatments that dispense with the use of drugs can be used, such as relaxation techniques, anti-stress massages and, in some cases, digitopuncture, if the doctor allows it. 

Many of the traditional Chinese medicine techniques can relieve these tension pains, but they must be authorized by your doctor and performed by professionals.

However, at home you can also apply some measures to relieve tension headache during pregnancy. Start by lying down and turning off all the lights, asking your family or partner to avoid turning on the radio or television, because the silence in the whole place will help you relax.

You can also place an ice pack on the region where the pain is most intense or, if you prefer, you can use cloths soaked in cold water. 

At the end of the day, the most important thing in these cases is to learn to control your anxiety and stress levels, because as the pregnancy progresses, the fetus becomes more receptive and susceptible to all the stimuli it receives from the outside, including emotional changes in Mother. 

Practice yoga, meditation, go for a walk for an hour daily and if you like being in contact with nature, try taking your walk in natural parks that help you relax. Similarly, avoid situations that alter your emotional state and try to stay calm most of the time, because everything you feel, your baby will also feel. 

Finally, do not forget that if the headache becomes more intense, your feet begin to swell and you experience nausea or vomiting, you should go to the doctor to find out if it is another pathology that may affect your pregnancy, receiving the necessary treatment. to protect the life of the baby and yours. 

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