Headaches are a common problem during pregnancy especially during the first and the third trimester and can be worse if one has already been suffering from them earlier. As the body undergoes many changes during pregnancy, headaches result due to increase in hormones or some times due to high blood pressure known as preeclampsia. The two pregnancy hormones- estrogen, which increases 10 times and progesterone which increases 100 times in the 40 week of pregnancy triggers headaches . Other reasons include anxiety, tension, sinus, dehydration and low blood pressure, and low consumption of caffeine. Still other causes are physical and mental stress, backaches, wrong posture, increased hunger and lack of sleep etc. Although not dangerous, some headaches could be miserable like migraine at times.
Some headaches can be cured without medication with simple home remedies like a relaxing massage and a warm compress over the eyes and the head. Soaking one's feet in warm water or a warm bath or relaxing in a dark room could make one feel good. Since each body type is different and someone could even feel relaxed in a cool fresh breeze, others may require a cold compress on the back or on the head.
A sinus congestion which is often a cause for headaches, too - could be relieved by using a humidifier. A would-be-mother should consume 6-8 glasses of water to prevent dehydration and ensure sufficient amount of fluid in her body. Coconut water too works wonders for re-hydration. Consuming caffeine like soda or coffee could reduce certain headaches. A mother-to-be should never skip meals and be packed with energy foods like pulses, food grains, oatcakes, nuts and fruits at all times, though occasional junk food and snacks are no harm. Small portions should be consumed at shorter intervals instead of large helpings at longer intervals.
Loud music, smoke-filled unventilated rooms, overcrowded markets and drugs should be avoided. Cured meats and strong kinds of cheeses are strictly forbidden. Inhaling a few drops of peppermint oil also works for some. Maintaining a disciplined lifestyle and eating and sleeping at right intervals along with a small walk in the morning or evening would ensure a stress-free pregnancy. The expectant mother should stay calm and peaceful at all times, though occasional anxiety is unavoidable. The whole idea is to make sure that you are comfortable and stress-free all throughout your pregnancy, so that you do not have to face headaches.
Some unpleasant headaches cause blurriness of the vision, dizziness, throbbing and swelling of hands and feet or pain in the upper right abdomen or sudden weight gain. At times, one could take an acetaminophen but if the pain is acute and persists longer, it is advisable to take medical help especially towards the end of pregnancy during the third trimester where about 5% of women suffer from preeclampsia. These headaches are abnormal and their intensity should not be taken lightly. The right medication and complete bed rest must be taken when advised. It would not be right to take painkillers without medical guidance. Painkillers like ibuprofen and aspirin could harm the baby.