Some pregnant women find they get lots of headaches. They are most common in early pregnancy and usually improve or stop completely during the last 6 months.
Normal headaches don’t harm your baby, but they can be uncomfortable for you.
Headaches can sometimes be a symptom of pre-eclampsia, a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually from around after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the last few weeks of pregnancy or soon after the baby is delivered. Pre-eclampsia can lead to serious complications if it’s not monitored and treated.
Consult with your doctor if you have:
- severe headache
- problems with vision, such as blurring or seeing flashing lights
- pain just below your ribs
- a sudden increase in swelling of your face, hands, feet or ankles
Any of these could be signs of pre-eclampsia and need to be checked.
How to cope with headaches during pregnancy?
- Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
- Get enough sleep
- Rest and relax – you could try a pregnancy yoga class, for example
- Take Paracetamol medicine. It has no harmful effects in the mother or baby. However, you should take it for the shortest possible time, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and consult with your doctor.
Good to know: Other than normal intake of paracetamol, do not take other medicine by yourself. There are some painkillers you should avoid in pregnancy – such as those containing codeine, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen – unless prescribed by your doctor. These painkillers may have to be used rationally due to gestational age.
- Headaches in Pregnancy, American Pregnancy Association (https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/headaches-and-pregnancy/)
- Why Do Women Experience Pregnancy Headaches?, Cleveland Clinic (https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-do-women-experience-pregnancy-headaches/)
- Headaches while Pregnant, National Health Service (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/headaches-pregnant/ )