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How to Relieve Migraines During Pregnancy

How to Relieve Migraines During Pregnancy

Relentless throbbing pain of migraine during pregnancy can be disturbing and draining for the would-be mother. This HerHaleness article suggests ways in which you can alleviate migraines during pregnancy.
Anuya Waghmare
Migraines during pregnancy occur not only due to raging hormones. Scientists say that changes in the nerve pathways, chemical imbalance in the brain, or changes in the blood flow to the brain may also be the causes.
Migraines are throbbing and pounding headaches that typically last for hours or even days. They make you feel tired, nauseated, and highly sensitive to sound and light.

For some migraine sufferers, pregnancy alleviates its symptoms, whereas for some unlucky ones, pregnancy may have no effect on migraines and in fact, more frequent and severe migraines can occur. Some women may also have migraines for the first time during pregnancy.

Ways to Alleviate Migraine During Pregnancy

Avoiding Triggers

Stress, fatigue, loud noises, tobacco smoke, blazing lights, excess heat or cold, and certain foods, like chocolate, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, etc., are common triggers of migraine. Hence, avoiding these triggers will help keep migraines at bay.

Following a Routine

Sticking to a daily routine will help. Eat at regular intervals and avoid skipping meals. Sleep disturbances and fatigue are the most usual triggers of migraines. So, getting enough sleep is very important for your overall well-being.

Take Rest and Relax

Lying down in a quiet, dark room with a cold compress on your forehead or neck is one of the easiest ways of relieving migraine. If you suspect a migraine is surfacing, it is better to lie down earlier and stop it, rather than bearing its brunt.


» Doctors generally recommend to stay off medications during pregnancy unless they are really necessary. This is because effects of a drug on a pregnant or breastfeeding woman cannot be tested due to ethical reasons; hence, safety of drugs during pregnancy and their effects cannot be determined.

» The use of any drugs or medication during pregnancy needs to be discussed with your doctor so that the relative risks and benefits of the treatment can be considered and weighed.

» Many of the anti-migraine drugs used to treat or prevent migraines and its symptoms should be avoided during pregnancy because they have been linked to birth defects in babies. Some others are associated with pregnancy complications, like bleeding, miscarriage, or abnormal growth of the uterus and fetus.

» If you do need to take any medications, paracetamol has been considered safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

» Aspirin may also be taken during the first and second trimesters. However, it should be avoided near the expected time of childbirth as it can increase bleeding. Ibuprofen may also be taken, however, in limited dosage not exceeding 600 mg per day.

Preventive Treatment

If you have severe recurring migraine attacks, taking preventive treatment may stop these attacks or reduce their severity. Antidepressants like amitriptyline and fluoxetine or a class of drugs called beta-blockers like propranolol, atenolol, and labetalol are considered relatively safe during pregnancy.


Biofeedback is a special training that teaches people to control certain body functions and change what happens in your body. During this treatment, certain instruments measure physiological activity, and seeing this information may help you address the issue and deal with it. However, to learn and acquire the necessary skills, you need professional help. After you learn and master the technique, you can use it anywhere.


Some evidence shows that physical workout can reduce the severity and frequency of migraines. It helps reduce stress that is one of the triggers of migraine. If you are prone to migraines, start exercise slowly, as a sudden activity can cause a headache. You may start off by walking or doing any other gentle exercise. Don't exercise once a migraine has started as it will worsen the headache. It is better to lie down and wait till the pain subsides.

Always talk to your doctor before taking any drug therapy or treatment, be it natural or herbal. Also, be absolutely sure and double-check with your obstetrician or certified midwife about the safety of any kind of medications during pregnancy. Migraine pain may be agonizing; however, using the above ways can help relieve them during this new and wonderful phase of your life.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and should not be substituted for the advice of a medical professional.