Pregnancy can make one endure different types of aches and pains in different parts of body every other day. Headaches, however, are one of the most common problems that occur during pregnancy. In fact, according to a study, 39 percent of pregnant women experience severe headaches during their pregnancy as well as the postpartum period1.
While headaches during the different trimesters of pregnancy have their signs of health problems, they are generally not harmful. From lack of sleep and stress to hormonal changes and other symptomatic pregnancy complications, headaches can be caused by several things. This article breaks down the probable causes of headache in each trimester as well as seven home remedies that will provide you with pregnancy headache relief.
What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy?
As discussed earlier, many reasons can contribute to mild and severe headaches. Every woman experiences a different kind of headache. You may just have an incessant dull ache, or pulsating and throbbing aches, or even sharp pain behind your eyes. Occurrence of nausea and vomiting along with severe pain is common as well.
Headaches during first trimester
During the stages of early pregnancy or the first trimester, you might often have tension headaches. TTH or tension-type headaches are seen in 26% of all pregnant women who suffer from headaches2. This kind of headache is quite harmless and usually occurs because your body is going through a lot of changes at a time.
Now, changes in your body include but are not limited to hormonal changes, changes in the volume of blood, or change in body weight.
Headaches during pregnancy first trimestercan also be caused by not eating a balanced diet, improper sleeping, too much stress and anxiety, sudden removal of caffeine from daily intake, too little or too much physical activity as well as dehydration and low levels of blood sugar. Apart from these, foods that you usually crave during early pregnancies such as dairy products, chocolates, and even tomatoes can be the culprit behind recurrent headaches.
Headaches during second and third trimester
As for headaches during the second and third trimester, they can be caused due to the extra weight that you might have put on as well as due to sleeping less. One of the main concerns when it comes to headaches during this period is one of their common causes, high blood pressure.
Other than headaches, elevated blood pressure can also depict severe health complications such as eclampsia, preeclampsia, and complications with the baby or placenta, among other such things.
Secondary headaches that occur due to such high blood pressure might also indicate idiopathic intracranial hypertension, choriocarcinoma, cerebral venous thrombosis, and even stroke.
Now that we have discussed the viable causes of headaches during different stages of pregnancy, let us answer the question of how to get rid of a headache while pregnant.
7 Home Remedies For Headache During Pregnancy
It is recommended for pregnant women experiencing primary headaches to seek natural remedies instead of medications. You can find a lot of home remedies for headaches during pregnancy online but executing them without proper research can be harmful to you as well as your baby. To make your job easier, we have listed down seven remedies that will naturally relieve headache during pregnancy, minus any risks.
1. Don’t forget to drink water
While this might seem like a no-brainer, you will be surprised at how often pregnant women forget to drink water during the day. Moreover, dehydration is one of the most common causes of headaches while being pregnant. Staying hydrated throughout the term is one of the best and easiest home remedies for headache during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, your body needs more water than usual as you need to produce more blood for your amniotic fluid and thus, it is easier for you to get dehydrated. To make sure that you are drinking enough water, keep a track of the bottles or glasses of water you are drinking throughout the day.
It is recommended to drink at least 10 glasses of water with 8 ounces in capacity every day. To trick your body into holding onto more water, you can nibble on some salty crackers now and then.
2. Apply or inhale peppermint oil
Another one of the most common home remedies for headache during pregnancy is the application of peppermint essential oil on your forehead. Peppermint oil has a very calming and cooling effect on your skin and it reduces the tension built up in the muscles as well.
A quick way to cure headache during pregnancy is to take a few drops of peppermint essential oil from a good and trustworthy brand in your palms and rub the two palms against each other for a good few minutes. Then apply the oil to your forehead with the help of your palms and massage it for a while.
Another method of using peppermint oil is to inhale it. Heat a bowl of water and then add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to it. Inhale the steam to clean up congested noses, fix muscle aches, and get rid of nausea.
Related Reading: What Teas Are Safe To Drink While Pregnant?
3. Pregnancy headache can be treated with ginger
If you are wondering what can you take for a headache while pregnant, the answer is ginger. Ginger is a very beneficial food and is not only one of the best home remedies for headache during pregnancy but also a remedy for various other problems such as reducing inflammation, relieving nausea and pain, as well as improving digestion.
Ginger is a great remedy to treat stubborn migraines as it encourages and stimulates muscle contraction. Ginger can be either taken completely raw or can also be made into a fresh cup of tea. To make it into a tea, grate some ginger and add it to a cup of boiling water along with a few crushed peppermint leaves. Pour into a cup and then add the juice of half a lemon into it.
4. For headache during pregnancy, try a cold compress
If you are experiencing migraine headaches, you can try a cold compress. It tightens the blood vessels as well as numbs the area where the pack is applied and thus dulls the pain a bit. Like some of the other most common home remedies for headache during pregnancy, cold compresses will help you get rid of the headache as well as other accompanying symptoms like nausea and muscle ache.
You can either use an ice pack as a cold compress or make your own. Simply pour some cold water or water with ice into a bowl and dip a piece of cloth into it and wring it. Get into a comfortable lying position in your bed or sofa and then neatly fold the cloth and place it on your forehead. You will instantly feel refreshed and energized and find your headache gone after repeating it a few times.
Related Reading: 12 Important And Practical Tips For Normal Delivery
5. Use a warm compress
While migraines can be treated with a cold compress, the best way to get rid of headache while pregnant that are tension-type headaches and muscle contraction headaches is a warm compress.
To alleviate the pain, soak a clean piece of cloth in warm water and wring the excess water out. You can either apply it to your head or your neck, depending on where you want to relieve the pain from. Make sure that the water is not too hot or it can lead to a minor burn on your skin.
6. Drink some lemon juice
This is perhaps one of the most common home remedies for headache during pregnancyand is already practiced by a majority of pregnant women and common people as well. Lemon juice is known to be quite beneficial and can prevent a range of problems including common cold, cramps, indigestion, and even improves the body’s immune system.
Related Reading: Can Lemon Water During Pregnancy Cause Abortion?
Pregnancy can often lower the amount of vitamin C present in one’s body and thus cause several complications including headaches, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and anemia. To increase the intake of vitamin C during pregnancy, add some lemon juice and grated ginger (if you want) into hot water and drink it every morning. It is advised by numerous doctors to steer clear of unnecessary vitamin supplements during pregnancy, including vitamin C.
7. Make sure you take ample rest
Between preparing for your baby’s arrival and your daily working schedule, it is common to forget resting and sleeping properly. And whatever rest you may be getting may not be comfortable. Sleep can be disturbed and you may have trouble lying down.
One of the simplest home remedies for headache during pregnancy that you can do is to give the stressed and anxiety-ridden mind of yours some much-needed sleep. Sleeping can help your body to rest and re-energize and get rid of stubborn headaches. You will surely feel much more refreshed and rejuvenated once you have rested. Even a short nap for an hour or two will do you wonders.
Thus, these were some of the most popular and effective ways to naturally relieve headache during pregnancy. While primary headaches that induce low and bearable pain are best treated via home remedies, secondary headaches, which result in severe recurring aches, must be immediately reported to a healthcare provider as it might be a symptom of an underlying disease.