What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy?
When people discuss pregnancy woes, they usually mention nausea and lack of energy. Yet, many women are surprised to find headaches to be one of the most common symptoms women suffer during pregnancy. There is no one cause for these headaches, but many. This does not mean you are doomed to deal with headaches throughout your pregnancy. If you are aware of what causes them, you can likely prevent most headaches from happening at all.
The same factors that give many of us headaches in our everyday lives are also culprits in giving headaches to pregnant women. Stress, especially extreme emotional stress, which can be accentuated by your hormones during this time, is one of the main villains. Although it is impossible to avoid all stress, keep in mind that you and your baby are the most important things right now. If it is not a dire situation you may just have to say to your stress-inducer, “you are just not important enough right now,” and let it go. During pregnancy it is wise to keep your blood pressure at a normal level. If you get angry or upset during the day, do not punish yourself for it, just take the time to relax. This should help relieve the pressure. Not getting enough rest can also give you a headache. If this is the case, pencil in time for a short nap and make sure rest is a regular part of your schedule. Do not take pain medication for headaches unless you have approved it with your doctor.
Your eating habits can also give you headaches during pregnancy. By now most of us know that overeating is not the healthiest way to help your baby, but neither is eating as if you were not pregnant. Many pregnant women, in order to avoid random hunger and indigestion, eat several small meals or snacks during the day instead of three big meals. If you wait too long between meals and your blood sugar gets too low, this can give you a headache. Carry snacks with you, and if you start to feel bad, nibble those crackers or that fruit and see if you feel better. If you eat something that you do not normally eat, for example something very greasy when you never eat fried foods, you might also feel a little ill. Eat healthy and regularly and you will feel much better.
Where you work or spend your day might also have an effect. If you are working in an office in front of a computer all day, your back or neck will eventually get tired. This pain can transfer to your head. Lighting in offices tends to be bright with a lack of natural light. If these factors are getting to you and giving you headaches, change what you can in your work environment. Make sure your chair is ergonomic and bring a small pillow to cushion your back. Take breaks when you can. Stretch your legs out and rub your neck. If the lighting bothers you, during your breaks go to another room, a lounge or outdoors to give your eyes a rest. Eyesight can worsen slightly during pregnancy causing you to strain your eyes on a screen. If you have glasses or contacts, make sure you use them to avoid this cause of headaches.
Extreme temperatures can also cause headaches for pregnant women, especially the heat. If you spend the day where there is no air conditioning, do what you can to make sure you do not overheat. Open vents or a window to keep your area properly circulating with air. Use a fan, or sip on a cool drink regularly to stay hydrated. If you are too hot, there are places everyone can go to share the free AC such as a mall. You can stay as long as you need to.
If you have given up caffeine for your pregnancy, although many sources now do not believe a small amount, such as in one cup of coffee will be harmful to your baby, you are probably going to suffer caffeine withdrawal, which causes headaches. For a few weeks you will likely notice having a morning headache while your body readjusts to waking up without caffeine. If you are giving up smoking now that you are pregnant, you will also experience withdrawal symptoms, including headaches, for a period. You are doing what is best for your baby by making these sacrifices, but unless your doctor allows, you should not treat your withdrawal symptoms with other medicines, especially asprin—a blood-thinner, which can be dangerous during pregnancy for you and your baby. Eventually your body will get reaccustomed to life without nicotine or caffeine and you will feel yourself, albeit a bit sleepy, once again.