Natural Remedies for Headaches in Pregnancy

Pregnant woman sitting in the bed with hand on her head
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Many women are hesitant to take medications during pregnancy — especially during the first trimester when their baby's organs are developing. So finding natural remedies for headaches in pregnancy can be a lifesaver.

Let's explore some natural remedies for both treating and preventing headaches during pregnancy.

Treatment

Here are a few ideas from the American Pregnancy Association:

  • For a sinus headache, apply a warm compress around your eyes and nose.
  • For a tension headache, use a cold compress or ice pack at the base of your neck.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals to maintain your blood sugar. This may even help prevent headaches.
  • Get a massage, especially around your shoulders and neck.
  • Rest in a dark room.
  • Practice deep breathing.
  • Take a warm shower or bath.
  • Use good posture, especially in the third trimester

Prevention

Preventing a headache from occurring in the first place is the most ideal solution. Here are simple, lifestyle habits that a woman who is pregnant can adopt to help stop the head pain before it starts.

This is especially true for women who suffer from migraines — although, good news is that many migraineurs experience relief of their migraines in the second and third trimester.

  • eating nutritious meals at regular intervals throughout the day
  • walking at least 30 minutes a day
  • sleep hygiene — not over or under sleeping
  • stress management techniques like yoga, biofeedback, or relaxation training
  • consider coenzyme Q10 or magnesium supplements for migraine prevention: Always speak to your doctor before taking any supplement or medication.

Other strategies include:

  • reducing work
  • drinking lots of fluids
  • acupuncture
  • physical therapy

What Should You Do?

Be sure to discuss your headaches with your doctor.

Let him know if you plan to take a new medication, or if these natural remedies do not relieve your headache. If your headaches get worse or more persistent, or if they are different than headaches you typically experience, share this with your physician right away.

Sources:

American Headache Society. (2015). Headache Toolbox: Pregnancy and Lactation – Migraine Management

American Headache Society. Headache Treatment in Children, Menstruation, Pregnancy and Lactation, Elderly, Renal Disease.

Anerican Pregnancy Association. (2015). Pregnancy and Headaches.

Cunningham, F. Gary, et al. “Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders.” Williams Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Mc-Graw Hill. pp. 1405-1407.

Macgregor EA. Headache in pregnancy. Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2014 Feb;20(1 Neurology of Pregnancy):128-47.