Headaches And Pregnancy

6 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

headaches and pregnancy

At the time of pregnancy, a woman can have headaches. It is that time in a woman’s life when she has to take extensive care of her health. Headaches during pregnancy can make her worried, yet, headaches during pregnancy are very common.

Generally, headaches do not cause harm to your health. But, they can be a symptom of other health issues sometimes. You need to understand what causes headaches and ways to tackle them. So, let’s discuss headaches and pregnancy in this article.

In This Article

Types of Headaches During Pregnancy

The majority of headaches experienced during pregnancy are primary headaches. A primary headache is not a symptom of an underlying disease or a sign of a pregnancy complication. While the pain from primary headaches can be incapacitating, they are not dangerous.

If you have headaches for more than half of the days in a month, they can be considered chronic. In any case, it’s worth learning about some of the most common types of pregnancy headaches.

The most common types of headaches during pregnancy are:

1. Tension headaches

Tension headaches account for approximately 26% of headaches experienced during pregnancy. These kinds of headaches are common during the first trimester of pregnancy.

It is during this phase that pregnant women start to undergo physical and emotional changes. Increasing blood volume, fluctuations in hormone levels, and mental strains contribute to tension headaches.

2. Migraine Headaches

Migraines are more than just headaches. It is a severe headache that usually occurs on one side of the head. Migraines are characterized by throbbing pain. Many women who are prone to migraines or have a migraine history found that their migraines improved during pregnancy.

Some women with a migraine history have fewer migraine attacks during pregnancy. In contrast, there are instances when many women did not experience any change in frequency and intensity of migraine headaches during pregnancy.

3. Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are rarely found among expecting mothers. It is distinguished by severe pain that appears suddenly around the eyes or temples. Cluster headaches typically occur at the same time each day.

4. Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches are common among pregnant women. This is because they are prone to nasal congestion and runny nose, especially during early pregnancy. These are characterized by pain and pressure around eyes and cheeks, brow, and forehead.

Common Symptoms of Headaches During Pregnancy

expecting woman with headacheHeadache pain may vary from person to person. Likewise, the signs of headaches vary with the type. Here are some common headache symptoms associated with the common type of headaches during pregnancy:

Tension Headache Symptoms

  • Tension headaches affect both sides of the head.
  • Headaches tend to start later in the day.
  • May experience squeezing pain around the head.
  • There may be some trouble focusing.
  • Muscle aches in and around jaw, shoulder, and neck.
  • Will not develop sensitivity to light and sound.

Migraine Headache Symptoms

  • Pulsating or throbbing pain usually on one side of the head.
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and smell.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Distorted vision.
  • Seeing flashes, different shapes, and bright spots.
  • Difficulty speaking.

Cluster Headache Symptoms

  • Watery eyes.
  • Intense pain starts behind one eye and radiates to the affected side’s forehead, temple, nose, and gums.
  • Drooping of the upper eyelid (of affected side).
  • Small pupil in one eye.

Sinus Headache Symptoms

  • Painful pressure in forehead and cheeks.
  • Swollen face.
  • Thick yellow nasal discharge.
  • Stuffy nose.
  • Pain worsens when bending over.

Causes of Headaches During Pregnancy

pregnant woman lying down with headache

Headaches during pregnancy have specific reasons behind them. Most women experience it during the first and third trimesters. One of the reasons for having headaches is the hormonal changes in the body of a woman in the pregnancy period. Yet, there are other causes of headaches during pregnancy as well. Let’s have a look at them.

1. Improper Sleeping

During Pregnancy, you have to make sure you are catching enough sleep. Without proper sleep, you can face many problems during your pregnancy, including headaches.

2. Abstaining From Caffeine

When you are pregnant, you may want to stay away from caffeine, which is present in tea, coffee, or cold drinks. However, the sudden change of habit may result in headaches because caffeine facilitates good sleep and you are not sleeping properly.

[Read : Is it Safe to Take Caffeine During Pregnancy?]

3. Low Blood Sugar

During pregnancy, your blood sugar level can fluctuate a lot. So, due to the low level of blood sugar, you can get headaches. By bringing back the blood sugar level to normal, you can get rid of the headache.

4. Stress

Yes, pregnancy can be stressful as well. If you are pregnant, then you will have lots of different types of emotions running through your mind and this stress can cause headaches.

5. Depression and Anxiety

During pregnancy, huge hormonal changes take place within the body. These also lead to various problems, such as depression and anxiety, inviting headaches.

[Read : Depression During Pregnancy]

What is the Treatment of Headaches During Pregnancy?

When you have headaches during pregnancy, you should consult your doctor. Also, you should abstain from taking any medicine without consulting the doctor.

1. Medication

Any medication needs to be approved by your doctor when you are pregnant. Persistent headaches can be a sign of underlying pregnancy issues like preeclampsia. Therefore speak to your doctor, who may advise safe medications.

2. Take Proper Rest

Not taking proper rest is a big reason for having headaches. Thus, you need to sleep well and rest well.

3. Stay Active

Exercising at the time of pregnancy is very important. You can attend yoga classes, especially for pregnant women. An active body during pregnancy will help you to fight off headaches.

4. Massage Shoulders and Neck

Massaging your neck and shoulders is a good way to stop your headache. It will help you to relax. You can also ask your partner to massage your neck to reduce the headache.

What Are the Home Remedies For Headache During Pregnancy?

You should only take medicines for headaches after a consultation with your doctor. In the meantime, if headaches are troubling you, then you can try some of the following home remedies.

1. Drink Adequate Water

You have to drink an adequate amount of water to get rid of headaches. You need to stay hydrated during pregnancy and therefore you need to drink 8 ounces of water during pregnancy.

[Read : How Much Water Should I Drink During Pregnancy?]

2. Hot and Cold Compress

For many reasons, the blood vessels of your head could expand or shrink. If this happens, you will have a headache. You can use a hot or cold compress to tackle this problem. It will reduce your problem of headaches.

3. Bite Ginger

Headaches during pregnancy will create a feeling of nausea. Biting ginger will help you to find relief from that feeling. Moreover, ginger is very much helpful in reducing headaches, as well.

4. Take a Nap

When you are having severe headaches, it will be difficult for you to sleep. Yet, taking a nap can be a very smart way of getting rid of the headache.

5. Have Lemon Juice

Drinking lemon juice every day is good for your health. The increased vitamin C level of your body will reduce headaches.

How to Prevent Headaches During Pregnancy?

As most of the medicines for headaches are not safe during pregnancy, it is always better to take steps to bring down the possibility of getting headaches during pregnancy. Here are a few ways which help to keep the headaches at bay during pregnancy:

  • Sleep deprivation is a common factor that contributes to headaches during pregnancy. Therefore, it is important to take steps to ensure you are getting adequate sleep.
  • Find out some ways to manage your stress. Breathing exercises and meditation are very effective relaxation techniques to control stress.
  • Eat healthy and do not skip meals. Stay hydrated.

We understand that headaches during pregnancy can be painful, but they can be managed with proper and preventive care. Do not take over-the-counter medications as they may not be a good idea when you are pregnant. Always consult your doctor before taking any medicine or even following home remedies.


1. Will the Headaches Subside After Pregnancy?

If they were caused by the hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy, yes they will most probably subside. If they don’t you need to consult a doctor. it could indicate some other issue.

2. Will My Baby Also Feel the Pain When I Suffer From Headaches During Pregnancy?

No, they cannot hurt your baby. Your baby is safe and sound behind many layers. Babies in the womb do not experience the pain the mother feels.

3. Can I Take my Usual Headache Medications While Pregnant?

No, you cannot consume any headache medications. It needs to be approved/ prescribed by your doctor.

4. Can My Prenatal Vitamins be Causing My Headaches?

Yes, in some cases your prenatal medicines might give you headaches. Not all medicines suit all pregnant women. If you suspect your medicines to be the cause, ask for a change.

Read Also: Migraines During Pregnancy – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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