Headaches

 

Why are headaches common in pregnancy?  

Occasional mild headaches are very common, particularly in the first few weeks of pregnancy. These may be caused by hormonal changes, fluctuations in blood sugar levels and tiredness. Nausea and vomiting can cause dehydration, which can lead to headaches. It is not clear why, but some women also experience migraines for the first time in pregnancy.

When should I worry?

Headaches in pregnancy can usually be managed by having a light snack and a drink, then lying down in a darkened room. If you prefer to take analgesia, then paracetamol is usually considered safe. It is not advisable to take other over the counter remedies.

If you also have visual disturbances, or if the headaches are frequent, persistent, severe or getting worse despite taking the measures suggested, you should phone your GP or maternity unit for advice.

Depending on your stage of pregnancy and the symptoms you describe, you may be asked to come in to hospital to be reviewed. You will have your blood pressure checked and may need some blood tests to rule out more serious causes of headaches.