14 Home Remedies for Headaches During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time when a woman is excited and nervous, thinking about that little bundle of joy who would bring so much joy in her life. Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes in a woman’s body and it also leads to several discomforts, such as headaches. Yes, experiencing headaches during pregnancy is as common as experiencing morning sickness, nausea, or fatigue. Headaches might occur at any time during pregnancy but they tend to be more common during the first and third trimesters. If you are pregnant and experiencing this symptom, you can, of course, consult a doctor or you should opt for natural remedies for headaches.
Is It Normal to Have Headaches During Pregnancy?
It is quite normal to have mild headaches during pregnancy, which are often triggered by a change in hormones. In the first few months of pregnancy, the headaches are very common. But the good thing is it improves as your pregnancy progresses.
Common Reasons for Headaches During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, hormonal changes and an increase in blood volume can lead to headaches. These are the most common causes of headaches in pregnancy. But there are several other reasons why you may experience headaches while pregnant.
In 1st Trimester
Headache during first trimester can be because of various reasons like:
- Surge of hormone
- Increase in blood volume
In 2nd and 3rd Trimester
Headaches during the second and third trimesters can be because of various reasons like:
- Lack of sleep
- Low blood sugar
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Poor posture
Natural Remedies for Headaches During Pregnancy
It is advisable to rely on home remedies to deal with the problem of headaches since medications should be taken only after consultations with doctors. In addition, there are probable side effects of medications on babies that need to be taken care of. So, try these natural ways to get rid of headache while pregnant.
1. Drink Lots of Water
Staying hydrated can help provide relief from headaches during pregnancy. In the pregnancy phase, it is important to stay hydrated in order to keep your body energized and ensure proper circulation of enzymes and proteins. Try to drink at least 8 ounces of water each day to prevent headaches.
2. Use a Cold Compress
During pregnancy, migraine can be caused due to expanded blood vessels in the head. A cold compress can help in tightening the blood vessels and shrinking the cells and thus help in alleviating the pain. You can use an ice pack if you like or you can make a cold compress at home. All you will need is a clean towel and a bowl of cold water. Dip the towel in water and squeeze out extra water. Lie down on a comfortable surface and place the towel on your forehead and eyes, and press it gently. A cold compress is known to provide relief from vascular headaches such as a migraine.
3. Use a Hot Compress
Shrinking of blood vessels can lead to low blood circulation, which may further cause headaches during pregnancy. Just like a cold compress, you can even try a hot compress. A hot compress helps in alleviating the pain by expanding the blood vessels and increasing the blood flow to the brain. Tension headaches are better treated with a hot compress. For hot compress, you will need a clean towel and a bowl of hot water. Soak the towel in the bowl of water and squeeze out the excess water; apply on the forehead or the base of the neck for relief.
4. Bite Some Ginger
Ginger has been used as a natural remedy for nausea. It also acts as a natural remedy for headache during pregnancy as it treats migraine. Ginger blocks prostaglandins, which stimulate muscle contraction and thus helps prevent headaches. If you don’t want to consume raw ginger, you can also make ginger tea. Here’s how you can make ginger tea.
- 1-inch long ginger root (grated)
- Some peppermint leaves (crushed)
- Half a lemon
Boil two cups of water over medium heat, then add the grated ginger and crushed peppermint leaves to it. Let it boil further for about five minutes more. Turn off the flame, and strain the water in a cup and squeeze half a lemon in it and stir. Ginger tea should provide you with quick relief from a headache.
5. Take a Nap or Practice Yoga
Sometimes, a lack of sleep can trigger headaches and migraines; so if you think you are experiencing a headache because of poor sleep, take a nap, and you will feel better. If you want to sleep longer, then do try anything that will make you feel better.
If you are feeling super-stressed, doing some yoga would be a good idea because of the multiple benefits it offers. Yoga will help lower your stress and help you sleep better. It will also make sure that your body gets the required exercise during pregnancy.
6. Try a Prenatal Massage
Go to a prenatal massage therapist to relieve the stress from shoulders, neck, and back. If going out to the therapist doesn’t work for you, then there are certain massages that can be done at home. Try rubbing your shoulders at the base of your skull and below your wrists. Be aware of trigger points that can induce contractions such as the point between the thumb and index finger, and avoid them.
7. Use Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil has a cooling effect on the skin and reduces tension. It also lessens headache sensitivity. Take a few drops of the peppermint oil in your palms and rub it in between your palms for a few seconds. Apply oil to the temples or forehead and massage for a minute. Do this before going to bed to see positive results.
8. Use Omega-3 Oil
Adding some oil in your diet helps in reducing inflammation. Omega 3 fatty acids that are found in fatty fish reduce the intensity and duration of headaches. Including olive oil and canola oil in the diet can increase the consumption of omega-3 oil. Alternatively, omega-3 fatty acid pills can also be taken.
9. Drink Lemon Juice
Lemon juice has numerous benefits, and fighting headaches is one of them. It also provides relief from stomach cramps and improves the immune system. Pregnancy can reduce vitamin C levels in the body, causing headaches. Lemon also flushes out toxins from the body and improves blood circulation and works as an antioxidant.
To prepare a lemon juice, you will need
- Half a lemon
- Some ginger grated (optional)
- A glass of hot (or warm) water
Squeeze the lemon into the water and stir in the ginger and drink. This is an effective method to treat a headache at home while pregnant.
10. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil also relaxes and soothes the skin. Therefore, massaging some oil onto the forehead can help reduce the pain.
11. Take a Nutritious Diet
If you want to prevent and cure annoying headaches, you must take adequate minerals and vitamins in your pregnancy diet. Your diet must include 2-3 servings of fresh fruits, 3-4 servings of leafy vegetables, six servings of whole grain foods packed with fibre and vitamins, and four servings of dairy and calcium-rich foods to meet the protein and calcium demands.
12. Relaxing Bath
Yes, taking a long relaxing steam bath or shower can help cure headaches during pregnancy. You can also put on some soothing music while taking a bath.
You must exercise three to four days a week for at least 20-30 minutes. Staying active helps release tension in the body and has a positive impact on body chemistry which in turn can decrease the risk of headaches.
14. Relax in a Dark Room
Escaping to a dark and quiet room for some time can help with headaches during pregnancy.
Additional Tips to Relieve Pregnancy Headaches
Here are some more tips that you can try to get relief from headaches in pregnancy –
- Have small meals throughout the day and ensure that you are consuming enough proteins.
- Put Epsom salts in your bath water and take a warm bath to relax.
- Try acupuncture to relieve the stress points of your body.
- Exercise regularly but don’t overdo.
- Avoid caffeine, as caffeine withdrawal can also trigger headaches.
- In the worst-case scenario, consider taking a paracetamol tablet (650 mg) if nothing else works.
- Get a massage around your shoulders and neck area.
- You can practice deep breathing.
- Use good posture, especially in the third trimester.
- Sip on your favourite herbal teas to relax your mind and body.
When to Consult a Doctor?
Generally, the headaches are very much manageable at home, but consult a doctor if:
- The pain becomes unbearable.
- If a headache is accompanied by a blurry vision or pain in the upper right abdomen and swelling in hands and face.
- A headache starts after six months of pregnancy, which might be a sign of toxaemia and preeclampsia.
- Headaches accompanied by vomiting.
1. Does Headaches During Pregnancy Mean I Am Having a Boy or Girl?
There can be various reasons why you might be having headaches during pregnancy. But there is scientifically proven evidence that headaches during pregnancy mean having a boy or a girl.
2. Can Headache Be a Sign of Pregnancy?
Yes, headaches can be the earliest signs of pregnancy. But you must get the pregnancy test done in order to confirm the pregnancy.
A headache is something that everyone experiences from time to time. However, it can be a major source of inconvenience during pregnancy. Try the above mentioned headache remedies while pregnant; but if the pain becomes unbearable, consult a doctor. Have a healthy and safe pregnancy!
1. Headaches during pregnancy; pregnancybirthbaby.org.au; https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/headaches-during-pregnancy
2. Headaches in Pregnancy; americanpregnancy.org; https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/headaches-and-pregnancy/
3. Headache Frequently a Cause for Concern Among Pregnant Women; headaches.org; https://headaches.org/headache-frequently-a-cause-for-concern-among-pregnant-women/
4. What can I do about headaches during pregnancy? I’d rather not take medication.; mayoclinic.org; https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/headaches-during-pregnancy/faq-20058265
5. Healthy diet during pregnancy; pregnancybirthbaby.org.au; https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/healthy-diet-during-pregnancy