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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.
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.
- Poor posture
- Lack of sleep
- Low blood sugar
- Caffeine withdrawal
Natural Remedies for Headaches During Pregnancy
It is advisable to rely on home remedies to deal with the problem of headache 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 following home remedies, and you might be able to relieve yourself of a headache without any medications.
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.
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.
Generally, these headaches are very much manageable at homes, but consult a doctor might be needed 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.
A headache is something that everyone experiences from time to time. However, it can be a major source of inconvenience during pregnancy. Try the home remedies mentioned above; but if the pain becomes unbearable, consult a doctor. Have a healthy and safe pregnancy!