Home / Headaches: causes, differential diagnosis, therapy, prevention / Causes, prevention and treatment of headache in pregnant women

Causes, prevention and treatment of headache in pregnant women

The Joy of expecting a child is often marked by sickness or bad health, even for those women who have never had any complaints. One of the most common unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy is headache, which is sufficiently intense and prolonged, and there is no opportunity to accept the saving tablet. Fear of harming the baby makes to endure the pain, which, however, is no less detrimental effect on the fetus.

Headache in pregnant

Medicine is proven that pregnancy exacerbates chronic and latent diseases, and often identify a congenital or acquired pathology. Why doctors pay close attention to the signs, which previously (before pregnancy) were observed. Harder to identify the problem and correct the condition of those patients who has been suffering from headaches.

Scientists have long identified that people who are in pain, is in a state of great stress that leads to hormonal imbalance. The pain to endure harmful, and many drugs, tablets to drink it is dangerous. What to do? The first step is to determine the nature of pain and to trace the regularity of its occurrence. This will help to find the most effective ways to eliminate pain, so he will not be harmed neither the mother nor the child.


In medicine there is a classification of headaches in her typing. The primary category includes the following pathology:

  • headache;
  • the pain of tension;
  • the pain cluster (episodic);
  • other primary pain.

The Term "primary" refers to the absence of other causes of pain.

Migraine is a common female problem. This is a painful attack that lasts from several hours to several days, characterized by unilateral throbbing, pulsating pain in the temple, forehead, crown, and accompanied by nausea, vomiting, photophobia and phonophobia.

In moments of attack it's hard to turn your head to look at light and loud noises and physical stress cause increased pain. The nature of migraine is not fully understood, as well as invented a highly effective treatment regimens.

typification of headaches in pregnant

The Pain of tension – dull pain in the occiput, crown, forehead, caused by a spasm of the muscles of the head and neck. Occurs in moments of overexertion, stress, lack of sleep, long hours and sitting at a computer.

The Pain of cluster – a rare phenomenon in medical practice. Night attacks, sudden throbbing pain affected mostly men.

Secondary headache develops as a result of blunt-force trauma (blows to the head, a fall), vascular disorders (hypertension of different nature), metabolic disorders, infections (influenza, SARS), of complications after infection (meningitis), as a result of the influence of various chemicals and medicines. Aside neuralgia of the trigeminal and facial nerves.

In practice, there are cases when the cause of the headache is difficult to determine, as a pregnant are no identified deviations in health status, the attack develops suddenly, without any reason. Such States are defined as not classified headaches in pregnant women.

tension Headache

Tension Headaches is most often diagnosed in pregnant women after 33 years. Part of the process is that at this age, expectant mothers have greater responsibility for the life of the unborn child, that contributes to stress. Other factors in the development of tension headaches are:

  • emotionalism
  • nervousness
  • infectious disease
  • toothache
  • Smoking
  • driving a car
  • excessive consumption of beverages containing caffeine (tea, coffee)
  • prolonged tension of the neck and shoulder (computer work, needlework).

The Pain of bilateral tension, pulling, compressing, continuous, and especially pain are concentrated in the head and neck. Often women think that pain's the skin under the hair, so it's tempting to RUB, to massage the surface of the head. This intuitive action is the right action, because it increases circulation and helps to relieve spasms.

Problems when you decrease the pressure

deviation from the normal pressure (high or low blood pressure) are often the cause of headaches. Hypotension along with pain observed drowsiness, lethargy, fatigue, pale skin, increased sweating.

If lowering bloodpressure was not observed before pregnancy, and is caused by hormonal changes the body, then the woman will help the most simple tools – hot sweet tea with lemon, nutrition, obligatory walk in the fresh air. To provoke a drop in blood pressure can hunger, stress, hypothermia.

the Causes of headaches in pregnant

Hypertension is a typical condition for healthy people, and periodic increase of pressure should be considered as a pathology. We urgently need to inform the doctor about the facts of increased blood pressure, and then will be assigned additional tests.

identification of the cause (poll)

In a survey of pregnant it is important to determine the type of pain that can be sharp and sudden, aching and long, short and growing. The physician should follow the dynamics of the intensity, the localization region (parietal, frontal, temporal, occipital) to determine the factors that caused the pain.

It Should be emphasized that already during the collection of data and formation history of the disease is possible with a high enough degree of certainty to determine which of pathogenetic processes is the main. Based on these data makes a decision about the use of pain relievers or use non-drug methods.

Additional Outpatient examination includes a diagnosis of the fundus, echoencephaloscopy, reoentsefalografii. For suspected inflammation of the meninges, tumor processes or encephalopathy pregnant given direction in neurological, medical or neurosurgical Department, using modern methods of laboratory diagnostics and equipment for MRI, CT, angiography.

Headache in pregnant women may be caused simultaneously by several different diseases. Data on clinical forms processes that started causing headaches 750 pregnant women, grouped in the table. Statistical data are systematized on the basis of sample surveys conducted by regions in 2014.

DiseaseFrequency of occurrence
a Syndrome of vegetative dystonia226
Late toxicosis67
Venous encephalopathy75
morning Sickness the first trimester21
cerebrovascular accident (transient)61
Closed cherepno-a brain trauma (impact)47
Intracranial hypertension36
Ischemic stroke33
Hemorrhagic stroke
Compression of vertebral artery20
Thrombosis of sinuses18

As can be seen from the table, the most frequently headache in pregnant women cause vegetovascular dystonia, and venous encephalopathy. Less pain syndrome is due to an independent (organic) diseases of the brain, or infectious processes.

Secondary cephalgia

In the presence of vascular pathologies is pain, usually localized in the temporal lobes symmetrically on both sides, sometimes in the frontal or parietal region. The intensity of pain increases with emotional perception of events – in this case emotional coloring could be either positive or negative.

Compressing or bursting headache characteristic of venous encephalopathy, symptoms of which usually manifest themselves long before the pregnancy. Localization does not have exact boundaries, nor the regularity of pain, but pain in this case are aggravated by changing position of the head when coughing, sneezing, during physical exercise. At rest, when you lock the head at a high headboard, the pain becomes less pronounced.

causes of headache in pregnancy

Benign intracranial hypertension is often the cause of headaches in the first trimester of pregnancy. The intensity of pain observed during the night, when changing body position (getting up from the bed, with tilt, swivel, etc.).

This issue is worth considering in more detail because the number of cases of diagnostics of this pathology is growing steadily. The pain starts suddenly and often (70%) is accompanied by disturbance of vision that occurs as a result of swelling of the optic nerve. At-risk pregnant women with overweight, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

When this pathology is suspected, prescribe extra tests (MRI, CT), lumbar puncture – to determine pressure, total analysis. The most serious complication iscomplete loss of vision. The sooner treatment begins, the more favorable the prognosis. In the program of therapy includes lumbar punctures, are assigned to acetazolamide, hormonal drugs (prednisone). When complete loss of vision, surgical correction is the only way to remove compression from the nerve sheath visually.

Infectious diseases almost always occur with a headache, especially such dangerous as meningitis or encephalitis. To diagnose the disease is simple, because it is accompanied by fever, high fever, severe General condition. Upon confirmation of the diagnosis the decision about whether or not abortion is on medical consultation.

The Time undiagnosed and untreated pyelonephritis can lead to very dangerous complications, and even death. This happens in case developed suppurative process, the infection quickly spreads throughout the body. The kidneys can not be sick, but the headaches become frequent and debilitating.

Also there is a decrease in visual acuity, some sluggishness of movement, change in speech. Quickly set the cause only if the patient tells in detail about the beginning of a process that is characteristic of kidney infections symptoms, i.e. high temperature, aches in the lower back, increasing weakness. The medication dulls the symptoms, and the disease becomes chronic. Without urgent medical attention things are moving on – you will not be able to save neither the mother nor the child.

Hormonal imbalance

Pregnancy is a condition in which there are significant changes in all physiological processes in the body that is associated with the formation and development of the fetus. Increases the volume of blood circulation, increased venous pressure and vascular permeability. This leads to disruption of water and electrolyte balance, which contributes to the appearance of edema in the tissues, the increased pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid. Of course, all these changes may exacerbate diseases of the nervous and cardiovascular system.

Dating and positive dynamics during pregnancy. So, for example, 80% of women suffering from headaches during the premenstrual syndrome, noted a weakening or complete cessation of seizures. After birth, however, a dynamic picture was restored. In pregnant women associated with migraine attacks, on the contrary, intensified.

Threatening condition in pregnant women

Headache can be a symptom of dangerous diseases, and it's not as rare as commonly believed. Of course, many folk remedies and medicines are justified, but at the same time women, following the advice of "wise" mentors (which today more than doctors), save the visit to the doctor. But pregnant there are such serious pathology, intracranial aneurysm, arteriovenous malformation, pre-eclampsia, stroke.

And, the sad thing, with the appearance of pulsating, pronounced pain, the nature of which is frightening from the beginning, most women will take steps to correct the problem – would you like a pamprin, considering it a harmless tool, and go relax with a cool compress. And in this situation it is necessary to urgently call an ambulance, especially if the code has a change of view, there is a ringing in the ears or disturbed coordination of movements.

One of the most severe forms of toxemia is eclampsia, in which there is a direct threat to life of mother and child. But this condition is preceded by preeclampsia, which is characterized by searing, unbearable headache and nausea. Soon developed convulsions and seizures resembling epilepsy. As a rule, provokes eclampsia premature labor, but the provision of emergency medical assistance possible to stop an attack.

Arteriovenous malformation

This little-studied pathology though does not apply to common phenomena, but still occurs in the practice of many specialists. Malformation – a bunch of dilated blood vessels in which arteries and veins are in direct contact, without the formation of capillaries. The arterial blood mixed with venous, which results in disturbed supply of oxygen and into the blood stream enters the carbon dioxide.

Arteriovenous malformation in pregnancy

This severe pathology is congenital, but for a long time it makes itself felt, and the person feels quite healthy. Provoke a headache, caused by rupture malformations, or increased exercise, or severe stress, or pregnancy.

Defective, woven into the tangle of vessels putting pressure on brain, meninges, causing an increase in intracranial pressure. If you drink a diuretic (for example, "Furosemide"), the condition will improve for a while, because it will decrease the pressure on the fabric.

In the absence of adequate assistance and systematic medical monitoring gap may occur malformations, and in this case, the patient will go through the intensive care unit and prolonged hospital stay. Naturally, in pregnant women with headaches caused by preeclampsia, ischemic stroke, or rupture of the malformation, condition afterthe adoption of paracetamol, shpy and other tools that are recommended to drink the doctors in cases of emergency, will not improve.

Only urgent measures taken in the context of stationery will help to normalize the condition of the pregnant woman, to reduce the severity of neurotic symptoms, which manifest themselves in different ways – it all depends on what part of the brain is a tumor. This may be unsteady gait, and slurred speech, and loss of pain sensitivity.

medication during pregnancy

When it hurts badly gtin, I want to immediately give life-saving pill. It is widely believed that the most harmless drug is "Citramon". To dispel all doubts on this score, you just have to read the instructions for use of the medication, which clearly sets out that the killer is strictly forbidden to use in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy and in the lactation period.

headache Tablets for pregnant women

Part of the "Tsitramona" include paracetamol (allowed during pregnancy), caffeine and acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), which in the period of gestation is undesirable.

According to doctors, in principle, should not be used medicines, which include acetylsalicylic acid for the treatment of pain. Taking aspirin can lead to intrauterine pathology of the fetus, the risk of development of this process is quite high.

According to studies, aspirin use (hence, and aspirin) increases the risk of intracranial hemorrhage in premature infants whose mothers used this drug during the third trimester, and increases the duration of labor, the risk of gastrochisis and cryptorchidism in infants. Aspirin may be used in very low dose (cardiac dose) in the first trimester.

It is Absolutely contraindicated in the period of gestation Metamizole sodium (analgin) and all combination medications that contain it, due to apparent teratogenic effect.

"But-shpa" and "Paracetamol" are drugs that doctors recommend to receive with a strong midradosnych pain in combination. These drugs do not have significant toxic effects on the fetus, if you stick to the correct dosages and take exactly as prescribed in the instructions. Side effects for pregnant are minimal and occur infrequently.

And Remember that pain may be a consequence of functional or infectious diseases, and in this case, painkillers only time will blunt the pain, and then attack again. You must diagnose the cause of pain and to take radical actions, but not to eliminate symptoms. The table shows the permitted drugs during pregnancy.

drugsDosageSide effectsContraindications
(you can receive at any time)
On 50 mg, not more than 4 times a day.When the excess dosage can have negative effects on the liver and kidneys, change of peripheral blood picture. renal dysfunction and liver, hypochromic anemia.

"Ibuprofen" (can receive in I and II trimesters)
40 mg 3 times a day.Nausea, insomnia, bloating, heartburn.a Tendency to allergies, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, an undesirable reception in the third trimester.
"Ketoprofen" (it is better to refrain from taking)50 mg 3 times a day.Anemia, nausea, disorder of coordination, diarrhea, tachycardia, peripheral edema.II, III trimesters,
severe renal failure, peptic ulcer and 12 duodenal ulcer
Diclofenac (only in the first trimester)50 mg not more than 2 times a day.Flatulence, nausea, pruritus.III trimester, ulcer of the stomach or intestines, erosive gastritis, ulcero-hemorrhagic colitis, Crohn's disease
"Naproxen" (it is better to refrain from taking)50 mg not more than 2 times a day.Nausea, drowsiness, lethargy, skin rash.I, II, III trimesters, the liver and kidneys, endocrine diseases.
"no-Spa" (can receive in any time)Maximum dose per day 140 mgDrowsiness, lethargy, the appetite.Hypotension

Attention! "Ibuprofen," which is the drug of choice to eliminate headaches during pregnancy, dangerous to take in the third trimester. During this period the drug affects the muscular activity of the uterus and blocks the production of hormones that stimulate labor. The consequence of ibuprofen in the last weeks of pregnancy can be the development of pulmonary hypertension in children.

Writing out pain pills and making additional appointments, the doctor always chooses the means that will cause the least harm to your health. This does not mean that the drug is harmless and can every time to take if you feel unwell, accompanied with headache.

But ifthe woman is in the way or far from home, and the pain causes suffering, it is better to take a pill than a couple of hours later to suffer from severe migraines. By the way, "fans" "shpy" you should know that at reduced pressure the medication to drink is not recommended because the blood flow slows down even more with the expansion of blood vessels and oxygen starvation occurs.

One Conclusion – before planning pregnancy should undergo a complete diagnosis of the organism. The doctors will know all of your problems (if any), will take the most effective steps to treat headaches during pregnancy. The pills can in cases of headache code fails when using non-drug and folk remedies, but if this phenomenon is repeated periodically, be sure to consult your doctor.

non-pharmacological tools and utilities

easiest to carry the pregnancy of a woman who abided by the regime of the day and enjoyed many years of expertise of specialists in the field of health programs. Proper breathing and regular development of the muscles provide the normal blood circulation, which is the main prerequisite for the development of a healthy baby.

In the list of occupations, taking into account the age and physical condition of the expectant mother, included such procedures as massages (classic, dotted), breathing exercises (only under doctor's supervision!), exercise in the fresh air, workout in the pool. Swimming is a type of exercise that most favorable effect on the organism of the woman and the child.

When you perform a set of exercises on loading and relaxation need to breathe and keep the body exactly as recommended by the instructor. Most untrained people (especially women) floats incorrectly head and neck are in a tight vertical position, which causes the spastic phenomena in the neck and shoulder area.

All the drills and classes, the more serious such as yoga, should be done only in medical centers and under the supervision of a qualified professional with the permits for working with pregnant women. The result of your efforts and responsibility in pregnancy can be justified – the normal birth process and healthy baby, and what could be more important for women?


  1. drugs. Publisher: New Wave, S. B. Divov Publisher. Year: 2002.
  1. M. D. Mashkovsky. Medicines (manual on pharmacotherapy for doctors).
  1. Michigan S. P., Krawczeniuk L. P. Polarography drugs.