Headaches During Pregnancy

Unfortunately headaches are one of the symptoms of pregnancy.  You may find a general headache that kind of lingers or if you had a tendency to experience headaches before you may find that they are now more frequent and more severe.  Migraine headaches may either increase or decrease during your pregnancy.  Of course for those that lessen their migraine experience, there is some extra satisfaction.

What causes headaches during pregnancy?

Headaches are caused by a combination of factors.  Headaches are often triggered by the onset of the pregnancy related hormones.  Additionally, headaches are caused by an significant increase in the volume and circulation of blood.  Other factors that may trigger or escalate headaches include stress, fatigue, and sudden elimination of dietary things like caffeine.

When do headaches during pregnancy occur?

Headaches may occur at any time during pregnancy how ever they are most commonly experienced during the onset of pregnancy and throughout the first half of pregnancy when the hormones and blood volume levels are increasing.

How frequently do headaches during pregnancy occur?

Generalized headaches, tension headaches or migraine headaches usually are triggered in some form or fashion.  Approximately 50% of women will report some level of headache presence during their pregnancy.

Sources:

Cunningham, F., MD; Leveno, K., MD; Bloom, S., MD; Hauth, J., MD; Gilstrap, L., MD; and Wenstrom, K., MD, Williams Obstetrics 22nd ed., McGraw-Hill, New York, 2005.

Duff, P., MD, Edwards, R., MD, Davis, J., MD, Rhoton-Vlasak, A., MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology: Just the Facts, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2004.

Scott, J., MD; Gibbs, R., MD; Karlan, B., MD; and Haney, A., MD, Danforth’s Obstetrics and Gynecology, 9th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 2003.

Crombleholme, W., MD, “Obstetrics,” Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2003, 42nd ed., McGraw-Hill, New York, 2003.

DeCherney, A., MD, and Nathan, L., MD, Current Obstetric & Gynecologic Diagnosis & Treatment, 9th; McGraw-Hill, New York, 2003.

Harms, R., MD, Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, HarperResource, New York, 2004.

Bankowski, B. MD., Hearne, A. MD, Lambrou, N. MD, Fox, H. MD, and Wallach, E. MD, The Johns Hopkins Manual of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2nd ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 2002.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth, 3rd ed., ACOG, Washington DC, 2000.

Beck, W., MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology, B.I. Waverly Pvt., Ltd., New Delhi, 1997.

Johnson, R., MD, Mayo Clinic Book of Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year, William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, 1994.