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What can I do about hormonal headaches during pregnancy?

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How can I relieve hormonal headaches during pregnancy, and how long will they last? Read on and see how our experts have answered this question.


The hormones of pregnancy seem to trigger more headaches in some women and fewer headaches in others. But the hormones aren't the only cause. Fatigue, tension, hunger, and physical or emotional stress may cause headaches during pregnancy, which seem to fall into two categories: migraine or tension. It's a good idea to stay away from pain medications during pregnancy, but there are lots of safe, helpful strategies for preventing and relieving headaches:

  • Eat regularly. Low blood sugar can cause a headache, so don't skip meals. Avoid foods or beverages that contain caffeine or foods known to trigger headaches (such as red wines, red or preserved meats, and strong cheeses).


  • Drink fluids. Six to eight glasses of water a day can help prevent a headache, and a cup of soothing herbal tea can relieve one.


  • Exercise. Walking, swimming, or biking increases circulation, improves energy, reduces fatigue, and can prevent a headache. Tension-reducing exercises such as slow head circles and shoulder rotations can relieve one.


  • Practice relaxation techniques. Try progressive relaxation with visual imagery, yoga, or meditation.


  • Try massage. Rub your temples or the back of your neck, applying firm pressure in a slow, circular pattern.


  • Use hot packs or cold packs. Apply hot packs to the back of your neck or shoulders, or place an ice pack on your forehead.


  • Take a warm bath. Soak in a warm bath for 15 to 20 minutes, adding bubbles and soothing music to relieve stress.


  • Get enough sleep. Since fatigue can contribute to headaches, get to bed early and try napping on occasion.

If your headaches are severe and persistent and are accompanied by spots before your eyes or puffiness of your hands and face, contact your health care provider to be sure that you do not have pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH).


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