Thursday, December 18, 2008

Headaches

Headaches. Doesn't everyone have them once in a while? Turns out it can get worse during pregnancy, though. I never knew it until, a couple of weeks ago, I started having the nastiest headaches I've ever experienced. It took me a while to make a connection and think that maybe they have something to do with my pregnancy.

It looks as though pregnancy headaches are a common complaint. I tried the suggested preventive measures - paying attention to my posture, getting enough sleep, exercising and eating balanced, varied meals - but to no avail. My headaches are becoming stronger and more persistent. It starts around evening hours, and gets worse at night - always a throbbing pain at my right temple area. I suspect those are what you'd call migraines, because light makes it worse. I used to love to fall asleep with a candle on my bedside table, but now even this little light annoys me and seems to make the headache worse.

If you Google any combination of the words "migraine" and "food", you'll find long lists of potential triggers; I can't say how much truth this holds. I certainly consume some foods which can supposedly trigger migraine (such as dairy products and bananas), but not excessively, and most importantly, not more than at any other time in my life.

The only thing that helps, so far, is to sleep through the pain, but with it being so bad, it's difficult to fall asleep. Last night, for example, I went to bed at 11, and didn't fall asleep until half past 2 in the morning (and lack of sleep in itself, I've heard, can make things worse). It was pure torture. I'm usually not the type to complain about every little pain, so trust me when I say I've never been in so much agony in my life.

Today, I had an appointment with my doctor, who told me that I'm probably experiencing migraines which might be pregnancy-related, but I still need to see a neurologist, which I'm going to do as soon as I can get an appointment.

In the meantime, I would like to ask you ladies: did any of you have migraines that started during pregnancy? If you also had migraines before pregnancy, did they become worse or more frequent? Did things go back to their former status quo after you've had the baby? And what non-chemical, risk-free methods do you know that might ease the pain? Your experience will be much appreciated, because I'm at a loss here.

Oh, and because several of you asked, I'm adding this to the post: the first thing my doctor thought of was preeclampsia, but thankfully, that was ruled out.

63 comments:

Lily said...

I have had numerous pregnancies. With my second I started having terrible headaches like you describe. There was a period of several years (no idea why) between my second and third child and I had dreadful migraines a couple of times a year during that time. When child number three came, the migraines went. I only get a migraine rarely now (as in less than once a year) and I definitely think it is all related. The only thing I can offer to you for relief is to add caffeine to your diet...not always a good idea in pregnancy, although many of the taboos are lifted during the last few weeks. You can likely take tylenol to help now, or perhaps ibuprofen...ask your doc. Praying that your headaches subside, chances are they will after your little one comes.

Nea said...

So sorry for your migraine, it sure is painful.

I've been told, that pregnancy often has some kind of effect to migrain: it can get better OR it can get worse. So, both cases are possible.

Anonymous said...

Anna,
I experienced migraines with my pregnancies. They were always worse in the second trimester. With one child, I did end up with a prescription to break the pain cycle.
Chances are, as soon as you deliver and your hormones return to normal, your migraines will recede.
I do think that sometimes the pain can become a 'habit', or the norm, for the body. You might talk with your physician to see what might be safely done to alleviate the pain.

Jen in Oklahoma, USA

Lady M said...

Hi Anna,

No migraines, but I did have more headaches toward the end. Hormones can play a HUGE factor.

That said, while you saw your doctor, did he discuss pre-eclampsia at all? Even if your blood pressure is not way high, you can have it. Thankfully, you are at the end of your pregnancy, but still - the kind of headaches you are having are of concern.

Anonymous said...

? pre-eclampsia

Svetlana said...

I get headaches on regular basis, possibly migraine headaches (centered in the temples). One method that helps me, especially to fall asleep is to put an ice pack on the temple that hurts the worst (or put it inbetween the pillow and my head and lay on it, thus providing not only cold but pressure, that seems to help). The downside is that you cannot turn and if you normally don't sleep on your side or like me toss and turn, it may be a bit annoying.

A Marriage After His Heart said...

Anna,
PLEASE READ
I am a migrane sufferer and I have spent countless dollars on neurology tests that have told me all the same thing I need to be on all this migrane medicine. Most of them are mixed with some form of anti-depressants. The more severe they are the more they start mixing meds.

I remember I went to the neurologist on a Fri in august and he prescibed me a migraine med that was an anti depressant. That Sunday I found out we were pregnant. That monday I went to get my prescrip filled and was sharing my news with the pharm tech, she just so happened to look at my prescrip and exclaimed, OH No YOU CAN'T TAKE THIS!!! when we read the side effects the first thing is said is that it would cause death to a fetus. Imagine if I had that chemical in my system during conception.

I didn't have migraines until the birth of my eldest daughter, when I got my epidural I was having contractions and the hole from the needle puncture didn't fully close like it should. I ended up leaking spinal fluid and have had migraines and black-outs ever since.

I have never taken meds because many of them are eventually recalled, I went to the drugstore and bought one of those eye gel packs that you keep in the freezer for like wrinkles and stuff, well I keep it in the freezer and use them for my headaches. I also keep an ice gel pack to lie at the base of my head and I lie in the dark with the quiet until it leaves.

I have learned not to push myself through my headaches, and when I feel one coming on, ( ie nausea, seeing spots, the dulling feeling) I immediately treat it and I rest. If I don't, eventually I will black out.

Watch your caffine, chocolate, msg intake. all of that triggers it. drink plenty of water. If you do end up taking meds for it, then please please do your research. I am so thankful that I didn't have all those drugs in my system when we concieved this baby. I only shudder to think what could have happened. You can treat them by paying attention to your body and using a cold compress and dark quietness. The good thing for you is that you are at home, and don't have to worry about working through them, or driving with one, you have the blessing to be able to rest your body when one comes upon you. Your's should leave upon the birth of your baby. Just be careful about any anesthetics during labor, I will never Lord willing get another needle stuck in my back again.

Hope this helps.

Erica said...

Are you checking your blood pressure? Headaches in pregnancy can be a sign that you are developing pre-eclampsia. It happened to me with my son who was born (via immediate c-section) in March. I was just lucky I was a regular about checking my blood pressure so when I got a "migraine" in the 8th month, I checked my pressure right away and sure enough, it was 180/100 or so.

http://www.preeclampsia.org/about.asp

~Erica

Heather said...

Hi Anna!

I was pre-eclamptic with my firstborn and one of the indicators was headaches that were 'migraine-like'. They were awful!

Did your doctor rule that out already? Getting rid of all salt and drinking extra water helped.

Kari said...

That's no fun, Anna! I've experienced migraines for a number of years, and know how painful they can be. I found the biggest difference for me during pregnancy was that I could no longer take migraine medication! My safe alternative treatment recommendation is to lay down in a dark room as soon as you feel a migraine coming on, and apply an ice pack (wrapped, of course!) to the base of your skull. Then try to get a little bit of sleep, if possible! I've found that the ice pack usually takes enough of the edge of to be able to fall asleep. Hope they disappear soon!

Betsy said...

I had headaches earlier on in my pregnancies. I found that getting naps even when I didn't necessarily feel I needed it helped me feel better all around. It was hard to make myself take naps though, it always felt like a waste of time. Cutting down computer and reading time can help too. A warm quiet shower or gentle scalp/neck/shoulder massage from my husband was greatly helpful too as it was generally relaxing and loosens tensed muscles that can contribute to pain. A few times I woke him up in the night to help me, and although he works very hard and was tired, he would tell me that he enjoyed feeling like I needed him and his help as I carried and grew his babies inside me. He said that he wanted to help both baby and mommy be healthy and get sleep.

Somedays when it was so bad I couldn't function to care for my oldest daughter a cup of coffee helped. I know it's not ideal for pregnancy but it was either that or take some type of drug and I figured the coffee was a better alternative and at least I was getting some nutrition in the cream I added. Make sure to drink extra liquid afterwards though.

may said...

How about the Migra-cap?

http://www.migracap.com/

If you google the term, you'll find a BBC News report on it as well. The only people whom I know who suffer from migraine don't use this, but then they are free to take the pharmaceuticals and you are not. These products are sold in ordinary pharmacies here in the UK.

Anonymous said...

My experience is that while I do have migranes (if I'm not careful about the triggers) when not pregnant I only have them while expecting with girls - so I think it must have something to do with the extra hormones. When expecting my boys I had no headaches what so ever. Try and get as much rest as possible to break the headache cycle.

Bonnie

Lori said...

I didn't have pregnancy migraines, but I have had migraines in the past, and found chiropractic care to be very helpful. Another friend of mine has suffered debilitating mirgraines for years and found great relief from her chiropractic doctor. Like all doctors, some are better than other. On rare, unfortunate occasions not good. Find one preferably by a friend's refferal, and ask if he/she has much experience treating pregnant patients. You can get one who will treat you after a nominal exam, but the best usually require, under normal curcumstances (may make allowance for a pregnant patient), a full x-ray of the back of the spine and a close up of the SIDE of the neck, as well as checking muscle tightness and balance. Seeing a chiropractor is safe for a pregnant woman, as long as the doctor has experience.

Mrs. Anna T said...

My blood pressure is normal, and there was no protein in my urine, so my doctor ruled out preeclampsia. It was the first thing we both thought of.

Mrs W said...

I had them a lot with my second. Chiropractic worked wonders.

Kittee said...

I have not been pregnant yet, but I do get the occasional migraine.

What helps me, it simply taking 2 Tylenol and taking a nap or going to bed for the night. Try to stay cool and lay in a dark area. Really there is nothing more you can do unfortunately.

I know some folks would laugh at someone taking only Tylenol, but its all I personally can take due to medical issues, so I'm lucky it works so well for me. I also get "aura's" with my migrane so I get some warning before the pain hits.

You can ask your doctor if Tylenol would be a safe option for you.

I wish you luck, I hope you feel better soon. No one likes Migraines.

-Kittee

ROSIE said...

Anna,

I'm so glad your doctor ruled our preeclampsia...that was my first worry!!

I had migraines with two of my pregnancies, and they were purely hormonal. The good news is, there is an end in sight! :)

Avoiding "trigger" foods was helpful. I also learned to increase my level of hydration and to avoid caffeine in general.

A lot of hormonal migraines trigger vascular spasms. I found holding a cold pack at the back of my neck, just up at the base of the skull, to be very helpful. I would do this and lie down at the first signs of onset, and it usually went away in less than an hour. Essential oil of lavender applied to my temples and to the back of my neck/base of the skull was also very helpful in relieving migraine.

Keeping you in my prayers,
Rosie

Gombojav Tribe said...

The only times I've ever really had migraines are when I'm pregnant. It can be brutal, totally incapacitating. What brings almost instant relief is an adjustment from a chiropractor. I think being pregnant can put lots of strain on your back and neck. And sometimes things can become misaligned. The adjustments have set things in line and cleared my head. The adjustments are painless and the relief is great!

Hope that helps!

Also, up your water intake. That can help, too.

Blessings!

Emily G. said...

I'm afraid I can't be much help...I used to get a migraine 5-7 times per year, triggered by hormone upsets during a certain monthly event. Since becoming pregnant, I haven't had one.

My best advice is cold washcloths/cold packs, darkness, relaxation, and coffee. The coffee thing sounds weird but it helped me some and it seems that some of these other ladies agree with me. If you can't sleep at night, nap during the day. Lack of sleep always made my migraines so much worse.

I hope you feel better soon!

doctorandprincess@yahoo.com said...

Anna,

That is funny-- I was commenting, previewed it, and then everybody else starting talking about chiropractic! One of them was my fabulous sister! (a childbirth instructor and doula, in her own right)

I agree with these other women.

My husband IS a chiropractor. The best thing you can do is relieve whatever nerve that is subluxated.

Two people who should be seen the most, and who get ignored when it comes to chiropractic care-- children and expectant mothers.

The dc will not adjust you on your stomach. There are other ways to adjust an expectant mother. On her side or briefly on her back. There are specific adjusting methods just FOR pregnant women.

Besides relieving your headache, your body needs to make room for that baby to move and eventually drop. Having all of your body in line will make it easier and a lot less pain when labor starts.

My husband sees expecting mothers all the time. He has many pregnant patients. It is SUCH a help to them. It's optimum to see one throughout your entire pregnancy. But, late is better than never. (Boy, does my husband have the stories of women who were "late" in delivering, he adjusted them and they went into labor! lol It's great!)

I hope you can find one near you who can help. Ask your/a midwife to refer one. I mean, I already had mine :-), but my midwife refers her patients to different chiropractors. (I also had a different chiropractor before I even met my husband, so I would have gone to him.)

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesistate to email me. I'll have him answer q's for you, too.

Oh yeah, he's BIG on water intake, too! We all KNOW that. But he's been reading and studying a lot about water lately. We REALLY underestimate it. We all THINK we understand-- we have NO idea...! lol KEEP DRINKING! :-)

Thia said...

Thankfully, for me, they are only pregnancy related. So even after 3 kids, I don't get them when not pg. When I feel one coming on, I take 2 Tylenol. I down them with some pepsi (yes, the caffienne!). Then I climb into a hot shower and let it beat on the base of my skull/neck area. When I get out (usually having run out of hot water), I drink some room temperature water (hydration). If I am not feeling better, I know it's time to just go to bed, but the times this didn't work were very, very rare.

Thia said...

Oh...do not take ibuprofin! It is not good for third trimester pregnancies!!!! Something with blood clotting if I remember correctly.

Alamodey said...

All that helped me was water, water, water whether it was drinking or hot showers. Occaisionally I tried a hot pack aroud my head, but that was hit or miss.

I hope your pain is alleviated soon.

messynester said...

I'm not pregnant but have suffered from migraines my whole life. A cold washrag on the forehead and also placing a pillow on my head w/my arm resting on it (while laying on my side) helps me.

I hope this helps!

Mrs. Anna T said...

My doctor told me ibuprofen is safe in small doses, but it doesn't help anyway, which is not surprising with migraines.

Anonymous said...

I suffer from migraines and they were alot worse during my pregnancies especially my last one (I ended up once in the ER and was given meds, there was nothing else to do at that time it had been over 3 days). I know it helps some to stay hydrated, not drinking enough can trigger them. You can try Tylenol and some herb tea and a warm compress on the back of your neck and on your eyes when you feel it coming on but there is little you can do that doesn't involve harsh meds. You are to far along to be able to take advil or ibuprofen.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

I had increasing migraines at the end of my last pregnancy, culminating with two on the day I delivered. My two most common triggers are a certain type of light - e.g. sunlight glinting off cars or off water; and something too snug around my middle (or a baby making the whole area too snug!). That said, I am much more sensitive to these triggers when my shoulders, neck and the back of my head are tense. I can circumvent an oncoming migraine by massaging the back of my neck/head/shoulders, or by getting a heating pad onto it. I believe the ladies who recommended chiropractic adjustment are absolutely correct. I just don't happen to have a chiropractor available! My Doctor says that Tylenol (Paracetamol or Calpol) is fine during pregnancy, just don't exceed the recommended dose. Looking toward the future, I haven't had another migraine since delivery, almost 2 years ago. Before that pregancy I averaged maybe one migraine every three or four years. I hope you get some relief soon!
Lorna

Anonymous said...

Hi, Anna!
When my mom was pregnant, she would sometimes get splitting headaches. Sometimes, she would drink a very small amount of coffee so that the caffeine would help, because most doctors say that one small cup of caffeinated coffee per day during pregnancy is not harmful to the baby. Also, she would very rarely take one ibuprofen to help with the splitting headache. My mom was very committed to only eating natural products during her pregnancies, but decided to try these small things when she had her headaches. All five of us have turned out fine, and the coffee and ibuprofen did a lot to help with the headaches!

Anonymous said...

Ibuprofen (marketed as Advil,Motrin, etc.) and aspirin, both NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), are the best over-the-counter painkillers you can generally get. Early in pregnancy, using them is not an issue with headaches; in the final trimester, however, they may contribute to the constriction of the ductus arteriosis in the fetus's heart, and may also have some other effects you don't want.

That leaves you with a not-very-effective, but very safe, alternative: acetaminophen, which is most popularly marketed as Tylenol. Frankly, under normal circumstances, I'd say you were just as well off to suck your thumb for comfort as to take acetaminophen--NSAIDS are far, far more effective. However, in your circumstances, a good dose of Tylenol is the best option--and the key, Anna, is to take it AS SOON as you feel the headache coming on. Many, many people make the mistake of ignoring telltale signs of headache pain, telling themselves it will go away, etc. The result of that behaviour is a raging headache. Take two Tylenol the moment you sense it coming on, take a glass of water, and you will probably find relief.

A general note here that all our mothers, in general, drank alcohol and coffee, took over-the-counter medication, ate what they wanted, and did various other now-verboten things during their pregnancies. And I don't know about you, but I come from a family where all four of us turned out bright and healthy. Kill the pain--there's nothing noble or strengthening about suffering with a headache. The growing, and worrisome, trend is to cocoon pregnant women and nurture in them a sense of fear and the "romance" of pregnancy. This is nonsense. Look around you and use your head.

I hope you soon get relief from your situation.

Mrs. Anna T said...

The one thing that eventually helped me last night to ease the pain enough to fall asleep, was resting my head (on the side where it was hurting) on my husband's shoulder. I know this sounds romantic... :o) I suppose this is related to the pressure/warmth effect other ladies here described.

Bethany Hudson said...

While I have never suffered a migraine, I will say that I have noticed frequent headaches during this pregnancy. This is very odd for me as I have NEVER really had what most people would consider a headache. For the first time in my life, I popped Tylenol for something other than surgery. I'm sorry ou're having things so rough right now. Hopefully you will be able to find some way to ease the pain.
~Bethany

Deanna said...

Dear Anna,
Hope I'm not repeating what others have already shared, but am in a pinch for time and haven't read all the comments yet.

Very sorry you're having headaches...they can be terrible.

Worth a try: AVOID SOY PRODUCTS. Even though so many rave about how great soy is for women...I hesitate to eat it or minimize taking it. Soy is a natural estrogen. If you have fibroids in the uterus, the fibroids are stimulated to grow from estrogens. Also have heard that some cancers are fed by estrogens. Think being estrogen- dominent causes hormonal imbalances in people of all ages.

Worth a try: MASSAGE HANDS.
On one of your hands massage the muscle part of the hand that is between the index finger and thumb while using the other hand's thumb placed on top part of hand being massaged and the index finger placed on the under side of hand. Apply gentle pressure. Switch hands and massage the other hand using same technique.

Worth a try: MASSAGE BASE OF HEAD.
Take both of your thumbs and massage the back of the neck nearest the base of your head. This area that you will apply gentle pressure to and rub is connected in some way to the sinus cavities. Not only will this massage help relieve neck tension, but also stimulate sinus area that might be an issue with your body.

Worth a try: SQUEEZE BRIDGE OF NOSE.
With your thumb and index finger gently squeeze the bridge of the nose that is located between your eyes. Hold pressure on this for a few seconds, release and do again. Repeat technique a few times.

Worth a try: MIGRAINE MEDS.
Visit first with Doctor or his Nurse to make sure that taking a couple migraine tabs/capsules will not harm the baby. If you feel confident that it will not harm the baby or yourself, go ahead and take a couple tablets/capsules with plenty of water and a little food then lie down in a dark room with no extra noise and pray.

Worth a try: DAMP CLOTH.
Place a rolled cold damp wash cloth to the back of your neck and lie down. Alternate the cold cloth to forehead and or to the side of head that's hurting. Might want two cloths on head and face area. One on forehead and one on back of neck. Again lie down on a comfortable bed or sofa that's in a quiet dark room and pray.

Worth a try: BLOOD PRESSURE.
Make sure blood pressure isn't elevated above comfortable reading.

Worth a try: ELEVATE FEET.
Take more time to elevate feet and be alright with resting more. Move a little slower and be alright with this.

I didn't have migraines while pregnant, but as I have aged...migraines have caused me a great deal of problems.
Over the counter Migraine meds help.
Natural progesterone cream has helped.

But above all else I believe that I made an aweful mistake having a tubal ligation (tying tubes to prevent pregnancies)surgery after giving birth to three children. I believe that this procedure caused a hormonal imbalance in my body and has contributed to a difficult peri-menopause.

I WAS YOUNG AND STUPID. I never asked G-D if I should stop having babies after three children and what G-D thought about my birth control decision and method.

At a young age of 24 I was struggling with being a Liberal Feminist and a married mother.
To G-D be the Glory, GREAT things He has done!
G-D opened my eyes of understanding and I am forever changed.

Anna, the best to you.
Deanna

Bonnie S said...

Hi Anna,

Those headaches sure sound uncomfortable!

Try a hot foot bath. Get a foot tub, or sit on the edge of the bath, and put your feet in hot water for a while. It improves the circulation, and can help to relieve a headache.

Deanna said...

Anna, I forgot to add...avoid watching too much television, avoid staying on the computer too long and avoid reading in dim lighting. Avoid loud noise, too many sweets. Go easy on spices, chocolate, cheeses and alcohol.
Deanna

Deanna said...

Dear Anna, Deanna here again. Read thru the comments.
Whatever you do DO NOT HAVE X-RAYS TAKEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHILE PREGNANT.
Blessings to you,
Deanna

Brandy said...

I didn't get headaches with our first pregnancy (she's 5yrs old now), but I DID with our second (she's 2 months old now). Nothing really helped mine either ... besides just laying down, closing my eyes, and getting some rest. Our oldest is such a sweetie ... during those times that a headache struck, she'd tell me to lay down and she'd cuddle with me, get me something to drink, or read to me ...

The Chatty Housewife said...

Get tested for Celiac disease. It sounds random, but I read an article that stated that quite a high percentage of migraine sufferers tested positive for Celiac disease even though they did not have the regular Celiac symptoms. Eating gluten free relieved their migraines.

God's Dancing Child said...

I am sorry to not read all the other ladies comments, but I have little time.
I never even had a headache until after I had my daughter. After birth, I had migraines almost daily, that were so debilitating that I laid in bed and cried from pain. (Husband did not understand why until several years later, when he experienced his first migraine!)
My husband forced me, thankfully, to see a migraine specialist in town, and he treated me for free. Pretty much what he said was life events can trigger migraines into happening, and food allergies are really the culprit. I kept a food journal for 2 weeks and noticing I ate an excessive amount of dairy, we cut that out completely and voila! My migraines went away within 1 1/2 weeks. Completely. I slowly added dairy back in to a comofortable level, and rarely have migraines anymore.
I also have to stay completely away from aspartame, a sugar substitute, as it will definitely give me a migraine.

I have no recommendations for anything to alleviate the pain, as my migraine dr. had said our brains are "swelling" inside our skull when we have migraines (there would be signs of bruising on your brain if a dr. were to examine it). Medicines to "ease" a migraine are constricting the blood flow, essentially treating our brains like a thumb hit with a hammer.
Our first reaction is to grab our thumb and hold it. The pain numbs out. But what happens if we keep holding it? The thumb goes numb. And if we kept holding it? Eventually, the thumb would die off, if you restricted the blood flow for long enough. Medicine taken continually do that slowly to the brain, as well, he said. So I don't use any meds. to ge the pain to go away... Cutting off blood and oxygen flow to my brain doesn't make sense to me!

Sorry that was so long-winded. I really like sharing the information he gave me, it quite literally changed my life!

Homemakers Cottage said...

I had very painful headaches with my last pregnancy, although they were not migraines. When I mentioned the headaches to my midwife she suggested that I go to the chiropractor. I did, and the headaches cleared up within a day or two.

Since my headaches were different from yours, I'm not sure if my "solution" is very helpful... I thought it was worth mentioning, though, just in case. :o)

Hope you're feeling better soon.

Krity @ Homemakers Cottage

Elizabeth Joy said...

The first thing my midwife tells women headaches to do is very simple, and it works in most women. Drink huge amounts of water. You are constantly renewing the amniotic fluid and your body is dealing with the baby's waste too. Drinking water helped my headaches go away, and I know other women that it really helped. I think it is something that most doctors don't think about because there are many people who won't drink water, and because it is so simple.

And please don't take any drugs. They go through to the baby. Caffeine goes through to the baby. Our livers can synthesize it in a few hours but it takes 72 hours for a baby to synthesize it. You don't want a newborn addicted to caffeine.

Another headache remedy is a hot foot soak. Put your feet in a pan of hot water, as comfortably hot as you can take it, but don't burn yourself. Put an ice pack on your forehead and relax. Listen to nice music that lifts your thoughts to happy things, and relaxes you. Enjoy it for at least 20 minutes. Have a tea pot nearby so you can keep adding hot water as it cools. Drink several cups of water while you sit there. It is a simple thing, costs about nothing, and takes just a little time. It gives you a good reason to rest too, which you probably need.

If I think of something else, I will let you know. Hope you are feeling better soon.

Mandi said...

Caffeine restricts the blood vessels theoretically reducing the pressure of the blood flowing into your head.

Adelaide said...

I'm sorry to hear you're having such bad headaches. I've had migraines since I was a child. There really isn't any great solution unfortunately. Try just laying in a dark room with an ice pack on your head. It can also help to massage the neck and forehead. When I was pregnant and now while I am nursing, my migraines seemed to be more frequent but less intense. I took tylenol and had a coffee (caffeine helps) when I was pregnant. Now I take ibuprofin (ok during nursing but not pregnancy) and coffee. They will most likely go away after the pregnancy but may continue while you are nursing.

Jana said...

Hi Mrs. Anna. I'm new here but thought I'd tell you about my experience with pregnancy headaches. (Emma is 9 months now.) For me, the headaches felt like riding one of those carnival rides that swing upside down. By the end of the last trimester I always felt like all the blood in my body had rushed into my head. I read that women increase their blood volume by 50% or so in preparation for the birthing process. I can only assume that is what caused it since I didn't ask my doctor at the time. These last weeks are by far the hardest. I wish I could say I found a good solution for the uncomfortableness and pain, mostly I just put up with it till Emma came. I lost a lot of blood during my c-section, but it didn't seem to affect my adversely. I actually felt relieved and normal again. I haven't had any lingering problems since then. I don't now if that helps, but I thought I'd share.

Anonymous said...

When you are late in your pregnancy, you have a larger volume of blood in your body, which means any slight swelling becomes more pronounced. That might be part of your headaches, just added pressure on your body.

Put your feet up, slow down, don't be afraid to take care of yourself.

I had migraines during stressful times of my life. When I removed caffeine and dairy from my diet, they completely went away. I know lots of people don't have that experience, but it doesn't hurt to try!

Elisabeth said...

I have a book, "The Family Herbal" by Theiss that addresses migraines. They suggest a hot chamomile back compress to relax the back muscles, as well as herb tea (with feverfew, peppermint, etc.). I can give you the directions they have if you want.

I'm sorry to hear you are suffering with something so painful. I pray that those migraines will quit plaguing you!

Melissa said...

Hi Anna,
I don't usually comment, but I read that you were suffering and thought I would tell you what has worked for me. I have migraine-like headaches, but don't like to take a lot of medication. Sometimes acetaminophen will help take the "edge" off the pain, but the best thing I have found is to apply a moist heat pack to my head. I actually wrap it around my head and then lie down on the pain side - the pressure seems to help. I hope you can get some relief!

Anonymous said...

I'm also glad to hear it's not pre-eclampsia!

I'm about 30 weeks pregnant, and thankfully, I've been spared awful migraines (I had them when I was on hormonal birth control instead). I agree with Kittee, two tylenol (my midwife said it was OK during pregnancy, but double check w/your Dr.) and bed helps. I've also found taking hot showers and letting the water blast into the areas that hurt helps, it's relaxing.

sewbusy said...

I have found migraines are definately hormane related. Rest a lot! I would also use a heating pad wrapped around my head and lay down and fall asleep. I usualy woke with my head wet with sweat but feeling much better. Hot baths are wonderful. I took one nearly every day the first and last part of pregnancy. I second the chiropractic thing. Pregnancy is a huge challange for me but the end reward is worth every headache, every sore muscle, every tear... It is worth it all! "This too shall pass" Psalms 127 You are about to get an inheritance from the Lord! Isn't it amazing that he would entrust us imperfect humans with His treasures? Blessing to you soon to be Mama

Leslie said...

Anne,

It may be because of the pressure on your spine and nerves that is causing the migraine. I get migraines a lot. But after I started going to a chiropractor, I do not get migraines anymore. Come to find out, with all the extra weight from my duty, it puts pressure on my spine and causes some nerves to become pinched. The slowing blood circulation from the pinched nerves then leads to migraines - and bad ones, too! So maybe a trip to the chiropractor once a week will help you. :)

Di said...

Hi Anna,

I have migraines and I did get a few while I was pregnant, and I found that lying down in a dark room with a cold compress attached to my head helped. That and sleep. I usually take prescription drugs for the migraines, but obviously this was out of the question when pg.

Hope this helps,

Love Di x

C.W. said...

Dear Anna,
I'm so sorry to hear that you've had these headaches. It's so hard to enjoy the days when there is pain. I had migraines several times a week for the first trimester of my first five pregnancies. I also used to have about 2 migraines a month.

I found that eating citrus fruits and even taking vitamin C will trigger a migraine for me. Also I need to avoid squash (winter and summer types). Eliminating these foods has really cut down on the number of migraines for me.

I also found that the little elastic I used to hold my hair back at night was pressing on my neck and giving me headaches. I switched to wearing a long braid at night and wake up headache-free. I thank God for helping me solve this problem, and I pray that He will also help you.

God bless, C.W.

Michele said...

I suffer migraines on a regular basis, and yes they were worse during pregnancy (and my monthly time as well - it's the hormones for me). Unfortunately, due to their nature - vertigo, nausea, vomiting, loss of vision, and loss of speech, and finally the motherload of a headache, I have no non-chemical helps for you, I'm sorry. I have to be medicated, or else it will last for three days, and I'm incapacitated. Unacceptable as the mother of two young children. Once I'm medicated, it takes two doses before the pain starts easing up. I go to bed, as dark as possible, and then I wrap a pillow around my head, and then I place my arms up. Counter pressure to help with the pressure in my head. Then I attempt to sleep it off. My husband has had migraines as well - MUCH less frequently, although he did end up in the hospital once when he started babbling, and they though he'd had a stroke. But since he knows what they feel like, I just have to croak out "headache" and he takes over immediately if he's home.

doctorandprincess@yahoo.com said...

Yes, do NOT get x-rays NOW. No doctor will ask you to at this point now, anyways. If he wants them, he can wait until after.

Allison said...

I've never been pregnant, but I remember a yoga instructor giving a lecture on how applying pressure to certain parts of the foot can relieve headaches. I believe it involved the area from between the big toe and the next toe and up an inch or so.

I do sympathize with your pain! I had a terrible case of shingles on an optic nerve five years ago, and the pain was excruciating. In addition to loads of pain meds, accupuncture helped. Much of modern medicine recognizes accupuncture as a valuable complement to Western treatments.

I hope you feel better :)

Allison

Otter Mom said...

I have had migraines since I was about 12. I tried various medications but none of it really worked for me and the side-effects were just as bad. You can't take it while pregnant, but aspirin & tylenol combined with caffiene help me better than anything else. I didn't have them while I was pregnant, but I did have a couple afterwards that were really bad. The doctor felt that they were hormone-related as I'd just given birth. As far as food triggers, not everyone will react to the same thing so the info on the internet is good but it might not apply to you. Also, the allergy to things which is a trigger can change. For example, I can't eat pumpkin now because it will give me a bad migraine but it never bothered me until about 5 years ago. Try to relax and turn out the lights, you might not be able to sleep but if you can relax and not have to do anything it might help. Massage your temples, the pressure on your forehead and side of your head might help. And make sure you are well-hydrated. I'm sorry you have to go through this.

Jen S. said...

I was thinking about you all afternoon and morning today. I have suffered migrains since I was 2 years old. Yes that does seem almost impossible but it really is true, and boy has it been a battle. I gone through every treatment that you can thing of! Really! During my pregnancy my migraines increased by leaps and bounds, and I never took one pill or any type of medication.

What has helped me was over the years is:
1. Put a very cold cloth on your forehead wrapped to the sides of your temples.
2. This is the really important one! Take a bag if ice wrapped in a very thin towel or cloth and place at the base of your skull on your neck. This really helps tremedously! I'm not quite sure why it works but it does.

I really hope that helps you through these difficuly days with headaches.

Oh, and many blessing to you and your family, I love your blog.

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer said...

Tylenol helps the most if you take it BEFORE the migraine or headache gets a good grip. If you can catch the migrain when it's little, then you have a much better chance of stopping it. Just like weeds :)

Anonymous said...

Anna~
I don't have any advice to offer beside that I will pray for you! Can't believe there's only 20 days left until the big day, huh? God Bless you!

-MNT

Beverly said...

I, too, had the most horrible headaches with my three pregnancies. And, unfortunately, there aren't many "over-the-counter" remedies that are safe to take while pregnant. I found that massage seemed to help, particularly massaging the scalp and neck, and even facial massage.

If you haven't considered chiropractic care, that would definitely be a good alternative to medication. My chiropractor has done wonders for my headaches.

And, as someone else has already mentioned, apply ice to the area where the headache seems to originate. I keep a rubber water bottle (the medicinal kind that can be used for hot or cold) full of water and in the refrigerator so it is always ready when I need it.

Hope this helps, and that you feel better soon!

Anonymous said...

Ok I know this will sound odd but it really does work. Take a little cayenne (red) pepper and snort it. The pepper goes into the nasal cavities and help open blood vessels to relieve the pain. The best time to do this is when you know a headache is coming. I have had several migraines and this has always helped me.

I also started getting headaches after our second son was born. I started to go to the chiropractor. This also helps relieve the headaches and any back pain. I went to the chiro. all through my next two pregnacies and I had very few head aches and my deliveries were much easier and faster too.
Many blessing to you and I hope this helps you.
Marissa

Coffee Catholic said...

I had headaches too but not as often as you seem to be having them. One thing I learned: Pregnancy has its ups and its downs!

I sent that package to your mom's address in October. Has it made it yet? Dawn just got the package I sent her in October. Could be caught up in the Christmas rush...

Can you email me and let me know if you'd like some baby clothes? I have TONS of girl clothes and this baby is only wearing like 25% of them hahahaha! People have been so kind giving endless outfits but seriously, there's no way I can use them all. Plus Elspeth is growing like a weed so she doesn't even fit in to many of them. Let me know and if you want some I'll box them up and ship them your way via whatever fast service they have here!

Whatever you don't want you can pass on to a poor woman.

I'm so excited for you and ... oh I can never remember how to spell your husband's name!!!

God bles!!

~Michelle

Anonymous said...

Peppermint can also help with headaches: peppermint tea, hard peppermint candies, etc. Some women avoid it b/c of nausea, but I've found it most helpful.

Best of luck.

~Anon.