How to Cope with Migraines During Pregnancy

“Most women find their migraines go away with pregnancy,” the nurse at the neurologist office assured me. Oh, thank goodness! I’ve been dealing with excruciating migraines for years, so this was wonderful news! Let’s start trying for baby!

Flash forward 5 months and I was cursing that nurse. Migraines plagued most of my pregnancy. The worst part? (Besides the stabbing pain in my temples) I couldn’t take my usual “knock-out” pain relievers. I was told beforehand they were unsafe for pregnancy.

Having migraines on top of morning sickness, back aches, and heart burn!? This is not what I signed up for.

So, I went out on a quest to figure out what I could do to relieve my pain and I eventually figured out what worked for me.

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a certified medical professional, just a mama that has a lot of experience with pregnancy and migraines. If you need medical advice, contact your doctor for their expertise.*

Pinterest pin of a woman relaxing and holding a cup of tea

Over-The-Counter medicine

There are next to zero options you can take to prevent or treat migraines during pregnancy. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is proven safe for baby and a great start at zapping your migraine OUT.

Figure out your triggers

This one is tricky. A lot of the time migraines are not caused by only a single factor, but a combination. For example, you could eat cheese and chocolate and be fine. But then the next day you could eat the same thing, have lack of sleep and kaboom…a migraine attacks. (Read more about combo triggers)

Keep a journal of all the foods you eat, the amount of sleep, certain smells you were around, and even the weather! You might eventually clue in to what’s causing the migraine beast to emerge.

Pen and paper with handwritten food log and decorative buttons on a table

Sleep it off

Amazing what sleep can do for the body! You need rest when undergoing a migraine attack. Not to mention when you’re body is working hard growing a tiny human. If you’re struggling to sleep at night due to pregnancy, try purchasing a full body pillow. I couldn’t sleep without mine! It cocooned by body and supported me in all the right places.

Check out Katelyn Fagan at What’s Up Fagans?, and her post: Ultimate Guide on How to Sleep During Pregnancy. She mentions a lot of amazing tips!

Hot showers can work wonders

This was a must for me. A steady stream massaging over my noggin helped soothe the pain right out. Just be careful it’s not super hot so you don’t harm little baby inside of you.

DōTerra Deep Blue Rub

Ahh, this stuff is a dream in a tube. Take a dab and rub it on the back of your neck and a cooling sensation helps whisk the pain away. A bit pricey but I’ve had my tube for 2 years and I still have plenty left. Deep Blue is also bliss on your back from all that pregnancy weight!

Ice pack

Brings down inflammation and soothes pain. Get a soft one with gel beads so it contours to your head and is super comfy to lay on.

find a food you can tolerate

NOT EASY. Combine a migraine with morning sickness, and I didn’t even want to think about food. But for some strange reason, I could always down split pea soup and saltines which helped me feel loads better. Find a food you can tolerate, even if it’s a big cookie, and have at it! Lack of food can lead to head pain and you need to eat to feed growing baby.

When your migraine attack is over, try to incorporate lots of fruits and veggies into your diet. Your body will thank you!

drink a ton of water

Your body needs water and lack of it can even bring on a migraine. Hot water with lemon helped with my nausea and relaxed my body right to sleep.

Eat healthy and take your prenatal vitamins

Your body is working hard making up for all the nutrients your baby is taking. If deficient in certain vitamins, it may cause migraines or severe headaches.

Fresh spinach leaves in a steamer

Spinach is just one of the many foods that contain beneficial vitamins and minerals such as iron that may improve your migraines.

After years and two pregnancies later, I finally figured out a lack of iron was the culprit. That explains why I would get migraines during pregnancy and after my periods.

Soft background noise

When I go through a migraine, my body tenses up and I scrunch my face from the pain. I learned that if I just relax, it takes the edge off. Listen to a calm song, white noise, or nature sounds to drift away to.

I recommend the app Rain Rain Sleep Sounds. It allows you to make combos of different beautiful sounds. For example: cat purring and wind chimes or desert winds and crickets! Lovely, eh? It also helps my baby drift right to sleep.

listen to an Audiobook

The same wonderful affect as music, it allows you to take your mind off yourself. And I looove listening to a juicy story about brooding vampires!

snuggle up with a loved one

When you cuddle up with a loved one, the hormone oxytocin is released. This hormone relieves pain, calms your body down, and improves your sleep! Oxytocin also plays an amazing role during pregnancy by stimulating the uterine to contract and labor to progress. And afterwards, when your newborn starts to breastfeed, the magical oxytocin helps establish milk flow and create a bond between you and your wee one.

No wonder oxytocin is dubbed the “love hormone” and the “cuddle chemical”! It’s AMAZING!

Seek help from others

Reach out to friends and family if you can for added support. I don’t know what I would of done without my husband when I was pregnant with my second. He pulled most of the weight caring for our eldest while I was down for the count, battling off a migraine. If no help is around check out my tips on how to cope with a migraine or illness when caring for your kids.

Say a mantra

Sounds a little crazy but I promise it helped me immensely. When I’m in excruciating pain and discomfort I tend to get snippy. While I was pregnant, lying in the shower fighting back the urge to puke, I sometimes would curse at my growing baby. But it’s not their fault!

So, I repeated a mantra—you’re worth it, you’re worth it, you’re worth it.

And they were!!!

 

Hopefully some of this tips will help you like they did me. Leave a comment below if you have any advice dealing with migraines while pregnant.

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