Are Headaches Normal in the First Trimester?

Reviewed on 5/26/2021

Headaches are common in the first trimester of pregnancy, which are typically caused by increased hormones and increased blood volume. For some women who often experience migraine headaches, they may have fewer migraines once they become pregnant, while others may have the same or more migraines.
Headaches are common in the first trimester of pregnancy, which are typically caused by increased hormones and increased blood volume. For some women who often experience migraine headaches, they may have fewer migraines once they become pregnant, while others may have the same or more migraines.

Headaches are a common pregnancy symptom during the first trimester, usually due to increased hormones and increased blood volume. 

These headaches will fade or even disappear during the second trimester, although some women may still continue experiencing occasional headaches

Women who have migraine headaches before pregnancy may experience fewer migraines once they become pregnant, but some women may have the same number or more migraine headaches.

What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy?

Headaches during the first trimester are commonly caused by pregnancy hormonal changes, as well as increased blood volume and circulation. 

Women who are used to regularly consuming caffeine before becoming pregnant but quit due to pregnancy may also have short-term caffeine withdrawal headaches. 

Other causes of headaches during pregnancy may include:

How Do You Treat Headaches During Pregnancy?

If you suffer from pregnancy headaches, there are many home remedies and natural treatments available to help relieve your pain: 

  • Keep a headache diary to figure out if there are triggers that cause the headache
  • Avoid common migraine triggers such as:
    • Foods and food additives
      • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
      • Nitrites and nitrates, commonly found in processed meats such as hot dogs, salami, and bacon
      • Artificial sweeteners
      • Certain beans and nuts
      • Aged cheese and cultured dairy products such as buttermilk and sour cream
      • Yogurt
      • Certain fresh fruits such as bananas, papayas, avocados, and citrus
      • Smoked fish
      • Chocolate and carob
      • Peanuts
      • Fermented or pickled foods such as soy sauce or sauerkraut
      • Bread with fresh yeast
    • Glaring or flickering lights
    • Loud noises
    • Excessive heat or cold
    • Strong odors
    • Tobacco smoke
  • Use a warm or cool compress on the forehead or base of the skull
  • Take a cool or warm shower or bath, or splash cool water on your face
  • Eat small meals frequently to prevent low blood sugar
  • Stay hydrated
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Get regular exercise 
  • Use relaxation techniques
    • Meditation
    • Yoga
    • Self-hypnosis
    • Biofeedback
  • Get a massage
  • Try acupuncture

What Can You Take for Headaches When Pregnant?

For women who want to take medication to treat headache pain, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy when taken as directed on the package label.

Other headache medicines such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), and most prescription migraine headache medication are not recommended for use by pregnant women. 

Talk to your doctor before taking any over-the-counter (OTC) headache medication or supplement during pregnancy. 

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Reviewed on 5/26/2021
References
https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/your-body/headaches-during-pregnancy_2035

https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/headaches-and-pregnancy-978/