Pregnancy And Migraines

53 Replies
Lin - November 8

I'm in my early 30s and have been having severe migraines over the last couple years (for the first time). When I say severe, I mean with a very distinct aura. I lose quite a bit of my eyesight, have numbness that starts in my hand and moves up my arm, get very sensitive to light, etc. My question is this: how dangerous are migraines for a baby? My husband and I are trying to get pregnant, and I'm worried that I might have a migraine or two while pregnant. Does anyone here suffer from migraines and have any advice? Is there a migraine med that's safe to take while pregnant?


Christy - November 8

I had bad migraines with my first pregnancy and saw a specialist. He did not reccomend that I take something daily, but I remember him saying that some women did. I think I remember him saying something about Paxil. I'm not sure how strong that is or if it would help you. It would probably be a good idea to go ahead and talk to you doctor b/4 getting pregnant about what you can take and possibly get started on it. Also, I didn't realize that you could lose eyesight from a migraine. Is that common?


Lin - November 8

Well, the eyesight thing is more of a blank spot in my vision that gets bigger and bigger and is framed by a rainbow zig-zag pattern. It's apparently a textbook migraine aura. Anyway, I'm not really looking to take something daily, particularly since the migraines are in no way regular. There's a chance I could go through a whole pregnancy without even having one. I'm more wondering if there's something like my current medication that is safe to take during pregnancy once a migraine starts creeping on. Right now I've got something called Frova, which I take as soon as the first hint of a migraine appears, and it seems to do a pretty good job of stopping it. Anyway, I'll of course ask my doctor, but I figured it was worth asking in case someone else is dealing with migraines during pregnancy.


Name withheld - November 8

I had severe headaches, which I don't normally get, in my first trimester. Now, at 17 weeks, they're gone.


Tess - November 8

Im almost 13wks pregnant and I get terrible headaches........(mostly wkends though) I usually take some medz but now that Im preggo...I DONT take anything. I just deal w/ it. Hopefully it'll go away soon. Goodluck to you!


Lin - November 8

Girls, if you don't mind, I'd like to keep the discussion here about migraines, which are much more than just headaches. A headache is one thing. Something which effects the activity in the brain is another. I doubt a regular headache could harm a baby, while I could easily see how a migraine could actually do some damage. That is my concern here, not how to keep my head from hurting while pregnant.


Heather - November 8

Hi Lin, I have been a migraine sufferer for many years. I am currently 22 weeks and my migraines were a lot worse in the first trimester than they are now. I cannot take my regular medication that I take at the onset, however I try to take Tylenol and go to sleep. I have spoken with my doctor and he said that it is completely normal and isn't doing any harm to my baby. He said he could prescribe Tylenol with Codeine if I needed it but I declined as I don't want to give my baby Codeine - completely a personal choice. I hope this helps some. Good luck!


Jbear - November 9

I had really bad migraines during my second pregnancy--flashing lights just before the onset, severe nausea, seeing swirling black spots. It would last at least two days each time. They were bad enough that I missed work because of them. During the first trimester, my doctor was hesitant to prescribe anything. During the second, he prescribed Fioricet, which is a combination of tylenol, caffeine and a barbituate, but I didn't like how deeply I slept when I took it, so then he prescribed tylenol with codeine. My baby is perfectly healthy. I've seen lots of posts from women who did without medicine for their migraines during pregnancy, but that wasn't physically possible for me.


Lucy - November 9

If my headaches make me throw up sometimes, does that mean they are migraines? Has anyone had one during labor?


Jbear - November 9

Lucy, they could be migraines...if it's bad enough to make you throw up, it's bad enough to mention to your doctor, especially if you're in the 3rd trimester, because sometimes headaches are a sign of pre-eclampsia. I didn't have a headache while I was having either of my kids, but I got a spinal headache after my first daughter. That's when they poke the wrong part of your spine during anesthesia, and then you get a headache every time you stand up. I thought I was allergic to my baby, because every time I got up to see her I threw up. They can fix spinal headaches, though, with a blood patch.


Laura - November 9

Hi Lin, I suffer from migraines. I started getting them when I was 4 months pregnant with my first. I stopped drinking caffine and eating chocolate with my first. I was very dedicated. That was 9 1/2 years ago. The caffine withdrawl was killer. I had migraines severe like yourself up until July of this year when I cut myself off of caffine again for good. This is not the answer for everyone. People suffer from migraines for many reasons. All I took for the pain was tylenol and it did not help. My doctor told me the migraines woould not harm my babies. I have three children. Good luck to you.


Lin - November 9

Laura, what you're saying makes no sense. Caffeine and chocolate (because of the caffeine in it) are VERY GOOD for migraines. You actually want more caffeine during migraines, not to cut it off. If cutting caffeine out of your diet stopped your headaches, then they weren't migraines. Normal headaches are due to the constriction of blood vessels in the brain, which is why caffeine is bad for them - it also constricts blood vessels. Migraines, on the other hand, are exactly the opposite - they're due to the dilation of blood vessels in the brain. For this reason, caffeine helps soothe migraines by constricting those dilated blood vessels. The only thing that soothes my migraines, aside from the medication, is drinking a cup or two of coffee and maybe eating some chocolate.


Jbear - November 10

Lin, if you're wondering, the reason regular migraine medicine can't be used during pregnancy is that it works by constricting blood vessels in the head, but it also constricts blood vessels all over the body, even in the placenta...I had forgotten that my doctor told me that. You're right about caffeine and chocolate...My best "prescription" for menstrual migraines is two asprin, two tylenol, half a no-doze, a diet coke and peanut b___ter m&m's...(of course you can't have the apsrin when you're pregnant) If you're into herbal remedies, kava is good for migraines.


Lin - November 10

Ah, makes sense. But wouldn't caffeine do the same thing and hence be better avoided during pregnancy?


Jbear - November 10

My guess is that caffeine isn't as effective as the prescription medications, but I'm not sure. I didn't avoid caffeine during either of my pregnancies, and both of my babies grew well, a sign that enough blood was getting to them. One of the meds my doctor gave me for migraine during pregnancy had caffeine in it. If you have an ob/gyn, maybe you could call him and tell him you're trying to get pregnant, and you're wondering what medicines you'll be able to take for migraines when you're pregnant. It's a reasonable question. A lot of migraine sufferers have worse or more frequent migraines during pregnancy, especially during the second trimester. Do you get migraines during your period, or is it all the time?


Lin - November 10

I'm not sure whether or not my migraines are period-related. I never really payed attention to what point in the month they occurred until the last one, which was during my period. I don't recall if the previous one was during my period or not. The cause for that one seemed to be the horrible sofa bed I was sleeping on. After four days of migraine, I woke up one morning at 4am with my neck kinked, my arm numb, and a fierce pain in my head. I bent my neck, heard a big crack, and the headache and numbness started to subside. The next morning I moved the mattress onto the floor, and the migraine dissipated soon after. I'm beginning to become convinced that my migraines have more to do with neck alignment than anything else.


Laura - November 10

Lin, My doctor told me that I do suffer from migraines. Yes, people to drink caffine to get rid of a migraine. I cut caffine out of my diet and was able to not get them. That is what I was trying to explain. Good Luck.



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