Migraines and Pregnancy - Azusa,CA

Updated on September 22, 2009
S.R. asks from Azusa, CA
29 answers

Any other mamas out there with migraines? I have been getting them since I was 8, and they have evolved over the years. They used to blindside me and wipe me out for 1/2 day or more, now they creep up on me for days or linger on off mildly for days. I seem to have an increase during pregnancy. I remember with my first pregnancy I felt like they were just constant for a few weeks there, somewhere around 10-20 weeks. I am 15 weeks with this second pregnancy and they seem to be peaking again. Mine always come during busy times, or times with high anticipation and lots of things going on- with my first pregnancy this was the holiday season, this time it is the whole "back to school" time (where I work) and also my sister's wedding in a month. So I am not even sure if it is pregnancy related. The bummer is I can't take anything really to zap them, because everything you 're allowed to take during pregnancy is really weak.
1) Have any of you mom's noticed an increase in migraines when you are prego, and 2) what methods work for you to cope with them or stave them off? Even if you aren't pregnant, what methods do you use to handle your migraines?

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C.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Colon hydrotherapy has worked miracles for me, but I don't think you will find anyone willing to take you as a client while you are pregnant, so you might give it a try once you have delivered.

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M.A.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

Hi S., I have never had migraines, fortunately, but my mom did when she was pregnant with me 51 years ago. Back then there wasn't much to do and since she had waited more than 10 years to get pregnant with me she was very cautious about everything! A close friend of the family was a chiropractor and suggested an adjustment. Mom was skeptical and only allowed him to adjust her from the shoulders up. Apparently it helped tremendously and here I am with no untoward effects. Adjustments combined with massage can be very beneficial as they open the nueropathways that can get blocked with pinched nerves under stress. My PPO covers chiropractic. It's worth looking into. Talk to people you know who use a chiropractor for referral. That is usually the best way.

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D.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.,
The only migraines I've had were when I was pregnant.
I laid down in a dark room with a wet washcloth on my forehead.
The moment I was feeling some relief my husband was allowed to turn the TV
on and we watched The Best of Johnny Carson. I think all the laughter helped!

If you think stress is a factor, plan time in your day to relax. Even if just for 5 minutes.
I hear that food can also be a trigger, so if you know what your trigger is, you can try to avoid that. I wish you the best of luck. Linda

P.S. The acupuncture idea sounds like a good one to me.

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J.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have problems that sound just like yours, but I am not pregnant (past menopaude.) I have been under a neurologist's care for years and am currently taking Depakote and Neurontin (sp?). That has helped a lot. I also take migraine meds and narcotics for the pain. I have not found any sure-fire remedy, but Saint Jude's medical center has a pain center that I am going to try. It is three to five days a week, about 3 hours a day, for nine weeks. My insurance is going to pay for all of it. I know that is a big time commitment, but I am going to try it so I can get back (hopefully) to living a full life. They are going to use a lot of non-medical interventions, like a psychologist, nutritionist, work on posture, occupational therapy, bio-feedback, etc. I was referred to it by Dr. Nazrooli who is a pain specialist. My Neurologist is Dr. Thomas Ela in Anaheim. I hope this is helpful.

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K.K.

answers from San Diego on

Hello, I used to get migraines. While stress can bring it on, I found that caffeine (including chocolate) and alcohol (even that one or two drinks a year) as well as aged cheese helped. I would go into what I call relax mode and think (and picture) something relaxing. I also would take an aspirin (which you can't during pregnancy), and go into a dark area. I also worked at an elementary school and had to go into the nurse's office back then. The air pressure can also play a part. Later, one of the teacher loaned me a book which showed which vitamins help certain health problems. It said to take a multi-vitamin/multi-mineral daily, along with vitamin C and B-100. The B-100 is a stress reducer. Vitamin C helps to enhance many vitamins. I would check with your doctor before starting this or any other suggested "cures". I am older now and I am glad to say that I am migraine free. I am also taking meds to keep my blood pressure down. I believe that the migraines are caused by constricting blood vessels.
I hope you are able to find something which works for you.
Good luck with your precious family.
K. K.

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V.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

homeopathic remedies are safe to take during pregnancy. the best one would be selected by the professional homeopath (make sure he/she does not practice any other modalities), but you may want to try your luck with headache combo - in a sence that homeopath will chose from thousands of remeides the one that YOU need, and combo has 10-15 "statistically" determined.
Good Luck
V.

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A.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

My situation has been similar, and now that I am breastfeeding baby #2, I continue to get migraines whenever my hormones are off because of an increase/decrease in his feedings thus my milk production. I have found both during pregnancy and nursing that Tylenol plus caffeine help out a lot more than you can imagine. The extra kick the caffeine gives the Tylenol is enough to take off the edge at least. I was too cautious to take any prescription meds, but felt safe with a moderate amount of caffeine. I take Excedrin Tension (acetaminophen + caffeine) the other Excedrin varieties have aspirin so avoid those. But of course talk with your doctor first! Something else to try is chillow (amazon.com). Also great postpartum when you are getting the night sweats!

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A.Y.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.
I feel your pain. I suffered from awful migraines my entire life. Meds never really helped much, migraine specific meds always made me throw up and anything short of locking myself in a silent dark room to try to sleep it off didn't work for me. I used to use a heating pad on the back of my neck, that seemed to help somewhat.

However, you may want to try to cut out cow dairy. I know it sounds Ike an odd thing but I happen to stop eating any form of cows milk when my son was 2 weeks old due to the fact it seemed to bother him so much (through my breastmilk) anyway, a surprising thing happen, I stopped getting migraines! In fact I stopped getting headaches all together (I was the type of person who always had a headache although doctors couldn't explain why).

Anyway may be worth a shot. It takes about 2 weeks for your system to be clear of the cow protien. It also seemed to help my niece who also suffers from dehibilitating migraines. Just make sure you take supplements for your calcium intake. I also find that I can consume goat mik products just fine.

If you'd rather take a holistic approach, you could also try accupuncture

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D.D.

answers from San Diego on

Hi!
I totally know how you feel. I get horrible migraines that absolutely wipe me out as well. When I got pregnant with my son (who is now 2), I was terrified b/c I would not be able to take anything. Acutually my doctor at the time prescribed vicadin, which I thought was completely ridiculous considering I was only 8 weeks pregnant & had never taken such a harsh drug. So, I looked into other methods and came across an acupuncturist. This totally changed my LIFE!!! Acupuncture can do wonders for migraines & really help during pregnancy and birth. I barely got a headache my whole pregnancy. I still see the acupuncturist now and really rely on her expertise for all of my health needs. I am not sure where you are located, but I am in San Diego and I can recommend a few amazing practioners.

Best of luck!!
D.

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K.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi,
I also get migraines and my advice is to talk to your doctor. i suffered from headache thinking i could only take tylenol while i was pregnant but when i talked to my doctor he prescribed me someone for my headache that worked so much better.

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R.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

I didn't read all of the responses, so forgive me if i'm repeating someone. Talk to your doctor. There ARE some meds that they can prescribe when you are pregnant that are safe. They may not be the amazing migraine killers that you can normally take, but definitely will be stronger that Tylenol. Vicodin is just one example - again have to be careful, but in moderation on occasion, it can be used for pain during pregnancy. i believe that vicodin comes in a tylenol or ibuprofen combo, so you would need the tylenol combo, i think. Don't give up hope mama! Also ask your doctor if there is anything preventative that you can do. Check your diet to see if there's a trigger food/beverage. I'm so sorry you are suffering! Hopefully you've gotten some good ideas from the M-source community.

Blessings,
R.

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L.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

There are many preventatives for migraine sufferers. I don't know which ones are allowed when pregnant. I take beta blockers daily. I rarely get migraines anymore (because of the beta blockers) and when I do, I can sleep them off without meds. They discovered that women with high blood pressure who took beta blockers were getting fewer migraines. There are MANY other preventatives and perhaps they are not as bad for the fetus as the drugs used to get rid of the migraines. Ask your doctor.

C.C.

answers from Visalia on

im not prego, but this remedy might be safe.

when you feel one coming on, drink a can or small bottle coca cola the real brand and 2 tylenol. works for me and my sister. drink plenty of water, at least 6 small glasses a day. if i even miss one glass of water, fer sher i get the migraine.

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M.S.

answers from Las Vegas on

Dear S.:

I had the exact same experience that you describe. Unfortunately, I didn't discover the cure until way later. It was dietary. (I wish the doctors who prescribed all the meds had noticed that before!) Like Amanda (below) said, cow's milk can be a trigger (it was for me) and so can refined sugar. It could be anything but you may want to start with the obvious.

I'm sure you've already eliminated colas and coffee or anything with caffeine since you're pregnant, so try to eliminate the cow's milk and see what happens.

I wish you the very best!

M.

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C.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.,
I, too, had migraines that happened the month of December in my 3rd/4th month. I was doing acupuncture but nothing was working. I have had migraines since my teen years but these hit extra intensely. I called the nurse's advice line through my insurance company and listened to a list of things that can cause migraines. I thought I knew them all already but she started listing vitamins and minerals that, when we are lacking in them, can cause migraines. Since the baby pulls from our stores, we can become depleted fast. I looked at my doctor-prescribed vitamins and found that they had next to no magnesium. Since magnesium is one of those minerals, I began supplementing and the migraines disappeared.

I hope this helps. I've been there and I know how much it hurts!

All the best,
C.

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L.D.

answers from Las Vegas on

i certainly got more headaches/migraines when pregnant (both pregnancies). i was told to take a couple tylenol and have some caffeine (coffee, soda)which would help if it wasn't too bad. my friend who got migraines really bad when she was pregnant was told the same thing by her dr. if it gets real bad go to labor and delivery for something stronger. it sucks when you don't feel good when you're pregnant cuz there's so little you can do... GOOD LUCK!!!

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S.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

I had suffered for years with migraines and then my friend too me to a homeopathic person and he worked wonders and I haven't had a migraine for the past 15 years! It's not invasive, no meds,but I promise it will really help but slightly expensive. If you are interested please email me back and I can give you further information. I promise that it works you don't even take your clothes off!!

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A.G.

answers from Las Vegas on

I am prone to migraines normally and its worse when I am pregnant. I have taken Fioricet in each of my pregnancies and am taking it now (33 weeks pg with #3). It is pretty weak compared to meds you can take not pregnant but its waaay better than plain tylenol. I just make sure to take it the second I feel a migraine creeping up. It usually works after 1 or 2 doses. Good luck!

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R.J.

answers from San Diego on

Oy. I too, do the cyclical migraine thing (also get the visual migraines, but as those don't hurt, I just ignore them or watch the "show").

Mine have one MAJOR trigger...and that's a certain nerve (or ganglia of nerves, don't know which) in my neck. If my neck and shoulders get really tight (guess where I send MY stress?) impinging on those nerves, it'll trigger a migraine. If there's a lot of pressure on my sinuses, either my facial or trigeminal nerve gets triggered (i've been told but I can't remember which) which in turn triggers that one stupid nerve in my neck which then tightens those muscles FURTHER impinging on that stupid nerve, which then triggers a MAJOR bad migraine...ditto if I'm clenching my jaw. So these days the cuplrit is usualy my sinuses, or my jaw, or stress...they all come back to bite me. Flat light will do it, too...but that's easily fixed with sunglasses.

When I was pregnant, my migraines went through the roof! I figured out eventually (and on accident) that the prenatal vitamins were actually causing the majority of my migraines, so I switched to flinstones and got rid of 3/4s of them.

Of course, a shot of imitrex will fix me right up...but I really don't like doing that...even though I'm NOT pregnant.

The best thing for ME is to have bimonthly massages. One hour spent on my back/shoulders/neck/head. That cuts my migraines down to maybe 1-3 per month. Weekly massages get rid of them almost entirely (maybe 1 every 6 months). My old insurances used to cover massage at 100% plus a $10 copay (premera) or at 80% but no copay (Regence...ended up be $14).. Heaven. Our new insurance doesn't cover massage at ALL. I'm contemplating sticking it to them by actually getting all the imitrex I would need in a month (about 20 shots)...which would cost them around 2k. And then submit my medical records and a request to get massage covered. Even at 4 visits a month that's only $300. Hmmmm 2,000 v 300. Come on Cigna. Do the math.

Aside from massage, the other thing I can do is to take some ibuprofen + tylenol + sudefed (pseduoephedrine HCl) right at the very very beginning of a migraine (if I catch it soon enough). That will stomp on it at least half the time. I don't know what if any of those drugs are safe during pregnancy except tylenol.

Of course, there's the dark. And throwing up. But both of those are kind of lousy options.

Best of luck, sweetie. Migraines are l.o.u.s.y.

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A.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

S.,
It sounds like you are having tension H/A which arise when you are under additional stress(physical, chemical and emotional stress). So your best bet is to find ways to decrease your stress in each area. There is some good advise here with dietary changes for chemical stress(the most common cuprits are sugar, corn, wheat, dairy, nuts, soy)You kinda need to test your body out to see what works. For the physical stress you have to take some tension off your Nervous System(Chiropractic works great, especially during pregnancy, I see this everyday in my practice, massage, acupuncture as well)And then there is emotional stress(this is the more challenging area)There are an abundance of techniques for dealing with this like Neuro-Emotional Technique, EFT to name a few, or to just make less commitments in your life and and be aware of what triggars you and look at why it really triggars you, and become more aware before it creeps up again. And as always get plenty of REST.
Good luck and good health to you.
Dr. A. Grob
www.chiropracticwonderland.net

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B.B.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

i know you probably already got plenty of responses, but this may help also. i have terrible migraines (clusters!!) which have been on and off since a bad car wreck in '98. long story short, i have been through every medicine there is out there for them. the only relief i got during my pregnancies (all 3) was with vicodin. i took it with all of my pregnancies, and all three of my beautiful children (7 yrs, 2.5 yrs, and 6 months) are perfectly healthy, happy individuals. i was really skeptical at first, because it is a narcotic, but my OB told me he wouldn't prescribe me anything that his own wife wouldn't be allowed to take. i am an RN, so i know the risks with taking certain drugs during pregnancy. i can promise you this, as long as you take them only when needed (like when your eyes are going to pop out of your head from the pressure lol), and keep track of your fetal movements later in pregnancy, you'll be fine. if you feel the baby isn't moving as he/she should when you take the medicine, just stop. its that simple. you are right about the migraines being more severe during pregnancy, its all those lovely hormones bouncing around. they tend to get worse towards the end, when you have all that extra fluid racing through your body also, so prepare for that. i can't think of anything else to tell you, except the common sense stuff like drinking lots of water, resting when able, etc. if you need anymore support or have more questions, please contact me.
[email protected]____.com

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

I had morning sickness AND migraines with both my pregnancies.
The ONLY thing that helped me, was acupuncture. Just one session, and it was gone, completely.
My OB/GYN had recommended it, with each of my pregnancies.

Acupuncture does not hurt, in fact it is very relaxing. My session took 1/2 hour. And that was it.

Of course, see an Acupuncturist that handles pregnant women. Or for you, since you get them under stress/duress... I don't know how it would help you. But for my pregnancy related Migraines, it was the only thing that helped.

All the best,
Susan

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M.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.:

Have you tried acupuncture, chiropractic, or craniosacral massage?

M.

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W.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

S.,
I still get migraines.. I have learned to avoid drinking or eating too much caffeine or chocolate, get plenty of rest (which is difficult for a Mom), and drink a lot of water(more than the recommended 8 glasses daily). If you feel your shoulders tense, work on relaxing them.
I find a cool dark place with something cold on my eyes and warm/hot on my neck and shoulders really helps. When I had more time to do YOGA I rarely got them.
GOOD LUCK and take care.
W. M

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C.K.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Ugh, yes, I have suffered miserably for several years with migraines. Fortunately mine seeemd to subside during pregnancy and post-birth. They've revved up a bit again, but I'm still nursing so can't really take anything. First, drink a ton of water! The slightest bit of dehydration will give me a killer headache and your little one is zapping your normal stores of water, nutrients, etc. I try to get home and in bed at the first sign to ward it off as much as possible. Keeping it dark and quiet is key. I drink herbal teas (chamomile, etc) and will add calming elements to it (lemon balm extract, etc). If you have noticed any food triggers, steer clear! You may also consider going to the chiropractor...perhaps carrying the weight of the baby is causing you to get out of wack and trigger the migraine. Take prenatal yoga so that you are strtching your body and relaxign your mind. Last but not least, talk to your Dr and get recommendations. I hope you feel better soon...I know your pain!!!

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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

Have you ever seen a chiropractor before? Find a good one. It cured me of my migranes. I have never gotten one again. It actually made me become a chiro. It dosnt always get rid of them completely, but most often they lessen in frequency and severity, if not going away completely. and it is perfectly safe and beneficial to the pregnancy in most cases!! hope this helps!

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A.A.

answers from San Diego on

I've had migranes for as long as I can remember. When I was pregnant they got really bad and would last for weeks. I brought it up to my OB and it turns out that the increase was caused by a peak in my blood pressure. I started taking meds and notice a huge difference in my migranes. Back to normal or whatever that means. :) you might talk and try to rule out something else that could be causing yours. Hope this helps! Good luck.

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J.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

I found the greatest and most simple thing, but I don't remember how big of a no no it is during pregnancy, so ask your doc. (I did not know about it during mine) Drink coffee! It sounds simple, but it works. It reduces the swelling in the blood vessels in your brain. It really works. I have been suffering for years and can't take meds due to and having I.T.P. so this was a miracle for me. You can use it after pregnancy if you can't now. I would ask your doc first if one cup would hurt, I know caffeine is not good during pregnancy, but I think it is lesser than the two evils, migraines cause a ton of stress. Good luck, I feel your pain.

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S.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, S.. I used to get migraines, also, since I was about that age. Eventually, I was dating a guy in college and had to cancel on him a couple of times because of them so he looked it up in the library! According to all the books he copied, they are caused by a hereditary blood vessel disorder and can be triggered by hormonal changes, stress, dehydration, an ingredient in cheddar cheese, caffeine and hunger. Now here's the thing about caffeine! Your blood vessels are not responding correctly to hormones and conditions, so caffeine would make mine first constrict so that I could not see for awhile (niacin helps open them back up) BUT then they let loose and over compensate as a rule of migraines and you can get that pounding for days until they settle back down! THAT is actually the time when caffeine can HELP. It will constrict them again. Caffeine was a trigger that constricted my vessels and initially increased the ocular star burst thing, but later can reduced the pounding.

I found that I usually took about 3 of these triggers to get one. I got off of aged cheddar completely; cut down on the chocolate but the biggest thing was the dehydration. Getting enough water was the main thing for me. Horomones played a huge part, also; I often got one 2 weeks before my period and then one the day I got my period!

To prevent them, I started taking feverfew, niacin and magnesium. That helped a lot! I did get more when I was pregnant, because hormones also effect them and feverfew is contraindicated for pregnancy, so I just had to decrease the other triggers. Your body is already under a lot of stess due to just being pregnant, so you really have to decrease that in whatever ways you can.

Eventually, after I had the baby, because my blood vessels increased in size, they were stretched a bit and I don't have much trouble with migraines to this day anymore. If I really push it; stay up late, don't drink enough water, eat poorly, etc. I'll still get one, though.

I'm sure you'll get a lot of good advice here, but this is my experience! A GREAT chiropractor in this area, Dr. Ross, ###-###-#### knows a lot about the chiropractic end. When I get them now it is usually because I have stress on the nerve that leads to the vessels in my brain OR, this is going to sound strange, but if you are constipated, that also can be a factor! Some how, cramping and migraines are effected by what's going on their, also and I found they went hand in hand. If I got a migraine, I was also almost always constipated! Fun stuff!!

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