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Migraine Headache Services

safe options for headaches in pregnancy

During pregnancy the majority of migraine patients experience a decrease in headache severity and frequency, but for 25% of patients that is not the case. Treatment for headaches in pregnancy must be approached without the use of many popular pain relief medications. This is because many of those pain medications have adverse affects on the uterus and can pass through the placenta and affect the unborn baby. 

Migraine medications may induce labor and should be avoided. Sumatriptan, however, taken early in the pregnancy has no negative affect on the pregnancy or labor. Amitriptyline and imipramine can be taken safely late in pregnancy and other preventative medications should only be taken in the third trimester. In any case, these medications should not be taken during the last two weeks before delivery. Topiramate has been associated with cleft palates in newborns and should be avoided during the length of the pregnancy.Migraine patients that become pregnant should pursue drug free pain management methods as much as possible. Consideration of diet and behavior needs to seek headache triggers so they can be avoided. 

Food and activities that had no undesirable health effect before pregnancy, could now produce symptoms including headaches. Coffee intake is a good place to start examining eating habits, as caffeine is a known migraine trigger in some while providing relief to others. In fact, caffeine is a common ingredient in migraine strength and extra strength versions of pain killers like aspirin and acetaminophen. There are many over the counter choices of pain medications that will not adversely affect a pregnancy, acetaminophen being an example of a medication that has, for decades, been used safely by pregnant women. Nonetheless, always check with your doctor before starting to treat with any non prescription medications.

Women Can Develop New Headaches Postpartum

The onset of new headaches is a common complaint among postpartum women. They can be caused by primary disorders like migraines or tension-type headaches as well as secondary headache disorders including post-dural puncture headache. Nursing mothers that are suffering form migraine headaches should take over the counter medications as a first course of action. Nursing mothers should not take Topiramate. Venlafaxine (Effexor) can act as a safe substitute.

Call us today if you are suffering from any kind of headaches in pregnancy.  At New Jersey Headache Institute we can provide the guidance and care you need to avoid painful migraines during pregnancy as well.