Pregnancy Migraines: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

April 20, 2023

Pregnancy Migraines: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options


Pregnancy is a beautiful journey but can also come with some challenging experiences. One of these challenges is pregnancy migraines

Pregnancy migraines can be debilitating and frustrating, affecting the quality of life of pregnant women. These severe headaches can affect up to 20% of pregnant women, making them a prevalent health concern for expectant mothers. 

Having said that, understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options of pregnancy migraines is crucial to alleviate the discomfort associated with this condition. 

This article will provide insight into these factors so that pregnant women suffering from migraines will benefit from reading this. 

So, whether you are an expectant mother or someone looking to support a loved one, this will provide the knowledge to manage and prevent pregnancy migraines, helping you or your loved one attain a smoother and more comfortable pregnancy experience.

Continue reading the article below to learn more about it. 

Causes of Pregnancy Migraines

Pregnancy migraines are typically caused by a combination of factors related to hormonal, physical, and emotional changes that occur during pregnancy. These factors can trigger headaches that range from mild to severe and can vary in duration and frequency. 

To get a better understanding of what we’re talking about, we’re going to detail specific causes below. Here are some of the primary causes of pregnancy migraines:

Hormonal Changes

The hormonal changes during pregnancy can significantly affect the body, including the onset of migraines. The surge of estrogen levels during pregnancy can also cause changes in blood flow, leading to migraines. These hormonal fluctuations can also cause imbalances in the body, triggering headaches.

Increased Blood Volume

During pregnancy, the body increases blood volume to support the growing fetus. The increase in blood volume can put pressure on the blood vessels, leading to headaches and migraines.

Changes in Diet and Sleep Patterns

Pregnancy can also cause significant changes in diet and sleep patterns, leading to headaches. Skipping meals, eating foods that trigger migraines, and not getting enough sleep can also contribute to pregnancy migraines. So, stay away from bad food and get enough sleep while you’re carrying your little one! 

Physical and Emotional Stress

The physical and emotional stress that comes with pregnancy can also trigger migraines. Stress can cause muscle tension, leading to headaches, and alter the body's balance of hormones, causing imbalances. These imbalances can cause migraines in pregnant women. 

Understanding the causes of pregnancy migraines is important for managing and preventing them effectively. This is the heart behind why we came up with this article – to help you manage or prevent symptoms. Knowing these triggers can also help expectant mothers make lifestyle modifications to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. 

Watch this video that talks about migraines in women to get a better idea of what it is: 

 In the next section, we’ll discuss the symptoms of pregnancy migraines, so keep on reading. 

Symptoms of Pregnancy Migraines

 Pregnancy migraines present with various symptoms varying in intensity and duration.

To get a better idea of this, we’ve outlined the symptoms for you below. Here are some of the most common symptoms of pregnancy migraines:

Headache pain

Headache pain is the most common symptom of pregnancy migraines. It can range from mild to severe and can be located on one or both sides of the head. The pain can be throbbing, pulsating, or piercing, lasting from a few hours to several days.

Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of pregnancy migraines. They can occur before, during, or after the headache pain and can last hours to days. 

Sensitivity to light and sound

Sensitivity to light and sound is another common symptom of pregnancy migraines. This sensitivity can range from mild to severe, making it difficult for expectant mothers to function in bright or noisy environments.


Aura is a less common symptom of pregnancy migraines, but it can occur in some women. An aura is a neurological symptom that can include visual disturbances, such as seeing flashing lights or zigzag lines, or sensory disorders, such as tingling in the face or hands.

It’s essential to recognize the symptoms of pregnancy migraines to seek appropriate treatment promptly. 

Now that you know the symptoms of migraines, we’ll discuss diagnosing and managing pregnancy migraines in the next section, so keep reading below! 

Diagnosis and Management of Pregnancy Migraines

You’ll find that there are different ways to diagnose and manage pregnancy migraines. Some of these are: 

Diagnosis of Pregnancy Migraines

The diagnosis of pregnancy migraines involves a thorough medical history and physical examination. Your healthcare provider may also order imaging studies, such as an MRI or CT scan, to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms.

Non-pharmacologic treatment options

If you’re hesitant about taking medications, several non-pharmacologic treatment options are available for managing pregnancy migraines. These can include:

Relaxation techniques

Doing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation, can help reduce stress and tension, which can trigger migraines.


Without a doubt, engaging in physical activities is beneficial for the body. According to the CDC, adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week to get maximum health benefits. Even low-impact exercises, such as walking or swimming, can help improve blood flow and reduce stress, which can help prevent migraines. 

Massage therapy

Massage therapy can help relax muscles and improve blood flow, reducing the frequency and severity of migraines. 


Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to help reduce pain and inflammation. This type of therapy can help alleviate migraines in some individuals but be sure to speak with a professional before undergoing this treatment. 

Cold Therapy

Applying ice or a cold pack on the affected area can help ease your migraine pain. You can apply this for 15-20 minutes at a time. You can purchase one of our high-quality ice packs here at

Check out our 4-inch round ice packs to help relieve your pain caused by pregnancy migraines. These ice packs are reusable, so they come in handy when dealing with other painful areas of your body. 

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Pharmacologic treatment options

You may be able to find medications that can help your migraines but be sure to speak with your doctor before you decide to take any medication. 

Pharmacologic treatment options for pregnancy migraines include:


Acetaminophen is a pain reliever that is generally safe to use during pregnancy. It can help relieve mild to moderate headache pain.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, are generally not recommended during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. 

However, they may be used in the first and second trimesters under the guidance of a healthcare provider.


Triptans are a class of medications used to treat migraines. However, they are generally not recommended during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester.

Preventative medications

Preventative medications, such as beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers, may be prescribed by your healthcare provider to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

Working closely with your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment option for your pregnancy migraines is essential. 

In the next section, we will discuss prevention strategies for pregnancy migraines.

Prevention Strategies for Pregnancy Migraines

 Prevention is critical when it comes to managing pregnancy migraines. Here are some strategies that expectant mothers can implement to prevent migraines:

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep, can help prevent migraines.

Identify and avoid triggers

Identifying and avoiding triggers like certain foods, stress, and lack of sleep can help prevent migraines.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can help prevent migraines. It’s recommended that expectant mothers drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

Practice good posture

Poor posture can cause muscle tension, which can trigger migraines. It’s recommended that expectant mothers practice good posture by sitting and standing up straight and taking frequent breaks to stretch and move around.

Manage stress

Stress is a common trigger for migraines, so expectant mothers must manage stress effectively. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation can help reduce stress and tension.

Keep a headache diary

Keeping a headache diary can help identify triggers and patterns, making it easier to prevent migraines.

Consult with a healthcare provider

Consulting with a healthcare provider can help expectant mothers develop an effective prevention plan and identify appropriate treatment options.

By implementing these prevention strategies, expectant mothers can reduce the frequency and severity of pregnancy migraines and improve their overall quality of life during pregnancy.

Pack It Up 

Pregnancy migraines can be a significant source of discomfort and pain for expectant mothers. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for pregnancy migraines can help manage and prevent them effectively. 

By working closely with a healthcare provider, expectant mothers can develop an individualized treatment plan considering their pregnancy's unique needs and circumstances. 

They can experience a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy with proper management and prevention. And remember, we have high-quality ice packs available for you if you’re looking got migraine pain relief. Visit our website here at to get your ice packs now. 

Here at, relief is a click away! 

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