pregnancy headaches

Pregnancy Headache Remedies

One of the most common questions women have during pregnancy is, “How can I get rid of a headache while pregnant?

Pregnancy headaches are nothing to joke about. Many women experience headaches during their first and third trimesters.

Studies show that headaches and migraines are much more common in men than in women. (Probably because we seem to have more stress!) 

Women who normally experience headaches or migraines will most likely have headaches during pregnancy. Research shows that some women who have never experienced a migraine before, have a good chance of experiencing their first migraine during pregnancy.

I’ve been pregnant 5 times but only gave birth to 4 children. During those pregnancies, I had some horrible headaches.

I searched high and low to find something to relieve my pain and turning to my usual Advil or Excedrin was no longer an option for me!

I needed something safer and something that worked!

Here is a list of 9 natural pregnancy headache treatments that worked for me and can hopefully help some other moms out there as well!

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What Causes Pregnancy Headaches?

Women can often experience pregnancy headaches during the first trimester because of fluctuations in our hormones and an increase in blood volume. (lucky us!)

In most cases, pregnancy headaches aren’t as painful by the second trimester. However, there are some of us unlucky mamas who have pregnancy headaches for up to four-five months!

Yes, this was me, unfortunately!

Causes of headaches during pregnancy can include:

  • caffeine withdrawal
  • sleep deprivation
  • low blood sugar
  • dehydration
  • stress

Most of the time, when we have a headache, we normally tackle it with a few advils and call it a day! However, when you’re pregnant, grabbing that bottle of ibuprofen isn’t possible!

There are some medications that your doctor may advise you to take, especially if you’re dealing with some serious migraines.

If you choose to find a more natural solution to your pregnancy headaches first, then keep reading!

I have tried a million different things for my pregnancy headaches and below is a list of things that helped me get through those awful pregnancy headaches and focus on my baby! Each one is different and in many instances, I had to combine a few of the remedies to get some relief.

These natural pregnancy headache treatments do work, it’s just a matter of finding the right combination for you!

Give these a try first and if they don’t work, talk to your doctor and they can work with you to find something that will help!

 

Essential Oil for Headaches During Pregnancy

This was a life saver for me and I continued to use it for postpartum headaches. Be sure to get real peppermint oil, not the diluted fake kind. Also, if you have little ones in the house, keep it in a safe place because this isn’t safe for children to mess with!

How to use peppermint oil for headaches:

You can either dilute two drops of oil in some coconut or olive oil and rub on your temples and forehead. If your headache is really bad, we’re talking migraine like and nothing works, there’s no need to dilute the peppermint oil. Just be sure the peppermint oil is placed high enough on your forehead so no oils drip into your eyes!

Trust me, this is a strong oil and it will burn if it gets in your eyes!

The cooling sensation of the peppermint oil takes the edge off and really helps calm the pain of your head.

This remedy has never completely taken the headache away for me, but it has helped me manage through my day. I’ve had to reapply every half hour or so.

My go-to method that worked wonders for postpartum headaches was the peppermint oil and two advils! However, you can’t take that when you’re pregnant, so save that tip for after you deliver your baby!

I’ve always kept my peppermint oil on hand and not only did it help me for me pregnancy headaches but also helped with morning sickness as well.

My favorite peppermint oil is by Young Living and you can find out more about that here. There are also a few others that are pretty good on Amazon as well, not as strong as Young Living, but can help!

For a complete list of safe essential oils to use during pregnancy, click here. 

Click the photos below for more information:

essential oils

Cayenne Pepper for Pregnancy headaches

Cayenne pepper?

What? HAHA…yes, I used this and in combination with my peppermint oil, it helped me dramatically.

I will warn you, it will make you sneeze but it helps!

Get out your cayenne pepper and dab a little bit inside your nose.

No, I’m not joking and yes you will sneeze but the sneezing is worth the headache pain that it will relieve!

Studies have shown that cayenne pepper’s active ingredient capsicum, is effective prevention and relief for both migraine and cluster headaches. (Source)

Here is how I used cayenne pepper to help relieve my headaches during pregnancy:

  • Mix 3-4 ounces of water with 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Put a cotton swab into the water and dab inside both of your nostrils

You will feel a tingly burning sensation but it’s not painful. It’s the capsaicin, which is the active ingredient in the cayenne that’s starting to work!

Pick some up at your local grocery store or click the photos below and have it delivered to your front door!


Magnesium During Pregnancy for Headaches

As I mentioned above, my headaches were awful during my second pregnancy. The only time they would completely go away was after I vomited! So, between my nauseousness and headaches and the 2-year old, I was chasing after, I felt like death!

I asked my doctor what on earth I could do to help with the headaches?! I told her I was using the peppermint oil and cayenne pepper which was helping but not completely making them go away!

She advised me to take a magnesium supplement!

Magnesium supplements are safe to take while pregnant (Source) and will also aid in helping with headaches and even pregnancy constipation! You can read more about that here.

Studies show that a safe amount of magnesium to take for pregnant women is 350 to 400 milligrams.

Here are some of my favorite magnesium supplements that have helped relieve my pregnancy headaches! Always be sure to consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.


Or you can try magnesium oil if you prefer:

 

Stay Hydrated!

I know, I know, we all hear this when we’re pregnant!

However, it’s so true!

Drinking plenty of water during pregnancy is very important! This was difficult for me with my first pregnancy because I was a sales manager and was on the road at all times which meant frequent bathroom stops!

I knew in order to keep my headaches at bay, I had to drink a lot of water yet it was aggravating because it went right through me!

However, staying hydrated is crucial during pregnancy! Water plays in an important role in the development of the baby and also helps to form the placenta! (Source) Dehydration during pregnancy can lead to some serious complications, so be sure to drink at least 8-12 glasses of water a day.

Drinking water will not only keep your baby healthy but if you weren’t drinking enough prior to reading this, you’ll see how it can help relieve your headaches as well.

Get yourself a couple of cute water bottles to carry with you to work or throughout the day to help you remember to constantly drink fluids! I love the pink one below because it has time markers so you can keep track of how much you’re drinking and when!

Not only should you drink plenty of water while pregnant, but also be sure to eat a balanced diet at regular times throughout the day. Eating healthy foods will make sure your blood sugar doesn’t drop which can also be a culprit of pregnancy headaches.

Could it be a headache caused by Caffeine Withdrawal?

I was pretty sure this contributed to my headaches since I was a big coffee drinker before pregnancy and then stopped cold turkey!

Don’t do this ladies!

Your body won’t like it and neither will your significant other when they have to deal with you in the morning without your coffee!

Caffeine withdrawal headaches are a real thing and certainly be the cause of your pregnancy headaches. Instead of going cold turkey, cut back a little bit each day.

I’m not a big soda drinker, however, I do love my iced tea. So, what I did was only drink a half cup of coffee in the morning, just to get me going and then I switched to caffeine free iced tea if it was available. I also drank a ton of water in between my iced tea cravings to help balance it all out!

Caffeine is a stimulant which increases your blood pressure and heart rate, both of these things are not recommended during pregnancy. Too much caffeine can actually lead to dehydration problems and can be harmful to your baby which is the last thing you want. Studies show that drinking one cup of coffee or less than 200 mg per day is safe to do while pregnant.

 

Worried about getting stretch marks during pregnancy? Find out how I prevented stretch marks through 3 pregnancies! 

Prevent stretch marks during pregnancy

 

Visit a Chiropractor

Tension headaches during pregnancy can be caused by poor posture. Poor posture leads to muscle tension which can pull and lock up your joints that can lead to overall pain and tension. Tight neck, back, and head pain lead to headaches during pregnancy.

Getting an adjustment done by a chiropractor may be the answer to your pregnancy headache problems!

To read more information on treating pregnancy headaches by seeing a chiropractor and the studies that show how it can help, click here.

 

Get Plenty of Rest

Okay, now this one may sound ridiculous if you have other little ones at home or even if you’re just pregnant and uncomfortable at night!

Most of my headaches were caused by lack of sleep between frequent bathroom visits at night, my teething toddler, and just being uncomfortable. It seemed as soon as I got comfortable or my toddler settled, my alarm went off!

And then my headaches began!

This isn’t fun for anyone! Try your best to get as much sleep as you can, it will certainly help with your headaches, it just may be impossible to do at such a busy time in your life!

Investing a good pregnancy pillow can do wonders for your headaches and body aches during pregnancy!


Take a Bath

Pour some magnesium salts or Epsom salts in your bathtub, and diffuse some soothing essentials oils to help relieve your head pain. My favorite is the lavender infused Epsom salts below!

This may not cure you right away but can help with the pain and tension.

Also, apply a cool cloth over your forehead which can soothe the pain a bit.

Add a few tops of lavender essential oil in your bath and this will also help calm any inflammation you have. Be sure to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to dilute the oils in the tub. (ask your doctor about using

Many headaches can be caused by stress and posture combined. Taking a nice warm bath can relax you and give you just what your body needs.


 

Make your own Rice Sock to Treat the Pain

If you don’t have a heating pad at home, take an old sock and make this DIY heat pad!

  • Fill a big sock with 2-3 cups of rice (depending on how big your sock is)
  • Add 2-3 drop of lavender oil (for neck tension and pain)
  • Add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil (for headache pain)
  • Tie a tight knot at the top of the sock so nothing falls out
  • Warm up in your microwave for about two minutes. You want it warm but not too hot to burn yourself!
  • Place over your head or around your neck and you’ll love how quickly it will help soothe your pain!

You can also get one of these lavender infused heating pads below:

Safe Medicine to treat Headaches During Pregnancy

Of course, if all the natural treatments above don’t help you, your doctor may tell you to try Tylenol. A safe dosage of Tylenol during pregnancy is no more than two or three 500 milligram tablets a week.

Tylenol didn’t cut it for me and to be honest, it’s never done much for any of my headaches before or after my pregnancies either.

It is a safer option than taking other medications during pregnancy so, talk to your doctor about trying Tylenol and see if it helps you. Taking Tylenol with the combination of some of the other treatments above may help ease the pain.

If your headaches persist and turn into terrible migraines, your doctor may advise something even stronger than Tylenol. Talk to your doctor about Tylenol and its risks and other safe medications that may be an option for you. (Source)

Migraines during pregnancy and when to worry

If you have a severe headache that just won’t go away, followed by blurred vision and dizziness, contact your doctor! 

Some migraines can be so severe, they can cause hallucinations, light sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting. Some of these natural treatments above can help with migraine headaches, especially visiting a chiropractor. First, it’s best to let your doctor know about your migraines and see what advice they have to offer.

There are certain headaches that your doctor may need to be aware of and some of these headaches may be related to blood pressure problems. Headaches caused by high blood pressure are known as preeclampsia headaches.

Headaches that happen after 20 weeks pregnancy are important to tell your doctor about. Third-trimester headaches are mostly caused by poor posture from carrying the extra weight. However, in some instances, a mother’s high blood pressure can spike in the third-trimester causing preeclampsia headaches.

For more information on preeclampsia headaches, click here.

In this case, always be sure to call your doctor and get checked out.

 

I hope these natural treatments for pregnancy headaches were able to help some moms relieve their pain! Headaches are horrible to have but so much worse while pregnant and chasing around other little ones without being able to take some ibuprofen or Excedrin!

 

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