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New Study Links Migraines During Pregnancy to Potential Complications

by | July 1, 2019

A recent large-scale study conducted in Denmark has revealed mothers who suffer from migraines during pregnancy could be at a greater risk of developing complications, along with their babies, as compared to mothers who are not affected. Keep reading to find out more about the study, and for self-care tips for treating migraines when pregnant.

migraine during pregnancy
Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash

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Migraines During Pregnancy Linked to Potential Complications for Both Mother and Baby

A recent study published in ‘Head and Face Pain’ journel has found a link between complications, like miscarriage and low birth weight, to mothers suffering from migraines during pregnancy, Business Standard reports.

The large-scale study conducted in Denmark reportedly identified 22,841 pregnant women who suffered from migraines, and compared them to nearly ten times the pregnant women (228,324) without migraines.

The study revealed the migraine condition was linked to pregnancy-related disorders like blood pressure issues and even miscarriage. Regarding the babies born to mothers experiencing migraines, there were higher rates of febrile seizures, low birth weight, and respiratory distress syndrome in them, as opposed to babies born to mothers without migraines, Reuters Health reports.

According to Co-Author Nils Skajaa of Aarhus University, speaking to Reuters Health, smaller-scale studies in the past already noted complications like low birth weight and hypertension. However, neonatal and neurological risks are new to this recent study. Regarding the study, Dr. Tina Nguyen, an Obstetrician at UCLA Health in Los Angeles stated this solidifies the already known impact of migraines during pregnancy.

Migraines are common in 25% of women during their reproductive age.

Home Remedies to Control a Trigger

Although the exact cause of a migraine isn’t known, researchers believe it can be triggered due to changes in nerve pathways and blood flow in the brain and neurochemicals, according to WebMD. Estrogen is also thought to be a factor since during pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause a woman’s migraine pattern often changes due to fluctuations in this hormone.

The American Pregnancy Association states common triggers of migraines might include (but are not limited to) weather, hormones, stress and even foods like coffee. It is highly imperative you consult your doctor if your migraine headache is very persistent, becomes chronic, is vision-blurring, or is accompanied by other side effects.

Here are the few self-care tips to try in order to gain some relief :

  • Start by resting in a dark room
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid eating foods known to trigger migraines
  • Try meditation or yoga
  • Try applying ice-packs or cold towels over temples and eyes
  • Try taking a cold shower if tolerated

Nils Skajaa stated: “Paradoxically, women of childbearing age are particularly hard hit by migraines. Although experience shows that migraines become milder during pregnancy, this study emphasizes that the healthcare service should be particularly aware of pregnant women with migraines.”

Migraines are common during pregnancy, but it is important to let your doctor know if you are experiencing them during your routine check-ups. Did you suffer from migraines during pregnancy? Let us know in comments.

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Debayan Paul

Digital Writer | West Bengal, India | [email protected]

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