7 Safe Practices and Solutions for Migraine Relief When Pregnant

Masthead Image
what does a miscarriage look like
Author Name: Lucas Cook
Date: Friday March 22, 2024

Body + Mind is reader-supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through some of the links on our site. 

Pregnancy is a roller coaster of changes, not just in your body but also in your brain. Hello, brain fog, goodbye, memory! Yet, one of the most common and challenging changes many expectant mothers face is migraines. These headaches can be so intense that the thought of a natural birth seems like a stroll in the park. 

Migraines during pregnancy can be a real pain, often bringing along uninvited guests like nausea, light and sound sensitivity and vision loss. Despite the joy of expecting, these severe headaches won’t give you a break. In fact, they’re so common that 82.2% of participating pregnant women in a study had a migraine without aura. This means there were no warning signs to show them when their migraine attack was going to start.

With the amount of women who experience migraines during pregnancy, what’s an expecting mother to do when facing such a throbbing dilemma? To provide some migraine relief when pregnant, you have several safe treatments that will help you tackle the severe pain.

1. Stay Hydrated

Hydration plays an essential part in battling migraines but is also a critical element in your regular pregnancy care. Pregnancy itself is a bit of a hydration thief. The body requires extra fluids to support the growing baby. 

Factors — like increased blood pressure and morning sickness — can deplete your water reserves faster than the desert sun. Additionally, dehydration and higher blood pressure can occur when you consume higher sodium levels through food. It can be a sneaky trigger for migraines, making it crucial to keep the water flowing in your body.

As a mom-to-be, you can keep your hydration levels on track by carrying a large water bottle everywhere. Some water bottles indicate how much water you should drink by a certain timeframe. For example, if you drink a certain amount of water by noon, you’ll know how much water you’ve had and whether you’re on track.

Another trick is to set reminders on your phone. If you’re forgetful of drinking water like many others, consider setting up alerts to remind you to take a sip. 

4. Have a Cup of Coffee or Tea

Many women opt to ditch caffeine entirely when they become pregnant for fear it may harm their baby. This stems from concerns over caffeine’s potential effects on fetal development. 

Studies show that too much caffeine intake can result in lower birth weight and impact their brain’s development. However, completely turning the caffeine tap off can shock your system, especially if you’re used to your daily coffee ritual. Despite the potential effects, medical experts agree that women can safely consume 200 Mg of caffeine, which provides migraine relief when pregnant. 

With the limited caffeine intake, you can satisfy your coffee or tea cravings and keep those pesky migraines at bay. This will give you a gentle reprieve without compromising your pregnancy’s health.

5. Take a Magnesium Supplement

You may have heard of PPD (postpartum depression), where women experience depression at least one year into having their baby. Yet, did you know women are also at risk for mental illness during pregnancy? In fact, perinatal depression affects up to one in seven women and can occur alongside anxiety and sleep deprivation. Whether you’re dealing with depression, anxiety or insomnia, all three symptoms often intertwine with the discomfort of migraines. 

These mental health challenges are triggers for migraines, creating a vicious cycle of stress and pain. However, magnesium can be the perfect solution for migraine relief when pregnant. This revitalizing mineral has a calming effect on the nervous system that reduces mental illnesses and migraine attacks. 

Consider talking with your doctor about taking magnesium supplements or integrating magnesium-rich foods into your diet. These can be leafy greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains, reducing the severity of a migraine’s onset.

4. Use Hot or Cold Compresses

Hot or cold compresses can provide quick migraine relief when pregnant while also promoting good self-care. Whether you lean toward the soothing warmth of a hot compress or the numbing chill of a cold one, both can be powerful allies against migraine headaches.

For cold therapy, wrap a few ice cubes in a soft towel or use a gel ice pack and apply it to your forehead, temples, or the back of your neck. The cold can reduce inflammation and numb pain. On the flip side, a warm compress applied to the same areas can relax tense muscles and improve blood flow to ease the headache.

To ensure you’re gaining migraine relief, implement the following steps for using compresses:

  • Choose your compress of choice, whether it’s hot or cold.
  • Wrap the compress in a soft cloth to protect your skin.
  • Apply the compress to the affected area for a few minutes.
  • Take a break after some time before reapplying if needed.

Consider experimenting with both temperatures to find what best soothes your migraine pain, and always listen to your body’s response.

5. Lay Down in a Dark Room

Staying in a dark, comfortable room can be a sanctuary for those battling migraine pain. This simple yet effective strategy works wonders for several reasons. For one, migraines often make you sensitive to light and sound. By retreating to a dark, quiet room, you minimize exposure to these aggravating stimuli, allowing your brain to rest and recover.

To maximize the benefits of this, make the room as comfortable as possible. Use blackout curtains to eliminate light, and consider using noise-canceling headphones or white noise machines to block out sound. 

Comfortable bedding and a supportive pillow can also help you achieve a position that reduces head and neck strain, further easing migraine pain. Plus, this method promotes deeper, restorative sleep, which is crucial for migraine recovery.

6. Lower Your Stress Levels

Oftentimes, stress levels spike during pregnancy, thanks to hormonal fluctuations, physical changes and the emotions that accompany the preparation of your new arrival. Since stress is a well-known trigger for migraines, managing it becomes crucial for expecting mothers.

One effective way to lower stress is through mindfulness and meditation. These practices encourage living in the moment and reduce anxiety by focusing on breath and body sensations. Just a few minutes a day can greatly decrease stress, making migraines less likely.

7. Reduce Screen Time

Society lives in a digital age where screens are integral to daily life. Staring at a computer or scrolling through your smartphone for extended periods isn’t the best idea because it can contribute to eye strain. When eye strain occurs, you often experience dry eyes, blurred vision and headaches.

For pregnant women already prone to migraines, the added strain on the eyes from excessive screen use can increase the frequency and severity of these headaches. To limit screen time, try to be consciously aware of when you’re using your devices. Being mindful of screen use limits eye strain, thus preventing migraines from occurring in the first place.

Getting the Migraine Relief You Need While Pregnant

Pregnancy alone comes with its own set of challenges. Yet, when you add migraines into the mix, it can make for an uncomfortable pregnancy. However, implementing all the suggested methods can help you manage stress and mitigate migraine pain. Your well-being matters greatly for you and your baby, so stay hopeful and use migraine relief strategies throughout your pregnancy.

Previous ArticleA Guide to Rapid Calm: Five-Minute Meditation for Beginners Next ArticleIs Tantric Yoga Better than Sex? Try These Poses and Find Out
Subscribe CTA Image

Subscribers get even more tailored tips & deets delivered directly to their inboxes!