Pregnancy Migraine- How dangerous is it?

Severe headaches and migraines are something which should never be neglected during any stage of your pregnancy. Sometime back, I had shared the ordeal of a woman who had extremely severe headaches and nightmares during her pregnancy which ultimately led to an unfortunate miscarriage. Read all about it in "Are severe headaches in pregnancy a sign of miscarriage?"

pregnant woman with headaches and migraines worried about her pregnancy

Migraines during pregnancy

According to the American Migraine Foundation (1) , pregnancy can have a significant impact on the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks due to hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy. However the good news is that between 50 and 80% of pregnant migraine patients actually experience a reduction in migraine attacks during their pregnancy.

In fact, hormone replacement therapy that mimics pregnancy’s effect on the body is increasingly being used in migraine treatment plans, especially for those who experience migraine around the time of menstruation also called as menstrual migraine.

Severe headaches & migraine symptoms should be reported to the doctor

However, some women experience migraines for the first time during pregnancy and some even experience an increase in migraine symptoms.  The appearance or worsening of migraine in pregnant women should be taken very seriously and your obstetrician /gynaecologist should be consulted at the earliest.

Migraines during pregnancy associated with high blood pressure?

In a study (2) of women in Denmark with and without migraines who became pregnant, migraines were associated with an increased risk of pregnancy-associated hypertension disorders in the mother. Also, in newborns, maternal migraine was associated with an increased risk of a variety of adverse outcomes, including low birth weight, preterm birth, cesarean delivery, respiratory distress syndrome, and febrile seizures.

Migraine is a disabling condition, common among women of reproductive age. Accumulating evidence shows that migraine in pregnancy may lead to several adverse outcomes in the mother and child, but treatment may alleviate these risks.

What kind of problems can high blood pressure cause during pregnancy?

High blood pressure or hypertension during pregnancy (3) can place extra stress on your heart and kidneys and can increase your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. Other possible complications include fetal growth restriction, preeclampsia, preterm delivery, placental abruption, cesarean delivery etc.

pregnatn woman suffering from migraine or severe headache


For your pregnancy to be smooth sailing, you shouldn't brush off any untoward symptoms say a vaginal discharge, heartburn, chest pain and severe headaches or migraines. Every such symptom should be reported to your doctor and treated as per his/ her instructions. Migraines, especially could signify that you could have hypertension, as mentioned in the above study and hence must never be neglected.

So did any of you suffer from migraines or severe headaches during pregnancy and was it linked to hypertension in your case? How did you manage your headaches during pregnancy? Did you try self-care measures or pop pills prescribed by the doctor? Do share in your comments.


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