What can I do about headaches during pregnancy? I'd rather not take medication.

04 May 2016


To prevent or relieve mild headaches during pregnancy without taking medication, try the following:

        •  Cool Compress. Lie down and place a cool compress on your head.
        •  Avoid headache triggers. If certain foods or odors seem to have triggered your migraines in the past, avoid them. A headache diary might help you identify triggers.
        •  Include physical activity in your daily routine. Try a daily walk or other moderate aerobic exercise.
        •  Manage stress. Find healthy ways to cope with the stressors, such as delegating tasks on your to-do list.
        •  Practice relaxation techniques. Try deep breathing, yoga, massage and visualization.
        •  Eat regularly. Eating regularly scheduled meals and maintaining a healthy diet might help prevent headaches. Also, drink plenty of fluids.
        •  Follow a regular sleep schedule. Sleep deprivation might contribute to headaches during pregnancy.
        •  Consider biofeedback. With this mind-body technique, you learn to control certain bodily functions — such as muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure — to prevent headaches or reduce headache pain. If you'd like to try biofeedback to treat headaches during pregnancy, ask your health care provider for a referral to a biofeedback therapist.

Headaches during pregnancy are common. However, if you develop a severe headache or a headache that doesn't go away, call your health care provider. Severe headaches can be a sign of a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys (preeclampsia).


Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D. (2015). What can I do about headaches during pregnancy? I'd rather not take medication. Mayo Clinic [Online]. Available: http://www.mayoclinic.org/headaches-during-pregnancy/expert-answers/faq-20058265 [August 11, 2015]

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