Can I take Tylenol for a headache during pregnancy? But what if I don’t want to take medication? Are there any natural remedies for headaches during pregnancy? Headaches can be caused by many different factors during pregnancy. 

In the first trimester your hormones surge and your blood volume increases, both of which can cause more frequent headaches. Add to that stress (you know, from the uncertainty of growing another human being in your body), changes in vision which sometimes comes with pregnancy, and lack of sleep.  Low blood sugar, caffeine withdrawal and dehydration are also contributing factors. If you have a history of migraines you may experience more…but you might also experience less.

During the third trimester headaches can be caused by poor posture and tension. High blood pressure and preeclampsia may also occur during pregnancy, and headaches may be a sign of both. Your care provider monitors for these conditions during your prenatal exams, but it’s important to keep them updated if something feels different in between visits.

Get some relief.

  1. Relax and Rest. Dim the lights. Close your eyes. Try applying a warm or cool washcloth over your nose and eyes for a few minutes. You might also find relief with a cool compress or covered icepack placed at the base of your neck.
  2. Maintain your blood sugar. During pregnancy food aversion or heartburn may make it difficult to stay on top of eating. Try eating smaller more frequent meals.
  3. Avoid foods that may give you a headache. Good nutrition is important…eat those greenshave a kale salad. MSG and caffeine are known for causing headaches. Other potential triggers include: alcohol (hello mocktail), yogurt, aged cheese, peanuts, breads with fresh yeast, preserved meats (goodbye charcuterie), sour cream (sorry tacos) and chocolate (OK, OK…maybe just a tiny piece). 
  4. Stay hydrated. You know water is your friend. So grab your cute water bottle and drink up.
  5. Exercise. Besides the obvious of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercise increases blood flow, works out tension and can help reduce stress - all of which can help minimize headaches.
  6. Maintain good posture. We know it’s hard when your center of gravity is so out of balance. Use a pillow for low back support or sit on a fitness ball at your desk. Minimize sitting or standing for extended periods of time.
  7. Get a massage. Please. Do it even if you don’t have a headache. You deserve it.
  8. Take a warm bath. Drop in your favorite bath bomb and soak out the stress. No time? A hot shower can work in a pinch. But really, the only excuse for not taking bath is not having a tub. 

If your headaches are persistent and reoccurring, or different than normal talk to your care provider about acetaminophen and if it or another medication is a good choice for you. If your headache is accompanied by any of the following: blurred vision, sudden weight gain, pain in the upper right abdomen, swelling in hands or face call your healthcare provider right away. 

Have a question about pregnancy? A tip that's worked well for you? Join Pregnant and Parenting in Greater Cincinnati, a Facebook group dedicated to those trying to conceive, currently pregnant, newly postpartum, or parents in general.

Read more in our Doulas of Cincinnati Pregnancy Guide.