Study: Mothers with Migraines Twice as Likely to Have Babies with Colic

Women who suffer from migraine headaches are more than twice as likely to have babies with colic--the phenomenon in which newborns have extended bouts of excessive, inconsolable crying--than women who do not have the headaches, a new study has found.

The work raises the question of whether colic may be an early symptom of migraine and therefore whether reducing stimulation may help just as reducing light and noise can alleviate migraine pain. That is significant because excessive crying is one of the most common triggers for shaken baby syndrome, which can cause death, brain damage and severe disability.

"If we can understand what is making the babies cry, we may be able to protect them from this very dangerous outcome," said Amy Gelfand, MD, a child neurologist with the Headache Center at UCSF....

Colic, or excessive crying in an otherwise healthy infant, has long been associated with gastrointestinal problems—presumably caused by something the baby ate. However, despite more than 50 years of research, no definitive link has been proven between infant colic and gastrointestinal problems. Babies who are fed solely breast milk are as likely to have colic as those fed formula, and giving colicky babies medication for gas does not help.

Image: Pregnant woman with a headache, via Shutterstock.

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