Pay Attention to That Pregnancy Headache!

A study published online in the journal Neurology, found that a severe headache could mean mama and baby are in trouble.

Pregnant woman with head under pillow
Photo: Shutterstock

One thing I learned in pregnancy was that reacting with alarm to every pregnancy symptom—and turning to Google for answers—is unnecessary and will only drive you nuts. You have to let many small aches and pains go, chalking them up to part of the process. But sometimes, if your intuition tells you that something is severe or just not right, that's the time to listen up.

According to a new study recently published online in the journal Neurology, one such example of a serious symptom requiring attention: a severe headache. It could mean mama and baby are in trouble.

"Headaches during pregnancy are quite common, but it is not always easy to distinguish between a recurring, preexisting migraine condition and a headache caused by a pregnancy complication," the new study's lead author Matthew Robbins, M.D., director of inpatient services at Montefiore's Headache Center in New York, said in a press release.

The study suggests that pregnant women should pay attention when they experience a headache that feels severe—and doctors should listen—because it may mean that the expecting mom could be at risk for preeclampsia and other complications.

Researchers looked at the medical records of 140 pregnant women over a five-year period. Of those, the women who had high blood pressure and a severe headache were 17 times more likely to also experience complications with their pregnancies, and having no history of headaches increased the risk five times.

Sign up for our pregnancy newsletter to keep up with the latest pregnancy news.

Alesandra Dubin is a mom to one-year-old boy-girl twins. She's also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of lifestyle blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles