Chronic Migraines and Pregnancy

Information about migraines and pregnancy is hard to come by. Most books on migraine rarely touch the topic except to say that if you become pregnant your migraines may get better, get worse, or stay the same. It’s apparently different for everyone. It also seems to vary depending on the type of migraine (chronic versus episodic, with aura or without), and the woman’s stage of pregnancy. Overall, this means that women with migraine have much less knowledge about what to expect when we’re expecting.

My husband and I discovered we were pregnant nine weeks ago. I start my second trimester in five days, and all I can say is this: The first trimester was hellish; I hope the second is better.

I spent the vast majority of the last two months in bed. It seemed like every pregnancy symptom I had (morning sickness, dizziness, fatigue, dehydration, headache) was exponentially amplified by a bout of migraines that disappeared at night only to arrive again the next morning. Luckily for me, I could drag my laptop into bed with me and get some work done in between the pain, nausea, and bone-crushing exhaustion. Unluckily for my husband, my ability to work and live from bed meant I pretty much stayed there for weeks.

I’m glad to say I’m starting to feel a little bit better as we approach the 14th week of pregnancy and the start of the second trimester. The morning sickness has ebbed, which means the only nausea I experience now is related to my migraines and thus usually occurs at night (when the migraines are at their worst) instead of throughout the day. My energy is starting to pick back up a little, and I’m hoping that means I will be able to start exercising again (which is an important aspect of my migraine prevention plan). At the very least, I would like to be able to take a walk every day. We’ll see how that goes.

In the meantime, I’m going to try to stay hopeful. Without information about what to expect next trimester, I am going to cross my fingers and believe my migraines will get better instead of worse. We’ll have to see how that goes.

If anyone out there with chronic migraine has had to deal with the disease through pregnancy, I would like to know more about your experiences. Did they get better at some point? Did you come up with any tricks that helped ease your pain and discomfort? Thanks for any tips or words of comfort you can share.

9 thoughts on “Chronic Migraines and Pregnancy

  1. Thanks for this. I have been a migraine sufferer all my life and am currently 11 weeks pregnant. My migraines have been just as bad as they have always been and feel extra bad coupled with morning sickness and exhaustion I am feeling from my pregnancy.
    I am hoping my migraines will dissapear in second and third trimester too.
    Please let us know how you get along, I am hoping for a positive story that will increase my levels of hope for my own migraines!!

    • Abbi,

      Thank you for reading, and congratulations on your pregnancy! I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with the migraines on top of all your pregnancy symptoms. I wish I could say they get better, but so far I’m still waiting. However, my ob did prescribe me fioricet. It’s a class “c” drug, but she said it’s okay to take in the second trimester. I try not to take it often, but it does help more than anything else I’ve tried. Maybe once you get a little further along you’ll have some extra options for managing the pain. In the meantime, hang in there! And, make sure to ask for help when you need it.

  2. Thanks for this article. I was reading about my wife’s case, where she has a sever migraine with aura. She is two months pregnant now with our second child, and she complains from sever nausea and vomiting. Almost nothing stay in her stomach until midnight, where she can eat a small sandwich before she goes to bed (yes, that is every thing she eats for the day after all day vomiting). Waking up late and sleeping late helps little bit.

    • Adam,

      I hope your wife gets better soon. Morning sickness plus migraine-related nausea can spell unending misery for a pregnant woman. I ended up losing almost 12 lbs during my first trimester of pregnancy, but I felt much better by the second trimester. Try to get her to eat something every day – even if it is just a small sandwich or half a bagel or some crackers. I found toast pretty easy to keep down at that point. Good luck, and congratulations on your new addition!

      – Sarah

  3. Hi
    I suffer from chronic daily migraine, and the first 4 months of my pregnancy were hell. near constand mighraines and nothing I could take for them. But once I hit the 4 months mark, I didn’t get another migraine until about a month after my son was born. Many think that the migraines will go after your first trimester, but be prepared to go another month. The specialist that I see says that it is normal for them to continue tntil month 4, so hang in there. We want a 2nd child but I’m so worried about balancing being a mom with work and constant migraine fo the first 4 months. I am sick of being told that I’ll just have to cope. There is no coping with a full blown migraine

  4. Pregnancy is a very exciting yet delicate stage for every woman. All things should be monitored and double checked for the sake of the baby. But there are times that a pregnant woman may experience health problem or illness, she might want to take medicines, but she can’t, because it might affect the baby’s development. Migraine during pregnancy is another story, an ordinary headache could be considered, but migraine cannot. My sister experience this and I also feel the pain, all I did was to help her and give advice what to do, some alternative ways, I am glad its all over and she overcome it.

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