Pregnancy can be such an exciting time in life! With all of the planning, preparing, and dreaming about your future child, it can keep you busy.

Being pregnant also brings its share of body changes, some of which can be painful and potentially worrisome. Included in this list is an increased risk of experiencing headaches.

While most headaches during pregnancy are related to stress, fatigue or a change in hormones, some headaches are indicative of something more serious. Read on as our AFC Urgent Care Tyvola Road team explains what serious symptoms to watch out for below.

What Causes Headaches in Pregnancy?

In the first trimester, the change in hormone levels and increased blood volume may be to blame. You could also experience sinus pressure and pain because of the increase in nasal congestion. Hunger, low blood sugar, and caffeine withdrawal (especially if you used to drink coffee often) can all be factors in chronic or daily headaches in early pregnancy. The most important thing to do when you start to experience a headache is to rest. Your body is doing so much already!

If you experience a headache during the second or third trimesters, it is crucial that you pay attention to its progression, as it could indicate a very serious condition called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia affects your blood pressure and can be dangerous to your body and your baby.

Signs of Preeclampsia

  • Sudden headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Upper right belly pain
  • Racing pulse
  • Swelling (edema) in your face, hands or feet

Why Is Preeclampsia Dangerous?

Preeclampsia gives you a dangerously high blood pressure level, so you are at a higher risk of experiencing a placental abruption and hemorrhaging during labor and delivery. Your baby is also at a higher risk of being born prematurely or being stillborn. All of these outcomes should be avoided at all costs in order to keep both you and your growing baby safe!

If you start to notice that you are experiencing a headache along with any of the above signs of preeclampsia, talk with your OB/GYN about what you’re experiencing or seek other medical attention. We can help with an initial evaluation and take your blood pressure to get a good baseline. When it comes to your health, it is best to always err on the side of caution!

Caring for a Minor Headache

  • Sip on water.
  • Get plenty of rest in a quiet, dark room.
  • Take acetaminophen, if OK’d by your OB/GYN.
  • Turn off the TV and cell phone screens.

Have a lingering headache or another non-emergency health issue? Stop by AFC Urgent Care Tyvola Road for a quick and efficient visit.