Pregnancy Headaches

If you’ve never suffered from headaches before, you may be surprised to notice an aching head now and again during your pregnancy. Try these 5 natural, safe remedies to help ease or prevent your pregnancy headaches.

1. Heat or Cold for Pregnancy Headaches

This natural remedy is useful for pregnancy headaches that manifest in your sinus area. Soak a soft washcloth in warm or hot water. Then apply it to the areas around your eyes, temples and nose. You can either press the cloth into the painful areas gently, or simply lie in a dark room with several warm cloths resting on your face.

Caution: If you’ve gotten sinus headaches in the past, you may have added a few drops of camphor or eucalyptus oil to hot water. While those substances are usually safe headache remedies, they’re both no-nos during pregnancy. Stick with pure water, or check with your health care provider before adding anything.

For a tension pregnancy headache, heat is not usually as effective as it is for sinus headaches. Instead, dip a washcloth in cool water and gently press it on the back of your neck.

2. Breathing for Pregnancy Headaches

Sit or lie comfortably. Inhale for four counts, then exhale for four counts. Be careful not to hold your breath, as this can reduce the flow of blood to your uterus. As you breathe, you may like to place your hands on your belly to bring your focus away from the pain in your head. Alternatively, some women find that breathing “into” the head pain is more effective. Experiment and see what feels most comfortable. As your breathing becomes deep and relaxed, you can extend the exhalation to eight counts.

Deep, intentional breathing can not only ease your pregnancy headaches once they’ve started, but can also prevent them. If you’re experiencing ongoing stress and chronic headaches, try starting the day with five minutes of deep breathing to create a centered, relaxed state of mind.

3. Visualization for Pregnancy Headaches

Even if you’ve never practiced visualization before, it’s easy to learn (and will come in handy during labor, too). To ease your headache during pregnancy, simply sit or lie comfortably with your eyes closed. Take a few deep, relaxing breaths. Focus on the pain in your head. Give it a color. Is the pain a searing violet? Throbbing crimson? Visualize the shape and size as well. If your headache is extremely bad, you will probably have no trouble visualizing it as huge and spiky!

Once you have a clear image of your head pain, start to manipulate it. Visualize the color changing gradually, perhaps to a cool, soothing blue-green. Visualize the edges of the pregnancy headache becoming soft and pliable. Finally, visualize the headache shrinking away to the size of a grape. Then visualize this grape simply dissolving and vanishing.

You can use any kind of visualization to reduce pregnancy headaches, or you can make up your own visualization. If you find visualization to be an effective headache remedy for you, you’ll probably have success in using visualization to actively manage your labor when the time comes.

4. Exercise for Pregnancy Headaches

Hitting the gym may be the last thing you feel like doing when you have a pregnancy headache, but if your headache is caused or exacerbated by poor posture while sitting, exercise of any kind can be a simple and effective remedy. Go for a walk in a peaceful, quiet area. Swing your arms gently and relax your shoulders while walking. You can also do some gentle stretches or yoga asanas. Anything that gets you moving may provide relief. If this natural headache remedy seems to work for you, consider adding exercise to your daily routine as a preventative measure.

5. Massage for Pregnancy Headaches

Moms-to-be with pregnancy headaches often instinctively massage the part of the head that’s aching, but this is not always the most effective approach. Instead, massage the back of your neck, especially the area where your skull joins your neck. If you have a willing partner, ask them to work their way down from the back of your skull to your shoulders, with plenty of attention to your large neck muscles.

Another fantastic approach is a foot massage. Again, you can do this yourself, but it’s far more effective if someone does it for you. Just be sure to avoid the acupressure point between heel and ankle, as this is used later in pregnancy to start contractions.

Hopefully, one of these five natural remedies will help you ease or eliminate your headaches during pregnancy. Pregnancy-related headaches can be bothersome, but they don’t typically indicate serious complications. Do contact your health care provider immediately, however, if you become concerned about your headaches during pregnancy or if none of these remedies are working for you.

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