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You are here : home > Pregnancy Month by Month > Third Month of Pregnancy > Headaches and Disturbed Sleep during Pregnancy

Headaches and Disturbed Sleep during Pregnancy

Why do I get headaches just when I cannot do much about them?

The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy are the main cause of headaches. Pregnancy is known to trigger sinus, fatigue, tensions, hunger or headaches due to physical and emotional stress. Though you are not allowed to take any pain relievers, you could try some basic home remedies.

In the first trimester many pregnant women suffer from tension headaches. It is a kind of squeezing pain or a steady dull ache on both sides of the head or the back of the neck.

Some of the known causes of headaches in pregnant women include hormonal changes, fatigue, lack of sleep, caffeine intake and increased blood volume and circulation in early pregnancy.

In many women the frequency and intensity of headaches reduces drastically during the second trimester. This happens because of hormones getting stabilised and the body getting used to all the physical and hormonal changes happening.


What can I do to relieve my headaches?

Firstly, try to relax (remember that most medications are harmful). Do yoga or meditate. Make sure that you are getting adequate rest. If your headaches are due to low blood sugar, make sure that you are eating well. Carry some high energy snacks with you at all times. Seek some peace and quiet and get some fresh air. For a tension headache, try an ice-pack at the back of your neck for 20 minutes. Keep your eyes closed. If it is due to a sinus problem, apply hot and cold compresses alternatively for 30 seconds each, for 10 minutes, 4 times a day. If your headache still persists and is accompanied by dizziness or blurred vision, consult your doctor immediately.

You must do is to keep a track of things which actually trigger your headache each time. You must maintain a record of your diet and exercise routine to identify whether something you ate or did caused the headache in the first place. For example, certain research studies have indicated that foods like nuts are often the cause of tension headaches. Hence, avoiding nuts completely will be useful to keep headaches away.

You can also try out some of the following home cures to relieve headaches.

  • Applying warm or a cold compress can provide relief.

  • Splashing water on the face or taking a warm shower can soothe an aching head.

  • Sticking to your meal times and drinking water throughout the day will prevent low blood sugar levels and dehydration respectively which at times cause headaches.

  • Taking frequent rest breaks throughout the day will keep you stress free. Resting in a dark room is one of the best remedies to get rid of tension headaches.

  • Yoga, meditation and massage are very useful in reducing stress and headaches in some sufferers.

  • Medical studies have indicated that regular exercise can reduce the frequency and severity of migraines and tension headaches. However, during pregnancy you must be careful and engage only in moderate form of light exercise for half an hour each day.

How do I get a good night’s sleep?

Many women suffer from insomnia due to the physical changes of pregnancy, and the accompanying excitement. What you could do is get plenty of exercise, (but not just before you sleep). Develop a bed time routine of activities that help you to relax, like reading, soothing music and a warm bath. Have a light snack of whole grain biscuits and milk or fruit and cheese just before retiring.

Your bedroom should be comfortable, airy and inviting. Stand as less as possible during the day, because it increases night-time urination, and do not drink too much water after 4 p.m. Also avoid tea, coffee and colas after midday as these are known to interfere with sleep. As far as possible do not nap for long periods during the day. But most importantly, relax and clear your mind of all tensions and worries. This is your time to be indulged.

Pregnancy often makes women sleep deprived thanks to symptoms like nausea, morning sickness, heartburn and frequent urination. Sleep problems can start right in the beginning of your first trimester when you may have to make frequent trips to the bathroom during the night.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure that you get good night’s sleep

Sleep Schedule -You will sleep better if you stick to a schedule and go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

Relax Before you Sleep - Reading a book or having a warm bath just before you retire for bed will be very useful to relax your mind and body. Relaxation exercises like deep breathing, chanting, meditation and visualization can also help you sleep better. Snacks - In case you suffer from hunger pangs in the middle of the night having a light snack before going to bed may be useful. Ideally you must have a combination of complex carbohydrate and protein rich food at night. Warm milk and whole grain crackers are some of the healthy food options which you can consider for snacking at night.

Surroundings - Make sure to block light and noise completely out of your bedroom. Ensure that it is cosy and warm for you to get the much deserved good sleep. Try to sleep on your left side. By doing so you will help the blood and nutrients flow to your baby and uterus. This position will also ensure that your body eliminates waste and fluids regularly. It is best to train yourself to sleep in this position from the beginning itself to help you sleep better when your baby grows big.

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