Experts are warning that headaches during pregnancy could be masking serious underlying health conditions. And while the vast majority experienced are nothing to worry about – a small percentage may be caused by potentially life threatening neurological conditions.
A review, published in The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (TOG), looks at common causes of headaches during pregnancy and the postnatal period, possible conditions that may be associated with headaches and how healthcare professionals should manage the care of the woman appropriately.
During pregnancy, 90% are tension or migraine-type headaches. Most women get these during the first trimester, and find that they eventually dissipate as the pregnancy progresses.
However, rarer kinds of headaches may persist and worsen in the course of pregnancy and may be caused by potentially life-threatening neurological conditions.
Dr. Kirsty Revell explains:
Headaches are common in life and some women find they suffer a lot during pregnancy, but most are benign, for example migraine or tension headaches, and will not harm mother or baby but will just be unpleasant.
However, some headache types can be more dangerous and an indication that something is seriously wrong and it is vital GPs, obstetricians and midwives are aware of the signs and symptoms associated with these conditions and know when to seek advice from a specialist.
If your headaches persist, especially beyond your first trimester, or if you have any concerns, speak to your Dr. about the signs and symptoms to be aware of.