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Headaches

The most common form of headaches are tension headaches. They are caused by worry, stress or tension in the neck and back. Regular headaches are not harmful and normally go away on their own—though they are a signal from your body. Practice listening to your body’s signals while you are pregnant. You will have use for this when you give birth. Have you been working in front of your computer for a long time, tensing your shoulders and neck? Remember to take a break now and then, and listen to your body’s needs.

Headaches are also a common symptom of a cold. It is safe to take Tylenol when you are pregnant, but follow the instructions in the package.

Some headaches are migraines triggered by hormonal factors. Some women have minor migraine symptoms while others have worse. Increases or changes in hormone levels can make migraines worse. If you have on-and-off headaches, tell your midwife or healthcare provider.

Low iron levels and thyroid problems are common in pregnancy and can also cause headaches. Both iron and thyroid levels thyroid can be checked with a blood test when necessary.

Headaches and/or dizziness can be a sign of preeclampsia, which is a medical condition seen in conjunction with hypertension. An increase in blood pressure or hypertension (140/90 is considered high blood pressure) needs to be evaluated and monitored regularly by your health care provider at your prenatal visits. Antihypertensive medication may be necessary since high blood pressure can have an adverse effect on blood vessels in the brain and other organs.

Always notify your midwife or healthcare provider if you are not feeling well and often suffer headaches.

If you experience a sudden onset of a severe headache, contact your midwife or healthcare provider right away. You will most likely need an evaluation to check your blood pressure and other vital signs.

Source: - Lärobok för barnmorskor. Faxelid, E. Course literature 2001. - Myles Textbook for Midwives. Fraser, D. och Cooper, M. Churchill Livingstone 2003.