Headache After Pregnancy (Types, Causes, Treatment, Home Remedy)
While you say goodbye to pregnancy symptoms after childbirth, you should welcome postpartum symptoms. One of the common postpartum discomforts is headache after pregnancy. Usually, it occurs within 6 weeks after childbirth, which may be annoying for new moms.
In this article on Hipregnancy, we will cover all you need to know about headaches after birth, types of it, treatments, etc. Keep reading to the end to figure out how to get rid of postpartum headaches as soon as possible.
Also Read: postpartum hip pain
What are postpartum headaches?
Headaches after pregnancy refer to the type of headache many women experience within 6 months after pregnancy and giving birth to a baby. According to studies, headaches after giving birth can be divided into primary and secondary headaches.
Primary headaches can be annoying, but they are not dangerous. The pain you feel when you experience primary headaches is caused by swelling in blood vessels, nerves in the head and brain, and muscles.
The followings are 4 types of primary headaches that new moms can experience postpartum;
Migraines after giving birth can be felt on one side of the head, leading to nausea, throbbing pain, and sensitivity to smells, noise and light.
2- Hypnic headache
Headache that can be felt at night among people 40-80 years old.
3- Cluster headache
This headache can be felt behind the eye, on one side of the head. Often, you experience cluster headaches at the same time of day for several weeks after pregnancy.
4- Tension headache
It can be felt on both sides of the head followed by sensitivity to sounds and light.
Secondary headaches cause severe pain and are more serious than primary headaches. These types of headaches occur because of another medical condition. Neck and head injuries, brain infections and tumors, aneurysms, and high blood pressure are common health problems that can cause headache after pregnancy.
Also Read: Back Pain After Pregnancy
Causes of headaches after pregnancy
Postpartum headache in the first few weeks after delivery is common among ladies. Half of them experience headaches in the first week after giving birth to their lovely baby. But what are the causes of these headaches? Read the following part to know the exact reason for your headache after childbirth;
- Lack of sleep
- Not eating well and enough
- A sharp drop in hormones
- High blood pressure
- Not enough fluids
- Major bleeding
- Muscle tension caused by pushing out the baby
According to studies, ladies who have a history of headaches before getting pregnant, have experience several pregnancies or are older, maybe at a higher risk of experiencing headaches after pregnancy.
Headache while pregnant
Pregnant ladies might get mild headaches in the first months of pregnancy due to hormonal changes. They can manage their headache with home remedies, but factors that worsen their headache while pregnant include stress, low blood sugar, poor sleep, dehydration, and so on.
If you can not manage your headache with home remedies, you should talk to your doctor to determine which painkiller you can take to settle your headache. Hipregnancy warns you about severe headaches, especially those that occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy, since they might be a sign of preeclampsia or high blood pressure.
Let’s continue with postpartum headaches and the ways to treat them.
Postpartum headache treatment
Can you guess what is the most important factor in treating your headache? Yes, you’re right! The type of headache is the most significant factor you should pay attention to if you want to get rid of your awful headache.
Headache treatment should be based on the type of it, which includes;
- Primary headache treatment
Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can be a good treatment for these types of headaches, such as migraine. Naproxen and ibuprofen are safe options for over-the-counter medications that can work well to treat your primary headaches after pregnancy.
You should avoid taking aspirin during breastfeeding due to its harmful effects on the baby. In addition, you should consult your doctor if you want to take another medicine instead of naproxen or ibuprofen to know about its safety while breastfeeding.
- Secondary headaches treatment
These are different from previous headaches and should be treated by the doctor. We can’t prescribe any medicine for secondary headaches because they need more intense treatment based on headache. As a result, whenever you experience chronic headaches after pregnancy, you need to make an appointment with your healthcare provider.
Is there any home remedy for headaches after delivery? Yes! Keep reading to learn how you can treat your headache at home.
5 Home remedies for headache after delivery
You can take medicine to treat your headache, but as a general rule, it is better to try home remedies for your postpartum headaches. Do not forget you are taking care of a little breastfed baby who requires extra attention and care to be safe. So, don’t reach for medicine to treat your pain if you experience the first sign of a headache.
Here are some treatments without medication that can help you cure your headache;
- Taking a rest: whenever you feel the first sign of pain, the best way is to turn off the TV and lights, lie down, close your eyes, and put your feet up as well. Taking a nap can help in relieving your pain.
- Relaxing: try a warm shower or bath, yoga, and meditation to see how these practices can help you feel better and forget the pain.
- Drinking water and eating your favorite healthy foods: having water or natural juice can ease your headache after pregnancy by keeping you hydrated. In addition, consuming healthy foods can make your blood sugar levels higher.
- Having a little caffeine: drinking a cup of tea or coffee can help reduce your pain, as caffeine exists in some over-the-counter medicines.
- Using cold or warm towels: it depends on you to choose which one, cold or warm towel. Choose the one that works better for you and place it on your head for postpartum headache relief.
Is it safe to take headache medicine during breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is an important time for both you and your baby because anything you eat impacts your baby’s health and can be transmitted to her/him.
The best solution for treating the pain of your headache is sticking nonmedical, home remedies first. If they don’t work for you, you can use safe over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen (not over 600 mg a day), acetaminophen (not over 3 g a day), diclofenac sodium, and eletriptan hydrobromide.
Although it is safe to take some headache medicines while breastfeeding, taking the following options is forbidden due to their harmful effects on the baby;
If you are worried about taking medicines during breastfeeding, even the safe ones, you can keep pumped breast milk in the freezer and feed your baby with stored milk whenever you want to take medicines and don’t want to put your child at any risk.
When should I worry about headaches after pregnancy?
A common query of moms to their doctor is: “When should I worry about postparum headachs?”
Most of the time, having headaches after pregnancy is not such an important thing that you need to worry about. It is common among new moms. But you should see a doctor if you have severe headaches or other symptoms alongside the pain in your head,
If you have the following symptoms besides headache after childbirth, manage to have an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible;
- Speaking problems
- Hitting your head
- Getting worse over the time
- Feeling weak or a loss of sensation in arms or legs
- Having fever
- Feeling or getting sick
- Seeing or thinking problems
- Waking up at night because of pain
- Having headaches after exercise
- Last but not least, changing your pain level while moving position.
Headache after pregnancy is an uninvited guest for most ladies after childbirth. The good news is that most postpartum headaches are not dangerous and can be treated by home remedies or over-the-counter medications. But there are some types that are dangerous and hard to tolerate and needs to be treated by your doctor.
What do you think about headaches after pregnancy? Do you have any experience with them? Or are there any home remedies that can work to ease the pain? Comment on your points to help other women suffering from postpartum headaches.
There are different types of headaches pregnant ladies may experience, and are usually located on one or both sides of the head, at the back of the head, around the eye, or on the forehead.
Yes, breastfeeding can cause postpartum headaches due to several factors like hormonal fluctuations, dehydration, low blood sugar, or fatigue.
Since blood vessels become compressed when you lie down, and this restricts blood flow, your postpartum headaches may get worse when lying down.
Headaches after pregnancy usually last about 6 months after giving birth, but they can go away sooner.