Effective Natural Remedies for Headaches During Pregnancy
body , immunity & wellness

Effective Natural Remedies for Headaches During Pregnancy

Are you experiencing frequent headaches during your pregnancy? It’s totally normal! About 40% of expecting mommies experience headaches during various stages of their pregnancy.


As your belly expands, your body goes through tons of hormonal changes, leading to discomfort and pains throughout the body.


The good news is you can use several home remedies to treat your annoying headache naturally! Let’s discuss what causes headaches and how you can get some sweet relief.



Is it okay to experience headaches during pregnancy?


Yes, headaches are common during pregnancy, among many other symptoms like fatigue and nausea. Moms-to-be will likely experience headaches more often in the first and third trimesters, but it really depends on the individual. Some women don’t face headaches at all! While others experience the nagging head and neck pains throughout the nine months [1].



What causes headaches during pregnancy?


stages of pregnancy


Women face different symptoms during various stages of pregnancy.


Headaches in the first trimester


In the first weeks of pregnancy, your body produces tons of hormones [2], and your blood volume and body weight change [3]. Other symptoms can include:


  • Lack of sleep
  • Constipation
  • Caffeine withdrawal
  • Fluctuating sugar levels
  • Insufficient nutrition intake
  • Dehydration


Headaches in Second and Third Trimesters


In the later stages, you may experience head pain due to:


  • Exhaustion
  • Increased body weight
  • Bad posture
  • Muscle tightness
  • Bad sleeping schedule
  • Improper nutrition
  • Pre-eclampsia — a serious condition in which the mom has high blood pressure, swelling in the hands and feet, and protein in the urine. [4]


Moms with medical conditions


Mothers having an underlying condition of high blood pressure and diabetes are likely to face frequent headaches in the second and third trimesters. If left untreated, it could cause severe complications both for her and the baby [5, 6].


If you’re a chronic migraine sufferer, it can either worsen during pregnancy or subside in the last trimester, depending on the individual’s symptoms [7].


It’s important to contact your health care provider and determine whether your headaches indicate some other complication.



How to get relief from pregnancy headaches the natural way?


Unless your doctors give you a green signal, it’s always advisable to stay away from medications during pregnancy [8]. But this doesn’t mean you should keep suffering! There is a wide range of home remedies to get rid of head pains and gain quick relief.


Let’s discuss how you can treat headaches caused by various reasons in the light of medical research.


1.      Insufficient nutrition intake


The best natural remedy to prevent and cure annoying head pains is taking adequate minerals and vitamins in your diet [9, 10].


  • Take at least 2-3 servings of fresh fruits (avocados, oranges, lemons, apples, berries) and 3-4 servings of leafy vegetables (broccoli, kale, spinach). [9, 11]
  • Take at least six servings of whole grain foods packed with fiber and vitamins such as brown rice, oats, wheat bread, and quinoa. [12]
  • Include at least three servings of lean meat and protein-rich foods such as beef, pork, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, and beans in your meals. These high-quality proteins are rich in iron, choline, omega 3, and many vital vitamins. [13]
  • Take at least four servings of dairy and calcium-rich foods like milk, cheese, and Greek yogurt to meet the protein and calcium demands. There are many variations of yogurt rich in healthy probiotics to regulate your gut health during pregnancy. [13]


2.      Dehydration


Drink at least 8 to 12 glasses of water to avoid dehydration during pregnancy. If you’re bored of plain water, chug down your favorite smoothie or fruit juice. Better yet, include an electrolyte beverage to replenish your vitamins and essential minerals with every gulp! One easy way is to add a few spoonfuls of Hydrant electrolyte powder rich in magnesium, sodium, zinc, and potassium in a glass of water and enjoy it anytime during the day.


In addition, you can always include water-rich foods in your diet to stay hydrated.


3.      Caffeine withdrawal


caffeine withdrawal - headache


Ceasing the intake of caffeine can trigger withdrawal headaches in some women. You can tackle this by taking caffeine in moderation (such as 200mg per day) after consulting your doctor [14]. Try replacing it with other drinks such as warm apple cider or doctor-approved teas. Moreover, get adequate rest and exercise to release the dopamine your body needs!


4.      Lack of sleep


As an expecting mommy, you’re supposed to get 10 hours of sound sleep. This can be easily achieved by including several nap times throughout the day. Naps are beneficial to both you and your baby!


5.      Fluctuating sugar levels


With a growing placenta, the body’s sugar level rises. Headaches can be triggered when the blood sugar levels drop [6]. You can regulate your sugar levels naturally by eating a healthy diet, including fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein-rich foods.


6.      Constipation


Hormonal changes and iron supplements can disturb bowel movement, which can cause headaches in some women. Try including healthy fibrous foods and drinking plenty of water to regulate your pooping schedule [15].


7.      Bad posture and muscle tightness


Of course, you will feel exhausted by carrying that extra weight all the time! As the baby grows, your abdominal muscles are stretched, which can cause you to have a bad posture. A bent neck and humped back can trigger headaches. Try going to a chiropractor to ensure your body is in correct alignment. You can also ask your partner to massage your neck and back gently.


8.      Natural remedy for migraines


One way to keep track of your migraine attacks is by keeping a migraine journal. Note down when you get headaches and what triggers them. It could be the excessive use of screens, loud sounds, strong scents, eating a particular food, or staying awake late at night. Tracking your symptoms will help you and your doctor understand your condition better.  


Research says that Acupuncture can have a positive effect on migraines during pregnancies [16]. It can decrease the frequency of headaches and pain intensity. In addition, it’s an excellent tool in your arsenal to relieve many symptoms such as nausea, swellings, heartburn, and back pains [17].


Biofeedback therapy is yet another widely practiced technique to monitor migraine and help relieve stress and pains.



Other natural remedies for headaches during pregnancy


deep breathing exercises for pregnant moms


Try out the following tips to get an instant relief:


  1. Relax on a bed or a sofa and cover your forehead with a cool towel.
  2. Put an ice pack on your neck and forehead and relax your body.
  3. Put a warm compress over your eyes and nose to ease the sinus pain. You can use Neti Pots to reduce nasal inflammation and congestion.
  4. Get a neck, shoulder, and back massage.
  5. Put on some soothing music and take a long, relaxing steam bath or shower.
  6. Spend some time in a dark and quiet room.
  7. Try rhythmic breathing exercises. For example: Breath in slowly as you count to five, then exhale slowly. You can practice other breathing exercises to relax such as deep breathing, visualized breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation [18].
  8. Have small meals throughout the day to boost your energy levels.
  9. Always keep a water bottle with you and stay hydrated!
  10. Practice regular meditation and yoga under supervision.
  11. Exercise 3-4 days a week for 20-30 minutes.  
  12. Sip on your favorite herbal teas to relax your mind and body. These can be peppermint tea, chamomile tea, ginger tea or red raspberry leaf tea. (Avoid drinking in huge quantities and consult your doctor!)



When should you see a doctor?


Headaches should never be taken lightly. Sometimes it’s the body’s way of telling you that it needs medical help. Here are a few symptoms and conditions that must never be regarded as “normal”:


  1. Feeling heartburn, pain under your ribs, and swelling in your feet, face, and hands
  2. Blurred and shaky vision
  3. Experiencing a throbbing and excruciating pain that is different from usual head pains
  4. Experiencing headaches that last longer than 72 hours
  5. Head pains accompanied by vomiting
  6. Fainting and seizures


Such symptoms can be an indication of serious diseases such as pre-eclampsia or toxemia and require immediate hospitalization [4].



What medicines can you take?


If your headache is not going away with the remedies mentioned above, you can take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) [19]. Tylenol is the safest choice for pregnant moms to cure headaches. However, it’s still important to discuss taking medications with your health care provider during any phase of your pregnancy!



What medicines should you avoid?


Medicines that come under the umbrella of “Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs” (NAIDs) such as ibuprofen, aspirin, celebrex, and naproxen should be avoided. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), if taken in the early months, these medicines can cause severe consequences [20].


Instead of ibuprofen, you can try out ginger and turmeric anti-inflammatory capsules to help with the headaches.





Mild and short-lived headaches are very common during pregnancy, but contact your doctor immediately if you experience unusual symptoms of severe head pains.


Although natural remedies can help prevent and alleviate headaches, it’s always better to discuss your headaches and symptoms with a healthcare provider before changing your diet or practicing a new exercise.


Here’s to pain-free pregnancies!





[1]     Headaches during pregnancy. Available: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/headaches-during-pregnancy
[2]     Hormones During Pregnancy. Available: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/staying-healthy-during-pregnancy/hormones-during-pregnancy
[3]     N. Jalilian, T. Fakheri, and S. Daeichin, "Review of headache in pregnancy," (in eng), Journal of Injury and Violence Research, vol. 4, no. 3 Suppl 1, p. 79, 2012.
[4]     K. Gaither. (2019). Preeclampsia. Available: https://www.webmd.com/baby/preeclampsia-eclampsia
[5]     High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy. Available: https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/pregnancy.htm
[6]     C. Lawhorn. (2020). Hypoglycemia and Headaches. Available: https://www.verywellhealth.com/hypoglycemia-and-headaches-1719537
[7]     M. D. Robyn Horsager-Boehrer. Headache and migraine remedies that are safe during pregnancy. Available: https://utswmed.org/medblog/headache-migraine-pregnancy/
[8]     P. Cydnee Ng. (2022). What Can I Take for a Headache While I’m Pregnant? Available: https://www.goodrx.com/conditions/headaches/what-take-headache-while-pregnant
[9]     E. Somer. A Pregnant Woman's Daily Diet. Available: https://www.webmd.com/women/features/pregnant-daily-diet
[10]   Healthy diet during pregnancy. Available: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/healthy-diet-during-pregnancy
[11]   N. Olsen. (2020). Which fruits should you eat during pregnancy? Available: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322757#the-best-fruits-to-eat-during-pregnancy
[12]   A. Bjarnadottir. (2020). 13 Foods to Eat When You’re Pregnant. Available: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-foods-to-eat-when-pregnant#whole-grains
[13]   Traci C. Johnson. (2020). Eating Right When Pregnant. Available: https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/eating-right-when-pregnant
[14]   Caffeine during pregnancy Available: https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/caffeine-in-pregnancy.aspx
[15]   M. Weng. (2018). Can Constipation Cause a Headache? Available: https://www.healthline.com/health/digestive-health/can-constipation-cause-a-headache#prevention
[16]   J. B. G. d. Silva, M. U. Nakamura, J. A. Cordeiro, and L. Kulay, "Acupuncture for tension-type headache in pregnancy: A prospective, randomized, controlled study," European Journal of Integrative Medicine, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. e366-e370, 2012/12/01/ 2012.
[17]   S. Novak. (2021). Why You Might Want to Try Acupuncture During Pregnancy. Available: https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy-acupuncture.aspx
[18]   C. Melinosky. (2021). Relaxation Techniques for Migraines and Headaches. Available: https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/relaxation-techniques
[19]   Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Available: https://www.goodrx.com/acetaminophen/what-is
[20]   Use of Pain Medicine During Early Pregnancy May Be Related To Birth Defects. Available: https://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/meds/treatingfortwo/features/pain-med-usage.html

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