Mr Joseph Iskaros, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, The Portland Hospital
Q. “I’ve been getting more headaches than usual since becoming pregnant – Should I be worried?”
A. No, this is not an uncommon symptom in pregnant women, especially in the first few weeks of pregnancy. There are many causes for headaches at this stage but they are harmless to your baby although they are uncomfortable for you. The huge influx of hormones in pregnancy has been blamed for this. Other factors including, lack of sleep, anxiety and nausea could also contribute. They usually disappear by 16 or 17 weeks into pregnancy. You can help yourself by eating healthily, get regular rest, sleep enough hours and do some relaxation classes which are offered at the Portland Hospital. Simple drugs such as Paracetamol can be very beneficial to relieve headaches and they are safe in pregnancy. Avoid using Aspirin and similar medications as well as drugs containing codeineas they tend to worsen constipation which is common in pregnancy.
Headaches can also develop later on in pregnancy, again mainly because of simple factors such as fatigue. However, sometimes a headache can be a sign of other medical problems including anaemia. More seriously, it can be a manifestation of pre- eclampsia or toxaemia of pregnancy. If it persists you should consult your doctor who may want to do an examination and run a few tests.
Anaemia is common in pregnancy because of all the changes that take place in your body. The expanding blood volume and the development of the placenta and the baby use a lot of the iron stores. This is particularly worse in people who start pregnancy already anaemic because of an inadequate diet or heavy periods. If you are vegetarian you are at a higher risk of developing anaemia. Dietary advice is available through our nutritionist.