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Can someone please help me with migraines during pregnancy

(26 Posts)
LeroyJethroGibbs Sat 11-Dec-10 15:09:33

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sotough Sat 11-Dec-10 16:06:46

hi there, i really sympathise. i get terrible pregnancy migraines - suffered really badly with my first pregnancy. i remember one that lasted three days (nowhere near your record) and seeing the GP who was totally useless and just suggested paracetamol, which, as you know, doesn't even scratch the surface...i can honestly say migraines are the most painful thing i've ever experienced and i'd rather go through childbirth...
I ended up going to a specialist migraine clinic in London (it's a charity and they're brilliant, if you happen to live in London) and they gave me some very good advice; they did say that if things got really desperate there's some strong medication that is less risky than others in pregnancy, but you might need to see a specialist to get more detail on that; your GP is likely to be pretty cautious.
Anyway, as an initial strategy, what i can strongly recommend is taking "paracetamol EXTRA" the minute you feel symptoms coming on next time. (obviously it's too late to cure this particular migraine) Paracetamol Extra contains caffeine, which seems to make it a lot more effective. try to find a soluble version, and take it with Coke (not Diet coke.) immediately you feel the throbbing start. According to the experts at the Migraine Clinic, the high sugar content in the Coke helps the body absorb the paracetamol and caffeine more quickly. (don't ask me about the science...) At the same time i really recommend something called 4Head, which you can get from Boots - it's a sort of stick that you rub over your forehead and it makes your forehead feel really cold. nobody's pretending it cures the migraine but it certainly makes it a little less painful. I have used it LOADS and i find it a brilliant help. final thing to say is that apparently nurofen (which i find a lot more effective for migraines than paracetamol) is actually safe in the first two trimesters of pregnancy but i have never had this confirmed by a doctor. might be worth asking an expert. i really hope you can shift this one soon. oh yes, and don't get hungry, dehydrated or over tired, as all of these individually can bring on a migraine - and the worst if you are all three at once.

sarahscot Sat 11-Dec-10 16:12:33

I was getting killer headaches between weeks 12 and 18 - if it's any consolation I think this tends to be the peak time for headaches and they should go away after about 18 weeks.

I found that drinking A LOT helped me. I didn't think they could possibly be due to dehydration as I tend to drink around 2 litres of water a day anyway. However, if I drank around 3 litres the headaches eased off.

Good luck, I know how miserable it makes you feel.

Sticki Sat 11-Dec-10 16:18:18

I had migraines and found out they were connected to having low blood sugar (esp common in early pg apparently). I found if I was careful to balance my blood sugar (protein, low gi stuff etc), even though I really struggled with nausea too I could reduce then stop the migraines.

Hope this helps.
Good luck and I hope you feel better very soon.

Sleepwhenidie Sat 11-Dec-10 16:22:25

I suffered too and it is so horrible, you have my sympathy. Concentrating for long periods (driving/computer etc) seemed to bring mine on. Paracetemol didn't touch it but I kept trying...I found using Forehead when the headache is wearing off but still there IYKWIM made it a little more bearable. I was a lot better in 3rd trimester and have heard that is often the case so fingers crossed you won't suffer for 26 more wks.

PipPipPip Sat 11-Dec-10 19:22:19

I find codeine really helpful - it is one of the ingredients in Co-codamol (which is codeine and paracetemol).

I googled it and had a long chat with my pharmacist before taking it. There are warnings about it, but these are mainly connected to the fact that it can be addictive and shouldn't be taken for long periods RATHER than there being any specific risk during pregnancy.

I find taking 1/2 a Co-codamol occasionally really helps relieve the tension and helps me get to sleep.

Good luck in whatever you do!!

LeroyJethroGibbs Sat 11-Dec-10 19:29:54

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nicolamumof3 Sat 11-Dec-10 19:36:38

Oh you have my sympathies am a fellow migraine sufferer am just p
9w pg with dc4 and so far touch wood have got off lightly. Mine are usually horrendous when pg. It is essential now more than ever you identify your triggers and look into alternative therapies reflexology, Indian head massage and acupuncture can all help. I have taken codeine but made me so do nauseous couldn't sit up.

LunaticFringe Sat 11-Dec-10 19:54:28

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sotough Sat 11-Dec-10 21:09:59

that's interesting lunatic (i 'know' you from the miscarriage board..) - i also had far less migraines with this pregnancy, during which i was taking baby aspirin, clexane and steroids. with my first pregnancy i wasn't on any medication. i wonder if the aspirin made a difference...
leroy unfortunately your partner may be right - chocolate is a known migraine trigger, along with cheese, orange juice, red wine and various other nice things. i;m sure you're willing to do anything to avoid more migraines so giving up chocolate is a small price, just in case it helps.

LunaticFringe Sat 11-Dec-10 21:24:13

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BecauseItoldYouSo Sat 11-Dec-10 21:25:19

I also had horrendous migraines during the first 5-6 months of my pregnancy. I suffer from migraines anyways but they were really awful and I see a neurologist about my migraines. I continued on my migraine medication and if you speak to your doctor or get a referrel to a specialist they might reccommend one of the migraine drugs if you are really suffering.

I would also reccommend buying some large gel filled ice packs and wrapping them around your head when you have one. I find freezing a migraine into submission does the trick. grin

GlitteryBalls Sat 11-Dec-10 22:13:29

I had a few bad ones early on, but they disappeared around the middle of 2nd trimester and I haven't had one since. If I remember rightly I had a cluster around the beginning of the 2nd trimester so probably about the same time as you. I have also suffered lots with them in the past, especially around period time. Fingers crossed you'll be like me and they'll die down as your pg progresses...x

GlitteryBalls Sat 11-Dec-10 22:22:11

BTW, IMO it is bollocks that chocolate triggers migraines - I can usually eat it with no problems. I read somewhere that before a migraine you will often crave chocolate and sweet things because of a dip in blood sugar, and then when you get the migraine you end up blaming the chocolate that you've just eaten! I find the main triggers for me are stress, hormone changes,tiredness/lack of sleep and low blood sugar/missing meals. And sometimes there appears to be no rhyme or reason they just happen. So eat chocolate if it makes you feel better and tell dp to bugger off! For me personally the stress of giving up chocolate would be enough to give me a permanent migraine! Everyone's different though...

FloraPost Sun 12-Dec-10 07:57:29

If you're 14 weeks the NHS says you can take ibuprofen - here. I would find someone to take the DC then go to bed with some ibuprofen and cold compresses and sleep. Avoid getting tired if you can (difficult with 2 DC, I know). I get migraines anyway but they were more frequent when I got tired in the 2nd trimester.

sarah293 Sun 12-Dec-10 08:19:33

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oh4goodnesssake Mon 13-Dec-10 13:49:47

I know everyone who hasn't tried it will slate me for this but homeopathy is the only thing that worked for me after years of terrible migraines. I had tried nearly ever treatment under the sun and read an article about it. I was obviously sceptical but mentioned it to my neurologist who said "give it a go, what harm can it do and if it doesn't work then come back and we'll try another drug". Luckily 3 years down the line, I now take no drugs at all. Before you all shout "placebo", I had much more confidence in the drugs that doctors had given me working but they didn't and most had horrible side effects. I don't care how it works and my first point of call is always my doctor but where they can't fix stuff, then chances are that my homeopath can. Don't knock it until you try it

paddypoopants Mon 13-Dec-10 14:04:17

I'd second the suggestion about the coke. At the first signs of a migraine I IMMEDIATELY take a painkiller with a whole can of coke and this usually knocks it on the head - I usually have coke with me in the car in case I get one. If I just take the painkiller without it is not as effective. Has to be coke not lemonade or anything like that - I assume it's the mixture of caffeine and sugar.

GlitteryBalls Mon 13-Dec-10 14:07:08

I also had a cocktail of drugs prescribed for me - none of which ever worked. Then one day i just thought "fuck it" stopped taking all the meds and stopped analysing every little thing I ate/drank/did and they just sort of went. Oh and I did go vegan for about a year, but now I am back to eating normal veggie diet and I get the odd one very, very occasionally - no way near as many as I used to get (every day for 6 months at one point). So I think you shouldn't be too hard on yourself, just relax and try not to to let them get to you too much as I honestly think stress and anxiety is the biggest trigger - which is easier said than done I know because they're horrible. x

LeroyJethroGibbs Mon 13-Dec-10 19:14:23

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Laura05 Tue 14-Dec-10 10:00:41

Ok so now i'm a bit worried! I suffer terrible migraines for which i have prescribed migraine tablets and really high dose of co-codomol. My GP has said I can't take any of my medication during pregnancy but said I probably won't get any migraines due to the change in hormones anyway.
After reading all your comments, now im like f**k!!!!!!!

GlitteryBalls Tue 14-Dec-10 11:15:14

Laura05 I had a couple early on but haven't had any since. Hoepfully you'll be fine. I had really bad skin that cleared up in preganacy whereas for some people it's the opposite - the hormones affect everyone differetly. x

midori1999 Tue 14-Dec-10 14:35:37

I am also on Asprin and have only had one real migraine this pregnancy so far. (am ten weeks). I do have a blood/auto-immune condition of which migraines are one of the symptoms though. In a previous pregnancy before I was diagnosed, the migraines were horrendous.

I haven't found anything helps, other than taking paracetamol (which don't really help) and going to bed as soon as I feel one coming on. Do see your GP or ask midwie to see a consultant, as you can take stronger and safe painkillers if you have them on prescription.

diyqueen Tue 14-Dec-10 21:18:53

I also had horrible migraines up to about 18 weeks, and was feeling completely desperate at the thought of it continuing any longer (had a migraine about 50% of the time, bad enough to be throwing up constantly for a day or two a week). However, at 26 weeks I've only had 2 migraines in the last 8 weeks, and they weren't anywhere near as intense. It is such a blessed relief - it's possible yours might improve too, hang in there.

Sotough I was really interested reading what you said comparing migraines and childbirth - I had been wondering whether suffering awful migraines meant I have a higher tolerance of pain (being used to it) or a lower one (feeling so much pain from 'just' a migraine). Am feeling a bit reassured now - thanks!

Laura05 Thu 16-Dec-10 14:07:38

diyqueen i've also been wondering if labour is going to be a doodle compared to a migraine which floors you for a week! interesting reading lol smile

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