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Migraine & time off work during pregnancy.

(13 Posts)
MaybeBaby220218 Sun 12-Nov-17 22:42:11

Hi,
I was wondering if anyone had experienced an increase in migraines and the severity of the symptoms during pregnancy? And if so how have you dealt with them at work?

I’ve suffered very infrequently from migraines from about the age of 13, but only ever had a maximum of about 2 a year (light aura, temporary vision disturbance, then splitting headache). I’m 26 weeks pregnant and have been really struggling the past few weeks with REALLY intense symptoms (have been checked routinely for pre-eclampsia, no worries on that front). I’ve had 4 migraines that have lasted 2 days a piece over the last 2 weeks- I’m a teacher and can manage the headache whilst working, but the light aura/prolonged vision disturbance and delightful new symptom that is asphasia(?) where for anywhere up to an hour I struggle to talk or make sense of words, both spoken or written, is causing huge problems when I’m left in charge of a class. I hate taking time off because I love my job, but I physically can’t carry out my role when I suffer these migraines now. I never know when they’re going to happen. But am worried if they remain this frequent I’m going to end up in trouble if I have to keep taking time off.

Has anyone been in a similar position (even with a different pregnancy related illness) that could shed any light for me?
Thanks in advance!
smile xx

Moanyoldcow Mon 13-Nov-17 00:16:35

I get about 2/3 migraines a year and general headaches have ramped right up which is really tricky.

If I have a real migraine like you describe I'd be at home pregnant or not. Can you take some codeine?

MaybeBaby220218 Mon 13-Nov-17 04:12:19

Hiya smile
It’s 4am and my heads still splitting so I’ve just called in sick for the morning. I didn’t know you could take anything other than paracetamol (which doesn’t seem to touch the sides) my doctor didn’t mention it when I spoke to her last so I’ll definitely ask about it, thanks for the heads up! grin

It’s good to hear you’d take the time off, I find migraines one of those funny ones that unless you’ve experienced them then you don’t quite get how pants they are! (I was very sceptical before I had them!) I’d hate people to think I was just having a laze about at home.

Whatamuddleduck Mon 13-Nov-17 05:58:37

I'm 15w6days and have had a mix of headache/migraines for the last 3 weeks.
I haven't had a migraine in years but used to get some quite severe ones.
Mine are often linked to stress and exhaustion so I took thurs afternoon and Friday off. Back to work today but headache is still there!
It's difficult isn't it. Like you, I don't want to be taking time off but if you can't see or speak properly I would question being fit for work. I'm aware that I develop blind spots with a migraine and so avoid driving. That helps me to make the decision to stay home.
I'd ask for some advice from GP but also warn work that this is ongoing and that you are likely to need cover. At least then they can prepare for the likelihood of you being in and out as you can manage it.

Thishatisnotmine Mon 13-Nov-17 06:21:27

From 9 weeks in both my pregnancies, my migraines increased. I had a day or two of feeling absolutley fine before the next one started and they lasted at least 24 hours, most were two days. I had a day at least of sick for weeks both times until I was prescribed medication. Obviously doctors want to try everything they can before medication.

Get yourself to the doctors! You can take cocodamol, for a couple of weeks more until your third trimester you can have ibroprufen. Pregnancy sick leave is 'ring fenced' so cannot be used against your performance or anything.

Keep looking for triggers: not enough sleep, dehydration, screen use if you are noticing more vision disturbance? You might also spot signs of when you are getting one, this could be craving particular kinds of foods, being sleepy, generally feeling off. The migraine trust has lots of good info.

Mine fortunately stopped at about 28 weeks which was good as the medication i had to take (amitriptylene) could not be taken that late. But go to the doctor, even if it is is just so you can show your employer that you are taking them seriously.

Maincat Mon 13-Nov-17 06:57:32

I'm also a teacher and I think somewhat uniquely we have off-work guilt to ridiculous levels. If you're unwell to this degree don't go to work! It's not good for you or the children if you can't see or form words, look after yourself as priority. Pregnancy illness isn't recorded like normal sickness and school will just have to get cover in.

I hope you manage to get to the GP and get some medication to help x

schnubbins Mon 13-Nov-17 07:22:47

My pregnancies were 19 and 17 years ago and were free of complications except for an increase in migraine.Like you My migraines started in puberty and were exactly as you described them.However once before pregnancy and also during pregnancy i also had what was called Status Migranosis which was where Migrane started and continued going from one episode to the next over a period of 10 days , with all the symptoms, aura with visual disturbance, vomiting,aphasia and numbness of arm fingers on the affected side.It was awful and at that time there were no meds available.I was monitored due to my blood pressure dropping .The only thing that helped me was to have an espresso when I felt the symptoms coming on and to go into the fresh air and take big gulps of air .I was told by the Dr at the time that my migraine would either get much worse or disappear after pregnancy.Thankfully it has all but gone and i only get Optic migraine maybe twice a year now.

TittyGolightly Mon 13-Nov-17 07:26:21

Pregnancy sick leave is 'ring fenced' so cannot be used against your performance or anything.

Only if it’s pregnancy related sickness.

pinkblink Mon 13-Nov-17 07:42:19

I suffered terribly in my first pregnancy, I found most days a can of Coke helped (I know it's terrible for you!) but the caffeine really made a difference

Thishatisnotmine Mon 13-Nov-17 07:51:40

What titty said. If you go to your GP you can explain that they are worse in pregnancy. My doctor gave me a letter in my second pregnancy to explain that the pregnancy was causing an increase in the frequency and severity along with not being able to take my normal medication. A lot of people with migraines find that sleep is the only thing that helps so taking one day off work might leave you feeling better than struggling on for two days.

Caffeine does help!

MaybeBaby220218 Mon 13-Nov-17 10:50:53

Morning smile
Thanks for all your responses! I’ve just managed 5 hours of kip so am now pulling myself together to go to the doctors.
I had 2 days off 3 weeks ago for the same thing (haha- although admittedly at the time had managed to convince myself I was having a stroke due to tingling body parts and suddenly being unable to talk! Both shiny brand new symptoms) I spoke to the doctor then who said to go back if they continue, and at my return to work meeting explained that usually, if and when I get a migraine they’re fairly manageable, but pregnancy is taking them to a whole new level!
I know that doctors are reluctant to prescribe things and I don’t think I mind that too much - this is first successful pregnancy after 4 MC’s so I think worrying about which drugs I’m taking might send me over the edge as I’ve been fairly calm the last 5 months.
Our surgery is pretty pants so I’m going to drop in instead of ring and hope I don’t get fobbed off, even if i managed a chat and a note to take to work!
Hope everyone has a lovely day! xx

Thisisjustbetweenus Mon 13-Nov-17 10:55:53

I'm assuming that you have got checked for pre-eclampsia? Get migraines when pregnant and found that two paracetamol swallowed with a strong coffee really helps. I also got cocodamol (I think) prescribed. Sadly nothing is as effective as sumatriptan but the paracetamol and caffeine trick definitely works if taken at first sign. Also have you tried washing your hair in cold water when you've got one? It's the last thing I feel like doing but I've found that - if I force myself - it really does help.

Thisisjustbetweenus Mon 13-Nov-17 10:56:58

Sorry, re-read the original post and found out your have been checked for pre-eclampsia!

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