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Migraine during pregnancy l(20 Posts)
Hi I'm 17 weeks pregnant and suffering from extreme migraines. I have done for 18months prior to my pregnancy and was being prescribed meds that didn't take the pain away completely but reduced it greatly. Now I'm pregnant I can't take them and doc has said only options are paracetamol and cocodomol used alternately. This barely touches the pain. I'm exhausted as can't get to sleep/stay asleep due to pain and I'm crabby and irritable with everyone including my poor hubby and kids. I need something stronger, but obviously I don't want to put my baby in any danger. Please help! 😓
30+ years of migraines here OP, feel your pain! Paracetamol just doesn’t do it does it... I’ve found a combo of some paracetamol, olbas oil /menthol steams of my sinuses (checked with my doc who said it’s fine to use) and keeping well hydrated helps as much as possible at prevention. Being 20 wks pregnant I’ve found myself more dehydrated than usual (generally due to severe sickness and unable to keep fluids down!) so having to consciously drink more.
Migraines are horrific, as if we don’t have enough to deal with atm!
There are some triptans which are considered safe in pregnancy under medical supervision but it sounds like your GP perhaps isn’t aware of them. Might be worth a second opinion from another GP, or to request a referral via your mw.
I was prescribed codeine during my pregnancy when I suffered from severe migraines. I'm allergic to paracetamol so couldn't take that, and apparently codeine is safe in pregnancy. Ask yourGP if that's an option?
Previous to pregnancy I took nasal sprays, mw said no but my gp said he was happy to keep giving me them. No known side effects to an unborn dc he said. Also read myself in a gynaecology book!! Keep a diary though to be sure they aren't associated with anything the mw would want to know about.
Have you tried 4head. It's a stick that you rub on forehead. I also do back of neck. I found it helps as does a cold gel mask you can keep in the freezer.
I was px Fluoexetine in pregnancy for migraines, up to 3 attacks a day. In fact, I was about 17 weeks sobbing in the GP surgery, she had to go for another doctor because I was such a mess. It really helped, but I didn't manage to get back to work.
Also baby was fine after it.
Have you kept a food diary to check common foods consumed at time of migraine? ( in case food senstivity or food intolerance may be the culprit?).
Do you wear perfume, or have to work near or be around perfumes for products such as in the washing power isle at supermarket?). Some people have sensitivity to perfume that triggers migraines
I still take migraleve if I feel one coming on. Doc says it’s fine but it only works if you take at first symptoms .
I’m a chronic migrainer. Apart from Triptans no other drugs work for me. What helps me is avoiding triggers. For instance over doing it , stress, tiredness and certain foods like too much caffeine. Not always possible to avoid. The only other thing that helps is acupuncture or cupping at Chinese medicine place. It can be pricey but cupping especially gets the knots out of shoulders which really helps migraines. There are also done good hypnosis videos on you tube that will help you deal with the pain. I’m usually very skeptical about that stuff but I find it really helps to take your mind off it and also sends you to sleep (the best cure of all).
I have suffered with chronic migraine for 20 years and once I got to 19-20 weeks pregnant my migraines have stopped.
This is the link to the Latest nice guidance on managing migraine in pregnancy https://cks.nice.org.uk/migraine
It's what your GP should be referring too, Sumatriptan is the preferred triptan in pregnancy; they don't have enough data to call it 'Safe' (quite common in pregnancy due to the ethics of testing on pregnant women) but minimal effects have been reported from those who have used it. NSAIDs such as Iburpofen are also ok until the third trimester but again most GP's don't seem to follow this and rule them out for the entire pregnancy
Small amounts of caffeine and sugar helped me too so often I took dissolvable paracetamol in full fat coke, this was more effective than taking normal paracetamol, other that that 4head, a wet flannel or ice pack on the back of my necks rest and fluids.
I hope you feel better soon
Pregnancy triggered my migraines, it was misserable. You can take triptans in the 2nd trimester and ibruprofen - but please discuss this with your GP first. Try a different one at the surgery? I was prescribed Amitriptyline eventually in both pregnancies, although was super sensitive to it (it is a antidepressant which is also used for insomnia and pain management) but the side effects improved after a couple of weeks and they were better than the migraines. Also try a cup of coffee as something ypu can do now. I did a lot of reading into migraines and coffee is proven to help in some people - as you know with migraines everyone is different but worth a try. Acupuncture was amazing before pregnancy but barely helped during for me.
But really do go back to your GP. Mine stopped in the third trimester which was good as I had to stop taking the medication then but I don't know how I would have coped that long with suffering them. you have my sympathies, hopefully you can get them sorted.
I've had migraines for over 20 years and they were particularly horrible in my last pregnancy. I second the paracetamol and full fat coke trick, it really helps to sort me out. I hope you feel better soon, they are awful!
Thank you ladies, lots of fantastic advice. I now have a little list of things to try which makes me feel less hopeless. I will also go back to doc armed with this info. 💕💕
I don't want to give you false hope but for some reason, my lifelong migraines which peaked at around 4-5 months then disappeared for the rest of the pregnancy! They're back now and EBF baby = paracetamol only option which does nothing
Alternatives I have tried with some success
Heat and ice packs alternately on head/neck
Tiger balm on forehead- this is great, even just as a nice distraction
Essential oils (frankincense)- just inhaling
I wish you all the best- I feel your pain x
Have a search on google to, I found lots of medical papers with realy helpful info. I took something with me to the doctors. I apologised to him for seeming like I was telling him how to do his job! But ut helped to to say "this is how I am suffering, here are some options, what is best for me?".
muse doctors I have seen have all been happy with me taking ibruprofen and Sumatriptan to treat migraines when bfing.
@Muse84 Who told you that? Unless there are other contraindications NSAIDs like ibuprofen are certainly considered safe when EBF and triptans and codeine can often also be used under medical guidance. This info from the Breastfeeding Network is helpful; I would suggest taking it to your GP. You shouldn’t have to suffer unnecessarily.
Thanks Buxbaum- I left out the important part that I'm allergic to NSAIDs!
Oh and I've been given triptans but told by gp to avoid BFing for 12 h "just in case" - admittedly I need to look into that, and as for codeine, that was my go-to drug but I'm aware that a small minority of adults are super metabolisers of codeine, therefore creating levels of morphine that are dangerously high for baby. I'm not a naturally nervous Nellie, I certainly enjoy a few light beverages here and there, but given the potentially extremely serious (rare rare) reaction a baby could have to codeine, I'm loathe to take it, no matter how bad my migraine. I hate all of this vague advice out there. The worst thing from a health professional is "it SHOULF be fine".... Well, thanks
Ah, that makes sense! May well be worth talking to the Breastfeeding Network and possibly to La Leche League. They will be able to advise you on how to time codeine doses and possibly express milk in order to minimise any effects for your baby.
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