Headaches in pregnancy are common, but as with most "symptoms" of pregnancy, they shouldn't be expected. In most cases, pregnancy headaches are caused from dehydration and hormonal imbalances - not just from pregnancy changes but underlying nutritional issues. There are a lot of natural ways to remedy a pregnancy headache; here are a few.
Hydrate for Pregnancy Headache Relief
Dehydration can be a significant cause of a headache. Your body needs not only the fluids but also the electrolyte balance of healthy foods in the fluids to work efficiently. Your urine should be fairly clear at all times of the day. Your body should be filtering toxins well enough that your urine is not overly concentrated in the morning; this applies to prenatal vitamins causing concentrated toxins in the urine as well so be sure you're supplementing with whole foods supplements only as needed and getting most of your nourishment from whole foods. Not only should you be drinking water, but also eating hydrating foods like cucumber, watermelon and bone-stock-based soups.
Stress Release for Pregnancy Headache Relief
Tension headaches are common in pregnancy (and parenting). Schedule time in your busy day to walk, journal, and have some "me time" for emotional balance. Get adequate sleep and select a lifestyle of movement and nourishment that promotes healthy hormonal balance. "It's just your hormones" might be physiologically accurate for stress in pregnancy, but it isn't because you're pregnant. Unfortunately, pregnancy may just be one of the first times we notice underlying physical health complications that have been manifesting for years. Pregnancy takes a lot of energy and if you're not providing your body with a nourishing environment, it won't feel nourished and can be a significant cause of stress headaches. If you're day is super scheduled, block in some intentional relaxation time for walks, yoga, prayer or any activity that gets you into a space where you don't have to be "on" so much.
Cut the Sugar for Pregnancy Headache Relief
While temporarily a change in sugar intake may increase a headache - sometimes the cause can be from sugar withdrawal - a few days after cutting the sugar should have you feeling much better. Like with all foods, sugar changes the way your body works and in this case happens to change it in a way that alters your blood, blood flow/pressure, and blood sugar rather significantly. Likewise sugar increases yeast and other undesirable bacteria levels in your body and as these start to die off with a healthier food balance, a pregnancy headache can be a common side effect.
Sugar includes processed sugar itself (which is the worst) as well as a high carb diet full of breads, crackers and pastas. Rebalance the processed foods and try to eliminate processed sugar altogether. Switch up the sweets to whole foods like fruits or sweetening baked treats in moderation with bananas and dates; don't just replace sugar with more concentrated sugar like honey or maple syrup. Increase your protein intake (to a balanced degree focusing on a plant-based selection of snacks) to reduce your sugar cravings. Add lemon to your water to help support the liver and process the sugar in your body.
Chiropractor and Bodywork for Pregnancy Headache Relief
When the body is out of alignment and life is packed full of activity the muscles, ligaments and bones get tight, twisted and off balance. Not only do misalignment and body tension cause physical pain, they also increase perinatal risks (including difficult births) and prevent nutrients from reaching necessary body systems for whole body function like digestion, gestation, immune function and a common cause of pregnancy headaches. You may need to start with a chiropractic adjustment or two and follow up with various forms of body work like fascia release, prenatal massage and often physical therapy in conjunction. You may need to choose flatter shoes, move more and move better and relearn aligned movement for headache relief and whole body function.
Herbal & Natural Therapies for Pregnancy Headache Relief
After all the other lifestyle choices are in check (or while working through them) you may find support with herbal therapies. You may start with a blend of herbal powders as a supplement to your day such as nettles, spirulina, or chlorella. Other herbal teas that may provide headache relief include:
- Hot foot bath and a cool cloth on the head and neck
- Peppermint Tea warm or cool (NOT the essential oil orally)
- Essential oil of peppermint diluted to no more than 5% EO and rubbed on the temples
- Lavender essential oil diffused or whole herb lavender added to a warm bath or hot foot bath
You may need to work through a few options and lifestyle changes before you find something that not only consistently supports you through a headache but that gets to the root cause of the problem if prenatal headaches are consistent with you.
What is your favorite way to relieve a headache?