Getting a headache every once in a while during the first few months of pregnancy is common and is usually caused by altered hormone levels and increased blood volume. Fatigue and stress can also contribute, as can too much caffeine. If your headaches don’t go away or seem particularly painful, throbbing, or similar to migraine, contact your doctor immediately. They may be a warning sign of something serious.
Otherwise, you can relieve headaches in the following ways:
- If you have a sinus headache, apply warm compresses to your head in such places as the front of your face on either side of the nose, in the middle of the forehead, and on the temples. These areas are occupied by the sinuses.
- If your headache is due to tension, try applying cold compresses to aches along the back of your neck.
- Learn relaxation exercises, such as closing your eyes and imagining yourself in a peaceful place. Reducing stress is a key component of a healthy pregnancy. If you feel overwhelmed or that the methods you have used to reduce stress have been inadequate, or even if you just want someone to talk to, you may want to ask your doctor for a referral to a counselor or therapist.
- Eat a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep.
- Talk to your doctor before taking pain relievers, even if you have taken over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin), aspirin (Bufferin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or naproxen sodium (Aleve) for pain before you were pregnant. Acetaminophen is usually safe during pregnancy, but again, it is best not to use medications unless your doctor has prescribed them.
Dizziness is another common concern in pregnant women and has many causes:
- changes in circulation, which may shift blood flow from your brain, can make you feel light-headed;
- hunger, which may keep your brain from getting enough energy (a condition called hypoglycemia in which the blood sugar is too low);
- dehydration, which can reduce the amount of blood flow to the brain;
- fatigue and stress; and
- ectopic pregnancy, especially if you are feeling very dizzy, if you have vaginal bleeding, or if you have pain in your abdomen.
Because dizziness can be a symptom of ectopic pregnancy, it is important that you let your doctor know if you are experiencing this symptom.
Depending on the cause, there are different ways to prevent dizziness. Keeping well hydrated and well fed can help prevent dizziness due to dehydration and hypoglycemia. Healthy snacks are a good way to keep blood sugar constant throughout the day. Another way to prevent dizziness is to get up slowly from sitting and lying down positions.