Pregnancy Migraines Could Cause Adverse Outcomes

Pregnancy Migraines Could Cause Adverse Outcomes
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Migraines are recurrent medium to high-intensity headaches. The pain is usually located on one side of the head, causing other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, lightheadedness, and sensitivity to light. The leading cause of the pain is blood vessels dilating in the brain. Migraines usually occur in three stages:

  • Aura: Some people experience visual disturbances, like flashes of light, before or during a migraine. The phenomenon is called an “aura” and can last from 20 to 60 minutes.
  • Attack: This is the actual painful stage of a migraine. It can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours if it goes untreated.
  • Post-dome: This stage can last up to 24 hours. While some patients may feel liberated, others feel drained, experiencing symptoms like confusion, dizziness, and weakness.

Recently, a group of researchers in Denmark studied migraines in pregnant women. They discovered that migraines could result in an increased risk of hypertension disorders in the mother during pregnancy. Even more, the study shows that maternal migraines could cause a series of adverse results in newborns, including preterm birth, febrile seizures, low birth weight, respiratory distress syndrome and the need for cesarean delivery.

Pregnancy Migraines Could Cause Adverse Outcomes

During the study, researchers observed the evolution of over 20,000 pregnant women who suffered from migraines (of which 16,861 delivered liveborn babies) and over 200,00 pregnant women without a history of headaches (of which 170,0334 delivered liveborn babies).

Studying cases of treated and untreated migraines, researchers concluded that the headache itself is not linked with higher risks of pregnancy complications. The actual problem that was causing higher risks of adverse outcomes was the treatment. Most specialists recommend pregnant women to treat migraines with acetaminophen (Tylenol). Under no circumstances should they take any medication containing aspirin or ibuprofen. Pregnant women prone to headaches advised their doctor about the best form of pain relief for their migraines.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Nils Skajaa of Aarhus University Hospital, said: “Migraine is a disabling condition, common among women of reproductive age. Accumulating evidence shows that migraine in pregnancy may lead to several adverse outcomes in the mother and child, but treatment may alleviate these risks.”


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