1st Trimester

Dealing with migraines during pregnancy

Do you have any suggestions for coping during pregnancy? I have always suffered from chronic migraines but of course during pregnancy it's even worse because I can't take my normal medication. Also i have a two year old so I can't just lay in bed anymore. I try to save Tylenol for when I absolutely need it, and not t for little aches/pains but I have recently read a study and heard from someone who is further along that excessive Tylenol use has been linked to add. Now I'm not sure what to do! Not that it really helped a lot anyway, would just like your thoughts or experiences.

Re: Dealing with migraines during pregnancy

  • I do caffeine immediately, then a mild low dose painkiller, then elevate my feet, as well as hot compresses. It helps. Good luck!
  • I dealt with them withTylenol and chased it with caffiene, but please check with your doctor if that would be appropriate for you.

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  • I actually took butalb or something like that when I had migraines during the first trimester. They were really bad. Other than that, the doctor told me to have caffeine.
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  • abbyfulabbyful
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited March 25
    I used to suffer from migraines, but have only had one in 3+ years now. The big change I made was my diet; now I eat about 75% paleo/primal and I quit drinking soda pop. I never could narrow it down to specific triggers, but the change in regards to diet did something. (The one migraine I did have was when I started eating crappy food again for a few weeks because of other stuff going on in my life.) My sister had bad migraines that occur a several times a week, and have landed her in the ER on occasion. She has tried all sorts of things: multiple prescriptions, massage & acupuncture, etc. She has also noticed a difference after switching her diet to mostly paleo/primal after I told her it helped me; she still has them a couple times a month, but it's a drastic reduction in frequency from what they were.

    Magnesium supplements also help.

    And a side note for later, research the pros & cons of getting an epidural, one of the side effects is chronic migraines. That was one of the reasons I went natural with DS, I had finally got the migraines to stop, I didn't want to risk triggering them again.
  • CchewningCchewning
    10 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    edited March 25
    Thank you all for your advice. I know being afraid of taking Tylenol is silly, I still do take it when I need it for a migraine, I just don't take it for other things like when my back hurts, or whatever. The main problem is it doesn't help anyway! I'm a vegetarian, and don't drink anything but hot tea, and water and try to be conscious of what I eat. I also drink magnesium tea at night. I did have completely natural birth with my son and plan to do it again. I had a spinal tap years ago which resulted in the worst headache of my life. That was just one reason for going natural.
  • I just expressed this same thing to my doctor at my appt. yesterday. I also brought up what I heard about tylenol "not being safe." He told me to keep in mind that ANYTHING not in moderation can be considered toxic or harmful. He maintains the fact that "regular" Tylenol is fine (but not extra strength). He also suggested that if I didn't feel comfortable, to try seeing and getting some advice from a neurologist.
  • Yes my Dr said the same thing- that the tricky part of pregnancy is we really should do anything or eat or drink anything that's not natural but that isn't always realistic. I do see a neurologist, but I have t been yet because he didn't really offer any solutions last time. I'm going to start with a chiropractor I think. GL to you too!
  • Wicked22Wicked22
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    A bit late to the game but I have chronic migraines to the point they put me on a preventative. My OB has told me both my preventative and pain meds are safe and he actually prescribes the pain med to other pregnant women as well when/if they start getting them (my sister was one). It’s called Butalbital, if I take 2 right away when it starts it goes away just as quickly.



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  • That study in Tynelol is crap. It doesn't tell you what 'excessive' is or for how long. Plus it was not very well controlled. Plus, living your life now is important. More studied have shown that pain and unneeded stress has a more direct link to your fetus than a slight increase of ADD.
    I drank a coke and took tylenol. Later I was put on percocet. Finally I was put on Midrin (it is actually called something else now). Those things only kind of helped. I would just have to take baths while wearing an ice pack. They finally resolved around 16 weeks. Good luck.

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  • I used to take a daily preventative (have tried just about all of them) and topamax worked, however it is really unsafe during pregnancy! I have the fioricet (butal) and have taken it on rare occasion but it doesn't always work. I took midrin before i was pregnant with my son and it was the only thing that helped but was told it was not at all safe during pregnancy? By the time I was no longer pregnant it had been taken off the market , and only available through a compounding pharmacy. What is it called now? Maybe an ingredient was removed which makes it safer now? I was diagnosed at the age 4 so I feel like I've been prescribed or tried everything!! Recently I've discover a link between Asian food and migraines. It has never in my life bothered me until pregnancy.
  • Midwife recommended caffeine (STRONG cup of coffee) which kept it manageable till about 20 weeks. But they didn't completely go away until I started taking magnesium supplements (health food store) on midwife's recommendation (specifically magnesium oxylate 400 mg at bedtime)  Also, it's been helping me sleep - only waking up 1-2 x per night instead of 4+.  
  • cosmcosm
    Ninth Anniversary 10 Comments
    I do the magnesium, too. This time around I am not on a prescription preventive, but my first pregnancy I was on a beta blocker until the 3rd trimester, which really helped. I was also allowed to take reglan or benadryl with the tylenol to treat a headache. Caffeine sometimes made mine worse, so I avoided it. And I agree, I think the tylenol thing isn't really anything to worry about. It's better that you're able to eat and drink and take care of yourself. 
  • Ice pack on my forehead and another on my neck and I lay down and fall asleep, if I can.
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  • Tylenol for when they get too bad, and lots of water for when they're coming on. For me, migraine is usually a sign of dehydration.
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  • Lavender essential oil on my temples has saved my life. I am on a daily preventive/anti-depressant (Cymbalta) which used to control them but hasn't done much since I got pregnant. I was at a lavender farm with friends and realized my near-constant migraine was gone. So I got some essential oil and put it on my temples or under my nose and it is the only thing that has helped. Weird, I know. : )
  • I never had a migraine in my life until I got pregnant. This is my first pregnancy and I have had 2 migraines. The second one lasted over 24hrs. Tylenol didn't even touch it so I won't bother with it again. Ice packs on my neck helped, but after talking to my OB she prescribed phenergan if it happens again and said it was safe to take. Maybe I will give the lavendar oil a try, anything natural that won't hurt the baby is worth a try to me! Nice to know I am not the only one but it wasn't fun!

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  • I wish I had read this when I had my migraine. I only had them twice on bc and now I've had it once during this pregnancy. All I could do was shut the bedroom door, turn off lights, tylenol, and try to sleep. It sucked. I couldn't even THINK of any ideas for it at the time. I'll be bookmarking this just in case!

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  • Have you tried Inderal? That's what I'm taking and my doctor says it's a safe option. 
  • Does anyone know if it safe to take a real pain med? Like Norco or Vicodin? I've had migraines for over8 years, my neurologist told me to discontinue my topamax and I can't take any more fioricet. I have been getting really bad migraines/ headaches. My fertility doctor said is was safe to take a narcotic if needed. It just scares me ......
  • Why can't you take fioricet? Every ob I've ever seen has suggested it to be used during pregnancy, and I've asked each one to make sure (a total of 5)
  • My neurologist told me to discontinue it. I haven't got in touch with OB yet. I'll be with my fertility doctor for my first trimester . I hope I can take the fioricet , that stuff works great !
  • My doctor was able to prescribe something that was safe in pregnancy. I didn't end up needing it though! The hormonal changes were actually good in my case, and my migraines have been less frequent ever since my first pregnancy in 2011.

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  • My OB prescribed me BUTALBITAL-APAP-CAFFEINE 50-325-40 MG. The way I understand it is that it is similar to Excedrin Migraine (which works wonders for me) but without Aspirin. He did ask if I had Aura or not. When I said only twice in 15 years of migraines, he gave me this. I think it's meant for tension headaches, but it's doing the trick. I'm sure your doctor can find something like this for you.
  • jgbennick said:
    My OB prescribed me BUTALBITAL-APAP-CAFFEINE 50-325-40 MG. The way I understand it is that it is similar to Excedrin Migraine (which works wonders for me) but without Aspirin. He did ask if I had Aura or not. When I said only twice in 15 years of migraines, he gave me this. I think it's meant for tension headaches, but it's doing the trick. I'm sure your doctor can find something like this for you.
    Yes this is fioricet I believe! I'm curious about the aura question though- I always have it.
  • I take Vicodin for my migraines. They were so much worse and more frequent when I was pregnant. My neurologist also told me not to take fioricet.

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  • I've dealt with this exact same issue, I suffer from chronic migraines and also have a 3 y/o. Since I can't take my normal migraine medication I was taking Tylenol, until I read the ADD study. Someone told me to try peppermint oil on my temples, I didn't have it at home so I rubbed some Children's vicks  on my temples since it contains eucalyptus oil, and it really worked! I lay down, smell and rub some childrens vicks on my temples and lay down with my feel elevated and try to relax. It does help alot. Once in a while I take 1 tylenol when its absolutely necessary and follow that with the vicks. I'm not sure if it will fully work for you, but its worth a try.
  • Cchewning said:
    jgbennick said:
    My OB prescribed me BUTALBITAL-APAP-CAFFEINE 50-325-40 MG. The way I understand it is that it is similar to Excedrin Migraine (which works wonders for me) but without Aspirin. He did ask if I had Aura or not. When I said only twice in 15 years of migraines, he gave me this. I think it's meant for tension headaches, but it's doing the trick. I'm sure your doctor can find something like this for you.
    Yes this is fioricet I believe! I'm curious about the aura question though- I always have it.
    There is Aspirin-free Excedrin on the market, and my midwife suggested it. Have you tried it?

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  • CchewningCchewning
    10 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    I have not tried that excedrin! I'll have to look into it, thanks!
  • lhbird87lhbird87
    100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    Well Tylenol doesn't help my migraines. I don't have them often, but when I do they are complex migraines and they are awful. I had one for about 2 days recently and either it just finally ran its course or that silly looking thing on pinterest where you put frozen peas on your head and stick your hands and feet in hot water actually works....

    Well, actually I didn't do that for long, but I realized that an "ice pack" on the head feels good and left it there for a while then took one last nap and woke up able to function.
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