Aug 17, 2011

Between my headaches and acne I am afraid my head is going to explode!

Hello, I would like to introduce you to the newest temporary resident in the House of Me, Headache.  Headache has been living in my head for the last two weeks. Headache is a close friend of Pregnancy, who as you now moved in nearly 15 weeks ago.  Apparently both are well acquainted with my old nemesis, Acne. Acne has been living on and off on my skin for the past 20 some odd years.  Acne moved out when I left for University but has returned with big fat children!  The three are living and carrying on without any regard for my house rules.

I could carry on with this story but I think you get the point…

Seriously, the headaches are ridiculous. I am afraid to take Tylenol “as needed,” which would be all day every day.  I know it is supposed to be safe to take while pregnant, but I still have my reservations.  I go to sleep with a headache and 7/10 I wake up with it or it returns within a couple hours of being awake.  Sometimes it goes away for a little while but it always seems to come back.  There is also no one place it hangs out in my head.  I will get a throbbing behind my eyes, on the sides of my temples, and like right now, in the back of my head. I hope to God they go away sooner than later.

Of course I stopped by to visit my friends at the American Pregnancy Association for a better understanding, this is what they had to say…

What causes headaches during pregnancy?
An increase in headaches during the first trimester is believed to be caused by the surge of hormones along with an increase in the blood volume circulating throughout your body. These headaches may be further aggravated by stress, poor posture or changes in your vision. Other causes of headaches during pregnancy may involve one or more of the following:
                  Lack of sleep
                  Low blood sugar
                  Caffeine withdrawal
                  Stress (too many changes)
Women who have regular migraine headaches may discover that they experience fewer migraines during pregnancy; however, some women may encounter the same number or even more migraine headaches. If you are pregnant, it is important to talk to your health care provider about any medications that you may be taking for headaches.
Headaches during the third trimester tend to be related more to poor posture and tension from carrying extra weight. Headaches during the third trimester may also be caused by a condition called preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Ok, that’s good information, but I’m 3 weeks into my second trimester… not my first or third and if I am going to have a constant headache for the next four months… OH HELL NO!!!!

I decided to visit my friends at the Mayo Clinic next for more information on relief.  Here is what they had to say…

What can I do about headaches during pregnancy? I'd rather not take medication.
from Roger W. Harms, M.D.
You're right to be cautious about taking medication to treat headaches during pregnancy. Many headache medications may have harmful or unknown effects on a developing baby. You're not at the mercy of your headaches, though. There's much you can do to prevent or relieve headaches during pregnancy.
To prevent headaches during pregnancy:
Avoid headache triggers. Keep track of your meals, activities and headaches for several days to help pinpoint your headache triggers — then do your best to avoid your triggers.
Include physical activity in your daily routine. Try a daily walk or other gentle aerobic exercise.
Practice relaxation exercises. Calming activities such as deep breathing, yoga and visualization can help keep headaches at bay.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This can keep your blood sugar on an even keel, which may help prevent headaches.
Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated can keep you feeling your best.
Keep a regular sleep schedule. Fatigue and lack of sleep can contribute to headaches during pregnancy. Go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day, even on weekends.
Maintain good posture. Poor posture or muscle tension can result in headaches, especially as you gain weight to support your pregnancy.
Consider biofeedback. With this mind-body technique, you learn to control certain bodily functions — such as muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure — to prevent headaches or reduce headache pain. If you'd like to try biofeedback, ask your health care provider for a referral to a biofeedback therapist.
When a headache strikes:
Rest. Lie down in a dark, quiet room with your eyes closed.
Use a compress. Apply a warm compress (such as a hot towel) to your face, eyes and temples — or try a cold compress on the back of your neck.
Try massage. Ask someone to massage your shoulders and neck to relieve tension. Rubbing your temples also may help.

OK, so that helps.   Now onto my next issue… Super sexy teenage-like acne!  I checked with my friends at the Mayo Clinic for that as well. It really was no surprise that the cure for Pregnancy Acne is the same cure for Teenage Acne, wash your face twice a day, avoid oily face products and in the words of my mother, “DON’T TOUCH!”   My own little tip is to use headphones with your phone as much as possible.  When I don’t use them I have a perfect iPhone acne imprint on my cheek. There are prescription ointments that can be used as well, I’m not there yet…

Oh my friends, pregnancy is just filled with awesome-ness isn’t it!?!

Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit


  1. A lot of women suffer from migranes and don't even know because their symptoms are not as severe as what we've all been told/read. If laying down in a dark room helps, or if while having a headache you are light sensitive, it is a migrane. There is a list of foods to avoid if you are having migranes.

    But, there is something to the blurry vision during pregnancy and headaches. I told my physician my vision gets worse during allergy season so it's hard to tell if it's that or pregnancy. I do have glasses that I wear if it's bad, and many insurance companies pay for an eye exam and glasses during pregnancy.

    Lastly, if you are battling acne, get yourself a good soap, I love Neem soaps and Neem is a natural antibacterial. And use Jojoba oil as your facial moisturizer. When you get out of the shower put one drop on your finger tips and it will cover your whole face and neck. You can also use it in your hair as a leave in conditioner, and on your belly/whole body as a moisturizer. The key is to apply it to freshly washed, moist skin. It will absorb and you will not feel greasy. It has solved many an acne problem.

    As an afterword, I am very interested/knowledgeable in natural healing, and worked at both Wild Oats and Whole Foods Market in the supplements and body care dept. So I'm not just talking from personal experience.

  2. I too suffer from pregnancy-related headaches and while I prefer to NOT take medication for them, sometimes I do not have a choice. I ended up in the ER for a migraine a few weeks ago and am terrified to feel that sort of pain again. My OB prescribed me Fioricet with is a combination of Tylenol, caffeine, and a sedative. Can make me sleepy but I swear, it has helped me tremendously!

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