A new scientific review suggested secondary headaches in pregnant women, caused by underlying serious health complications, can be detected and treated early through vigilance from healthcare practitioners, Science Daily reported.
A review published in The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist stated that although possible health conditions during pregnancy associated with headaches are non-life threatening, healthcare professionals must be on the lookout for other severe causes of headaches.
Migraine and tension headaches are common during pregnancy, however, the review noted pregnant women are also at the risk of developing certain types of secondary headache - a symptom of underlying illnesses. Some of the causes of secondary headache may be serious and sometimes fatal.
Migraine headaches cause throbbing pain on one side of the head. It could range from moderate to severe pain. It is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and noise. Migraines with aura are usually experienced by most sufferers. Auras are described as visual changes before the onset of headaches.
The review said pregnant women should know whether the headaches are different from the usual migraines, this should serve as an alert for health care practitioners that something might be wrong.
An article in the Washington Post reports maternal deaths are on the rise in the United States with 18.5 mothers dying for every 100,000 births in 2013. More than 250,000 women died from childbirth in 2013 worldwide.
The research conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation at the University of Washington said reasons for pregnancy related deaths are unclear but several factors contributed to the mortality. Hypertension, diabetes, heart and neurological diseases are among those factors contributing to maternal deaths.
Hypertension can lead to complications in pregnancy and pregnant women who do have migraines are at more risks of developing pre-eclampsia compared to those who do not experience migraines. Pregnancy-induced hypertension or pre-eclampsia, if not detected early, can cause serious problems to both mother and her child.
Severe headaches, vomiting, blood in urine are among the symptoms of pre-eclampsia.
A more serious condition associated with a headache in pregnancy, according to TOG review is idiophatic intracranial hypertension or IIH- a rare condition that is more common in obese women of childbearing age. IIH is caused by a high pressure of cerebrospinal fluid inside the skull.
Pregnant women are also at risk for cerebral venous thrombosis (NYSE:CVT). CVT is the presence of blood clot in the dural venous sinuses which channel blood from the brain.
TOG Editor-in-Chief Jason Waugh said many women experience headaches during pregnancy and not all headaches need doctor's attention but all medical staff should be on alert of the symptoms, signs and appropriate response to the severe causes of headaches.
Although it is always recommended that severe headaches brought about by underlying ailments, need to be consulted with your physician, there are forms of non-drug therapy to ease pains from headaches.
Biofeedback, meditation, yoga and self-hypnosis may also be helpful in reducing headaches. Regular exercise can reduce stress too that can cause headaches. Physical activity is also known to decrease the frequency of migraines.
The Food and Drug Administration warned against the use of prescription drugs during pregnancy because of its adverse effects to the fetus and all natural products are instead recommended for pregnant women.
Pain relief cream and heating pads are natural ways to cure headaches and pains.
Use of heating pads by pregnant women according to doctors is safe and there has been no evidence that heat applied to certain parts of the body causes an elevation in the overall core body temperature. A raised core body temperature can be harmful to the developing baby. According to March of Dimes, the core body temperature of pregnant women should remain below 102.2 Fahrenheit.
Pacific Shore Holdings, Inc.'s Thermal-Aid Headache Relief System is safe for use of pregnant women. It is a natural remedy targeting headaches and migraines. The relief system includes a natural headache relief cream which is applied to the forehead and special Thermal-Aid eye pack that is placed over the eyes. Several physicians tested the system and heating and cooling modalities on patients suffering from various pain illnesses including back pains, muscle aches, arthritis, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.
Thermal-Aid also has a natural solution to children's ailments, Thermal Aid Zoo Animals like its headache and hot and cool packs were developed by bio-engineers and doctors using unique natural process. The process involves the removal of the embryo/germ tip cap and outer coat from each kernel corn. It produces the purest portion of the corn product hardening the corn and allowing it to hold temperature for long periods of time.
Costco Wholesale, in 2011 introducedThermal Aid to their online costumers.