Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on June 25, 2018

Hormone changes, an increase in blood volume, and even caffeine withdrawal can all trigger headaches during early pregnancy. Later in pregnancy, poor sleep and posture changes can trigger headaches. While most headaches in pregnancy are harmless, some can indicate more serious concerns such as preeclampsia.

If you have a history of migraine headaches, they may go away during pregnancy, or at least happen less frequently. Other women may have migraines for the first time during pregnancy.

Call Doctor If:

  • Your headaches get worse or do not resolve with acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • The headache is sudden or explosive or if you also have a fever and stiff neck.
  • You have symptoms of preeclampsia in your second or third trimester such as vision changes, swelling, or pain in the upper right abdomen.
  • Before taking any medicine other than acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Step-by-Step Care:

  • Rest in a dark room.
  • Eat regular meals and snacks to keep blood sugar levels steady.
  • Drink water to stay well hydrated.
  • Use a cold compress at the back of the neck.

Show Sources


March of Dimes: "Your Pregnant Body: Headaches."

National Headache Foundation: "Pregnancy and Migraine."

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