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Headaches & More

Headaches, Dizziness, Palpitations, and Insomnia in Pregnancy

Headaches

Many women experience headaches during pregnancy, especially in the first three months. For some, treating headaches may be as simple as adding back 1-2 cups of coffee, or 1-2 caffeinated drinks, per day. For those who used to take migraine meds, or take ibuprofen, we often look for different treatments during pregnancy. Tylenol is safe, when used for short periods of time. For more relief we use Percocet (oxycodone), Vicodin (hydrocodone) and Codeine…[read more]

Lightheaded & Nauseous

Lots of women have dizzy spells during pregnancy. It may happen after standing or sitting for too long. It often comes when standing up after sitting for a long time, especially in the evening, after a long day. Sometimes it happens 30 minutes after eating a meal, especially breakfast. Rarely it happens while driving, later in pregnancy, when the uterus is big. DIZZINESS in pregnancy is rarely a sign of something dangerous or abnormal. The Danger with dizziness is Falling Down. Pregnant women must be careful and aware of becoming dizzy. Some things to remember:

  • ALWAYS hold the handrail while going up and down the stairs.
  • Don’t carry baskets or boxes with two hands while going up or down the stairs.
  • When getting out of bed, or up from the couch… stand and wait for 30 seconds Before walking away.

Some women experience nausea, lightheadedness, and a feeling like they are going to pass out when they are driving. The symptoms are a result of the uterus compressing the same vein discussed above. The IMMEDIATE solution is to pull over, take off the seat belt, and lean forward and toward the left. Once the feeling passes, you can try driving again. A few women are not able to drive late in pregnancy because the dizziness comes all the time.

Rest assured that these blood flow issues resolve almost immediately after delivery!

Palpitations

In normal pregnancy the heart rate is faster, and each heartbeat is bigger. Most women will experience palpitations, feeling the heart beating fast, from time to time during pregnancy. These palpitations are exacerbated when bending over, like when tying a shoe, or picking something up off the floor. Lying down in bed can do it, too. Most palpitations during pregnancy are NOT a sign of heart problems, But all women should discuss the palpitations at their next prenatal visit.

Sleeplessness & Insomnia

Very few women sleep well during pregnancy. Sometimes its hard to get comfortable. Other times worries or excitement get in the way of a good night’s sleep. Sometimes you may experience the restless leg symptoms which can keep you awake. In any case, it can be frustrating. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) 25 or 50 mg is safe, and helps some women get to sleep. Very few pregnant women are given prescription medication for insomnia during pregnancy. Medications related to Valium, like Xanax (alprazolam) are almost never used. Ambien and Trazadone may be prescribed in special cases. Unfortunately, and regrettably, there is no good way to “fix” the sleeping problem of pregnancy.


ADDITIONAL TOPICS

Traveling in Pregnancy

The potential medical complications evolve as pregnancy progresses. Here are a few things to be cautious of at each stage of pregnancy…[read more]

Sleeping Positions

As your pregnancy progresses you will find that your normal sleeping positions are no longer working for you. Rule #1: Sleep in any position that is comfortable…[read more]

Nausea & Vomiting

Nausea is common in the first three months of pregnancy. Occasional vomiting is also common. Many women find their morning sickness tolerable, however if becomes too much to handle there are medications available…[read more]