A study has found that pregnant women with migraine have an increased risk of complications during pregnancy. Pregnant women with migraine have a risk of miscarriage, cesarean sections and giving birth to a child with low birth weight. Researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark, when worked with 22,000 pregnant women, have found them with migraine problem. The pregnant women with migraine were compared with approximately 10 times larger groups of pregnant women without migraine.

What is Migraine and how it is caused? 

A migraine is a primary headache disorder characterized by recurrent headaches that are moderate to severe. The headaches affect one half of the head, are pulsating in nature, and last from 2 to 72 hours. The pain is generally made worse by physical activity. Up to one-third of people have an aura: a short period of visual disturbance that signals that the headache will soon occur with little or no headache following it.

Image Source: everydayhealth.com

Signs and Symptoms of Migraine: Migraine typically presents with the severe headache associated with autonomic symptoms. About 15-30% of people with migraines experience migraine with an aura and sometimes they experience it without aura. The severe pain, duration of headache and frequency of attacks are variable. Migraine which lasts for 72 hours is termed as status migrainosus. Migraine is associated with major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder. There are mainly four possible phases to migraine, although not all the phases are necessarily experienced:

  • The prodrome which occurs hours or day before the headache
  • The aura which immediately precedes the headache
  • The pain phase is also known as the headache phase
  • The postdrome the effects experienced following the end of a migraine attack.

Cause for migraine: There is no underlying cause for migraine. It is believed that migraine is caused by a mix of environmental and genetic factors. They run in families in about two-thirds of cases and rarely occur due to a single gene defect. A number of psychological conditions are associated like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.

Image Source: American Migraine Foundation

The study was published in the journal Headache, says that the risk of cesarean sections is between 15 to 25 % is higher for pregnant women with migraine is compared with pregnant women without migraine. The researchers have used the same data to conclude that migraine medication possibly prevents some of the complications.

Nils Skajaa of Aarhus University says that ” The study was not specifically designed to examine this aspect. However, we show that the risk of complications generally was lower for pregnant women with migraines who took medication when compared with pregnant women with migraines who were not treated.” Further, he says that migraine medication isn’t the cause of complications, but the migraine itself. This information is important for pregnant women with migraines. Migraines are relatively common and effect twice as many women as men. The main cause of migraine is stress, fatigue, depression, anxiety or hormonal changes such as pregnancy.


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