Three line drawings showing nauseous pregnant woman with relief after meds at the far right

Managing a Migraine During Pregnancy

Managing migraines is hard enough under “normal” circumstances. But when you’re pregnant, a lot of the go-to remedies aren’t available.

My first debilitating attack

I was 16 weeks into my pregnancy before my first debilitating migraine struck. I had been counting my blessings all throughout my first trimester because I know how many fellow migraineurs struggle virtually every day of their pregnancy with uncontrolled migraines. But this migraine that hit me, messed with my head in more ways than one.

My head was screaming with piercing pain. In fact, the pain got so bad, I was vomiting uncontrollably, which only leads to more pain. Not that it was tolerable, but I had dealt with that before. What I hadn’t dealt with before was the inability to take the rescue medicine that always helps me through the worst of days.

Desperate for relief

As someone who tries to take as natural of an approach as possible, it baffled me to be in a position of desperately wanting to take medicine and not being able to because of the pregnancy. I called my doctor, or more accurately my husband called my doctor, to discuss some alternative options. The primary concern was to stop the vomiting. Thankfully there is a tried-and-true medication that is safe to take during pregnancy that worked incredibly well for me. Then we had to address the migraine.

Limited treatment options during pregnancy

While not all medication options were available to me during pregnancy, there are some that are said to be safe to take. And even though I hoped not to need them, the truth was I was desperate for any relief. I thought of my acupuncturist’s reminder… if you get a migraine, you must do whatever you can to get rid of it because it’s taxing on your body and your body is already doing overtime with pregnancy.

So, I took the combination of medications that my doctor recommended. It took the pharmacy three hours to fill them, which felt like an eternity, but when they were finally in my hands, I was so grateful for conventional medicine.

I felt better within an hour of taking the medication. Why did I wait so long to reach out for my doctor’s help?

Sometimes we need to get past our expectations of an experience and surrender to what is actually happening at that moment. I had hoped that I wouldn’t need to take any medication during pregnancy. But this migraine had different plans for me. I could either resist what was, and only focus on my plan (which clearly wasn’t working) or I could accept the moment that I was in and the fact that there was something available to support me and my growing baby.

I’m at the beginning of my second trimester so I still have a long way to go. I can only hope and pray that more debilitating migraines aren’t in my future, but regardless of what is in my future, I have learned to be open and flexible. What have you found to be helpful in navigating migraines during pregnancy? Please share below so we can learn from you too.

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