HEADACHES AND PREGNANCY
Headaches are common during pregnancy, but they rarely signal a serious problem. While expectant mothers are concerned about taking any drugs that may harm the baby, there are several treatment options for dealing with pregnancy-related headaches.
Headaches are usually most frequent during the first and third trimesters. In the first trimester, hormonal changes and increases in blood volume may contribute to headache pain. Emotional and physical factors such as changes prompted by the pregnancy can cause headaches. As your body adjusts to these changes, the headaches tend to diminish. In the third trimester, carrying the additional weight of the baby can affect posture, leading to muscle contraction headaches. Increasing tension can also contribute to headache pain.
As the baby grows and gains weight, the mother’s center of gravity shifts. To compensate, the pelvis shifts forward and the pubic bone backward – increasing the curvature of the spine. The neck loses its normal curve and the head shifts forward. With all of these postural changes, muscles are stressed in new ways, leading to tension/contraction headaches.
Modern manual therapy techniques are especially valuable during pregnancy, because many pain-killing drugs should not be taken by expectant mothers. Manual therapy can directly treat the mechanical stresses on the spine, joints, and muscle systems that produce pregnancy-related headaches, with no threat to the health of the developing baby.