The Journal of Headache and Pain

Official Journal of the "European Headache Federation" and of "Lifting The Burden - The Global Campaign against Headache"

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Open Access

Headaches in pregnancy

The Journal of Headache and Pain20056:176

Published: 20 July 2005


Most women with migraine improve during pregnancy. Some women have their first attack. Migraine often recurs postpartum and can begin for the first time. Drugs are commonly used during pregnancy despite insufficient knowledge about their effects on the growing fetus. Most drugs are not teratogenic. Adverse effects, such as spontaneous abortion, developmental defects and various postnatal effects depend on the dose and route of administration and the timing of the exposure relative to the period of foetal development. While medication use should be limited, it is not absolutely contraindicated in pregnancy. Nonpharmacologic treatment is the ideal solution; however, analgesics such as acetaminophen and opioids can be used on a limited basis. Preventive therapy is a last resort.

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