There are so many things that can go wrong during pregnancy that already has future mothers on alert, and now a research advises that pregnant women should not ignore headaches during their third trimester. It could indicate the presence of serious health risks for both her and the baby.
If the pregnant woman has no history of frequent headaches and finds herself experiencing a prolonged and gradually increasing pain, it’s highly recommended that she immediately visits a physician, as it may be a symptom of dangerous conditions, especially if it’s accompanied by high blood pressure.
Researchers at Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, have reviewed the cases of 140 pregnant women, at the average age of 29, who had referred for a neurological consultation at Montefiore’s Weiler Hospital in Bronx along the span of 5 years.
Out of the 91% who had primary headaches, 90% of them were migraines, and among the 49 patients who had secondary headaches, 51% were accompanied by high blood pressure, while a worrying 38% of women who presented themselves with both had preeclampsia.
The severe condition has underlined the need for women to never assume that a headache is “just a headache” after 20 weeks of gestation, according to Dr. Jennifer Wu, an OBYN at Lennox Hospital. A mild headache might be a clue to something else, especially if the patient has no history of such an usually overlooked condition. However, it may be the needed clue to point at future complications.
Preeclampsia is detected by a protein in the urine and usually occurs between the second and third trimester. Symptoms include headaches, high blood pressure, blurry vision and abdominal pain, which leads to seizures, heart disease, organ damage or placental abruption, a condition in which the placenta breaks away from the uterus wall before delivering the baby.
Every year, 300 women die of preeclampsia, even though the mild cases can be easily treated with bed rest and, in the more severe of conditions, death can be prevented through premature delivery.
Pregnant women who present themselves with both headache and high blood pressure have been observed to have a 17 times higher chance of the simple pain to be caused by a pregnancy-related condition, which should be urgently consulted on by a doctor.
Women who do not have a history of frequent headaches, also have a 5 times higher chance of suffering from preeclampsia if they are reporting the same two co-existing conditions.
It underlines the needs for doctors and physicians to make sure to conduct a proper inquiry during examinations and look for possible red flags of a dangerous complication.
Image source: babycenter.com